Two measures on this year’s ballot aim to bolster laws and programs already on the books. Both campaigns are led by Bay Area real estate developers with a penchant for ballot box policymaking.
Prop. 24: Stronger consumer privacy laws (again)
Who put it there: Signatures, via a campaign funded entirely by Alastair and Celine Mactaggart.
What it would do: Strengthen California’s already strongest-in-the-nation consumer privacy law and establish a California Privacy Protection Agency
In 2018, California lawmakers passed the California Consumer Privacy Act, giving consumers the right to find out what data companies are collecting about them, to opt out of having it collected and to have that data scrubbed. It was — and remains — the only law like it in the country. It was also a compromise. San Francisco real estate developer Alastair MacTaggart had been pushing for an even stricter ballot measure, but the Legislature stepped in, brokering a deal between MacTaggart and the tech industry.
Now MacTaggart is back. Along with setting up a state agency tasked with enforcing state privacy law, the measure would beef up financial penalties for violators and allow consumers to demand that personal information not be shared at all, rather than simply not sold.
Prop. 14: Borrowing for stem cell research
Who put it there: Signatures via an effort mostly funded by Robert Klein, JDRF International and Open Philanthropy
What it would do: Borrow $5.5 billion to fund stem cell research
In 2004, voters passed Proposition 71 to create the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. The institute exists to channel state money toward stem cell research. Prop 71 also let the state borrow $3 billion to do that.
That pot of cash is now almost empty. Robert Klein, a Silicon Valley real estate developer who led the Prop. 71 effort and became the institute’s first board chair, is leading the campaign for more.