CalNonprofits Articles

CalNonprofits often chooses to take positions on state propositions that affect California’s nonprofit sector as a whole, or affect significant portions of the sector. Our Board has taken stands on two upcoming propositions on the ballot this November. Here's where we stand on Propositions 47 and 45 -- and why.

Proposition 47: The Safe Neighborhoods & Schools Act of 2014
The Safe Neighborhoods and Schools Act of 2014 would change sentencing for low-level nonviolent crimes such as simple drug possession and petty theft from felonies to misdemeanors. It would re-direct the hundreds of millions of dollars that the secretary of state's office estimates would have been spent annually to house prison inmates to education, mental health and drug treatment programs, and victims assistance.

Nonprofit organizations have been first-hand witnesses and responders to the impact of mass incarceration in our neighborhoods. We help family members cope when their loved-ones are incarcerated, and we help recently released individuals find work, housing and social services as they strive to re-build their lives. This can be especially difficult, as those convicted of felonies face obstacles and discrimination in securing employment, insurance and housing, or even being able to vote.

Reducing sentences from felonies to misdemeanors would reduce some of these barriers brought about by felony convictions, easing the transition into community life. And at least some of the re-directed funds would be available to community-based organizations to help provide an opportunity for thousands of people to obtain jobs and reintegrate into society.  You can count on nonprofit advocates to be at the tables around the state to make sure these monies are allocated fairly and wisely. This is why the Board of Directors of the California Association of Nonprofits – CalNonprofits – strongly supports Proposition 47. 

Proposition 45: Insurance Rate Public Justification and Accountability Act
In 1988, public anger against insurance companies resulted in the passage of Proposition 103 -- Insurance Rates & Regulation -- which requires the California State Insurance Commissioner (an elected official) to approve property and casualty insurance rates before they go into effect. Proposition 45 seeks to have the same kind of state authority put on health insurance rates.

The CalNonprofits board considered this proposition in part because CalNonprofits has a wholly-owned, for-profit social enterprise which is an insurance broker specializing in health insurance, and providing health insurance to more than 14,000 nonprofit employees. One reason we have this social enterprise at all is because of CalNonprofits' commitment to keeping insurance rates low for nonprofits.

Unfortunately, Proposition 45 is seriously flawed in some significant ways, despite its worthy goal of giving some oversight to health insurance costs. It exempts large corporations' health insurance plans. Prop 45 may make it more difficult for Covered California to negotiate its rates. Health insurance rates are much more complicated than car insurance rates, and may create approval backlogs. But perhaps the biggest problem with Proposition 45 is that it is a ballot proposition, rather than a proposed bill. As a bill, there would be opportunities to amend it to take out some of the problem areas, but as a proposition, not a single word can be changed.

As a result, the CalNonprofits board has chosen to stay neutral on Proposition 45. We can't fully support this bill because of the flaws, but we can't fully oppose it because of its intentions.

Looking for more information about the candidates and measures on your ballot? Check out Voter's Edge, a great new tool from Map Light and the League of Women Voters’ Smart Voter that provides nonpartisan voter information generated based on your address.

Have you signed on to Vote with Your Mission? Find out why nonprofit votes count!

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