Proposition 32, the so-called "Paycheck Protection" initiative, will appear on the California General Election ballot this November and seeks to prohibit the kinds of funds unions can use for political purposes.
The measure is seen by some political observers as a bad-blood showdown between business and labor interests. It includes a provision that bars unions from using payroll-deducted money from its members for political purposes.
There are similar prohibitions involving corporations and government contractors, but the main, bulls-eye target is organized labor.
The official language of the measure is as follows, according to the Secretary of State. Prop. 32:
- Prohibits unions from using payroll-deducted funds for political purposes. Applies same use prohibition to payroll deductions, if any, by corporations or government contractors.
- Permits voluntary employee contributions to employer-sponsored committee or union if authorized yearly, in writing.
- Prohibits unions and corporations from contributing directly or indirectly to candidates and candidate controlled committees.
- Other political expenditures remain unrestricted, including corporate expenditures from available resources not limited by payroll deduction prohibition.
- Prohibits government contractor contributions to elected officers or officer-controlled committees.
For more official voter information, check out the summary on the California Secretary of State's website.
Gary Felien, an Oceanside City Councilman and treasurer of the Republican Party of San Diego County, said Prop. 32 is a critically needed reform that brings some balance to alliances in Sacramento.
“There’s absolutely nothing prohibiting a person from contributing to a candidate of his or her choice, it just has to be a voluntary affirmative decision of the contributor,” Felien said.
However Lorena Gonzalez, secretary-treasurer and CEO of the San Diego-Imperial Counties Labor Council said the measure would be “Citizens United on steroids,” referring to the Supreme Court decision that allowed corporations and unions to spend money or denounce individual candidates in elections.
“While they say – and they’re right – that workers, teachers, nurses, firefighters, police officers will not be able to contribute to political campaigns,” Gonzalez said, “the same is not true for insurance companies, big banks, corporate CEOs.”
The two come together on this week’s episode of Politically Speaking, which airs this Sunday at 9 a.m. For more on the heated debate, be sure to watch the episode on NBC 7 and check back here to watch it online.