No on Prop 32
CNA Blog, 9/26/12
For nurses, Prop 32 would mean we would have far less ability to counter the efforts of the wealthy hospital industry, insurance companies, and other healthcare corporations. They are in the halls of the Capitol every day seeking to roll back patient safety laws, such as safe hospital staffing, and other patient and workplace protections.
If Prop. 32 passes, the California Hospital Association, which already has enormous influence in Sacramento, along with its allies in California Chamber of Commerce, insurance industry, and other corporate interests will be able to take dead aim at RN staffing ratios, meal and rest breaks, limits on forced overtime, oversight on hospital and nursing home abuses, and other workplace and patient safety protections – with little ability for nurses to use our collective voice to challenge them.
Corporate special interests love Prop 32- it was written by and for them. Prop 32 was intentionally written to create special exemptions for billionaire businessmen, giving them even more political power to write their own set of rules. Many top contributors to Proposition 32 are former insurance company executives, Wall Street executives, developers, and big money donors to causes that benefit from Prop 32’s special exemptions- that’s why they’ve joined the Super PACs in spending millions to promote it.
In reality, Prop 32 restricts only some companies and provides huge exemptions to others. Only companies that are organized and narrowly defined as “corporations” are restricted from making contributions.
Other business structures like LLCs, real estate trusts, business trusts and others that are used by some of the largest companies in the state, including developers and real estate investors, hedge funds, Wall Street investment firms, venture capitalists and lawyers, are all exempted and these businesses can continue to make contributions to candidates they support or against their enemies.
According to the Secretary of State’s Office, more than 1,000 of these exempted companies are registered as “Major Donors”, and these exempted Major Donors have contributed more than $10,000,000 since 2009.
Workers can already make voluntary contributions to political campaigns under existing law today. The Constitution guarantees everyone that right. But Prop 32 actually restricts that right by requiring annual written authorization from union members before they can “voluntarily” donate to their union’s political causes and it forbids workers to voluntarily agree to have those donations deducted from their wages.
It is also important to remember that no one can be forced to join a union and contribute to politics. In addition, nearly all unions allow members to opt out of contributions to political candidates. Prop 32 makes it illegal to use payroll deductions to collect funding for politics, even if union members specifically authorize those deductions in writing.
In addition to the massive loopholes for developers, hedge funds and other big business interests, Prop 32 does absolutely nothing to stop Super PACs, which are organizations that elect or defeat candidates but without many of the spending restrictions or transparency requirements that limit the campaigns themselves. The Citizens United Supreme Court decision said these groups can spend unlimited amounts of money, and Prop 32 would do nothing to change that.
And Prop 32 does nothing to stop anonymous donors from influencing elections.
If Prop 32 passes, these Super PACs and committees backed only by corporate special interests will become the major way campaigns will be funded. These groups have already spent more than $95,000,000 in California elections since 2004. Prop 32 does nothing to change that. Our televisions will be flooded with even more negative advertisements.
Secretive Super PACs will become the law of the land in California, with no accountability, checks or balances.
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