California, It’s Voting Time!

The California General election is here! November 8, 2016 is Election Tuesday and unlike year’s past the media and public sensation with this election is unsurpassed. We are all familiar with the candidates by now, but in case you haven’t read the newspaper, listened to the radio or turned on the television, the candidates are GOP nominee Donald Trump and Democratic Party nominee and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. In addition to being an important election which will determine the next President of the United States of America, there are several ballot measures that are equally important to the citizens of California. Here are a few (chosen at random) from the Official Voter Information Guide:

Proposition 58. English Proficiency. Multilanguage Education. Initiative Statute. This measure seeks to preserve the requirement that public schools ensure students become proficient in English. It will require school districts to solicit parent and community input in developing language acquisition programs to ensure English acquisition as rapidly and effectively as possible.

Proposition 66. Death Penalty. Procedures. Initiative Statute. This measure seeks to shorten the time that the legal challenges to death sentences take. Specifically, it (1) requires that habeas corpus petitions first be heard in the trial courts, (2) places time limits on legal challenges to death sentences, (3) changes the process for appointing attorneys to represent condemned inmates, and (4) makes various other changes. It is important to know that another ballet measure Proposition 62 seeks to eliminate the death penalty for first degree murder and replace it with a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole. If passed, this will retroactively apply to prisoners currently awaiting execution.

Proposition 67. Ban on Single-Use Plastic Bags. This measure will prohibit grocery and other retail stores from providing single-use plastic or paper carryout bags to customers at time of purchase. It will permit the sale of recycled paper bags and reusable bags to customers, at a minimum price of 10 cents. It is important to know that another ballet measure Proposition 65 which will direct revenue from carryout bag sales to the state if approved by voters.

In California employers of any size are required to give an employee up to two [2] hours of paid time off to vote if the employee does not have sufficient time before or after his shift to visit a polling place. The California polls will be open from 7:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m.; however, an employee may need extra time before or after his shift because of obstacles such as long shifts or distant polling locations which may interfere with his ability to vote. Employers may allow an employee more than two [2] hours to vote, however, the paid time need not exceed the maximum two [2] hours required by law. By now, California employers should have a voting notice posted and conversations with employees to schedule time off during a work shift [if necessary] should have happened. The spirit of the law intends to allow for employees to exercise their right to vote. It is important that employers maintain compliance with the law and support employee voting. For more information, visit the California Secretary of State website at