Data privacy, rent control and 9 other measures qualify for California ballot

By KATHLEEN RONAYNE | The Associated Press

SACRAMENTO — California voters will weigh in this November on
whether to expand a landmark data privacy law, alter a decades-old
law that limits property taxes on businesses and exempt ride-hail
giants Uber and Lyft from a new state labor law.

They are among 11 measures Secretary of State Alex Padilla
certified on Thursday for the Nov. 3 ballot. Others include two
constitutional amendments approved by the Legislature, which would
overturn the state’s ban on affirmative action and restore the
voting rights of people with felony convictions who are on parole.
A referendum will ask voters to decide whether the state should
eliminate cash bail.

Ballot measures are often among the most expensive and
high-profile issues before California voters each election year and
tens of millions of dollars are likely to be spent on each of the
major initiatives. Uber, Lyft and DoorDash have pledged to spend
$90 million on their measure to exempt them from a state labor law
that would require them to treat their workers as employees
entitled to more wage protections and benefits.

The most recent measure to become eligible, on Wednesday, would
give consumers more power over how companies use their data. It’s
an extension of a landmark privacy law passed in 2018. It would
allow consumers to prevent businesses from sharing their personal
information; limit businesses’ use of geolocation, race, health
or other information; and create a state agency to enforce and
implement the law. The agency would hire 40 employees at an
estimated cost of $10 million per year.

It builds on the California Consumer Privacy Act, which took
effect Jan. 1. Lawmakers passed it in 2018 under pressure from
Alastair Mactaggart, a wealthy California developer, who spent
millions of his own money to qualify an even more sweeping measure
for the ballot. He withdrew his measure when the law passed under a
compromise with legislators.

Under the existing law, consumers can request companies,
including internet giants Google and Facebook, tell them what
personal data they have collected and what third parties the
companies shared it with. Consumers can ask companies to delete it
or stop selling it. Companies can’t sell data from children under
16 without consent.

Mactaggart’s new initiative would triple the penalties for
companies that violate the rules for children under 16.

“California has led the nation in securing fundamental privacy
rights,” Mactaggart said in a statement. “During these times of
unprecedented uncertainty, we need to ensure that the laws keep
pace with the ever-changing ways corporations and other entities
are using our data.”

Dylan Hoffman, director of California Government Affairs for the
Internet Association, said the organization’s member companies,
which include Amazon, Facebook and Google, are focused on complying
with the existing law and that further changes should be made by
lawmakers, not at the ballot.

“The internet industry believes that the Legislature is the
proper venue to vet such a complex and technical area of law and
policy,” he said in an emailed statement.

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The efforts to overturn the state’s ban on affirmative action
policies, restore the voting rights of parolees with felony
convictions and end cash bail are likely to generate significant
attention as the nation grapples with systemic racism and calls to
reform the criminal justice system.

Voters in 1996 banned governments and public colleges and
universities from considering race in their hiring and admissions
decisions. California lawmakers passed a law eliminating cash bail
in 2018 but opponents blocked it from taking effect by qualifying a
referendum for the ballot.

Other measures on the ballot this fall would:

-Shorten the list of which people convicted of crimes can seek
earlier parole and reclassify some theft crimes as felonies instead
of misdemeanors

-Allow local governments to establish rent control on certain
properties

-Make it easier for older and disabled residents to transfer
their property tax rates to different properties

-Authorize $5.5 billion in state bonds to fund stem cell
research, with $1.5 billion dedicated to research on Alzheimer’s,
Parkinson’s, stroke, epilepsy and similar diseases

-Regulate kidney dialysis clinics

Source: FS – All – Real Estate News 1
Data privacy, rent control and 9 other measures qualify for
California ballot