Moral Low Ground

Economy

California Voters Reject Death Penalty Repeal, GMO Food Labeling

California voters rejected Propositions 34 and 37, which would have ended the death penalty and required the labeling of genetically modified foods. (Photo: Brett Wilkins)

Voters in California rejected ballot measures that would have ended capital punishment and required the labeling of many genetically modified foods, while approving an initiative that abolishes “three strikes” mandatory life prison sentencing.

The Huffington Post reports that Proposition 37, which would have mandated the labeling of many foods containing genetically modified components, failed to muster enough votes to pass.

Led by Monsanto, DuPont, Pepsi and others, agribusiness and food corporations, most of them from outside of California, spent more than $45 million in a successful bid to sway voters from approving Prop 37. According to California Watch, supporters of the measure raised a paltry $7.3 million. The “No on 37” campaign saturated the California airwaves with negative, often deceptive and inaccurate, ads that undoubtedly eroded support for the initiative, which was once very strong.

Prop 37 was also dealt serious blows when two of the state’s leading newspapers, the Los Angeles Times and San Francisco Chronicle, urged voters to say “no” to Prop 37 because it was poorly written.

California voters also rejected Proposition 34, which would have replaced the death penalty with life imprisonment without the possibility of parole, moved the state’s 725 death row inmates into general prison population and channeled $100 million to law enforcement.

In addition to the usual law-and-order and victims’ rights groups that opposed the measure, there were some surprising voices against repeal. The Chicago-based Campaign to End the Death Penalty and many California death row inmates rejected Prop 34, mostly because of the diminished legal protections that would be afforded convicts after abolition.

“The people of California sent a clear message that the death penalty should still be implemented for those who commit the most heinous and unthinkable crimes,” former US Attorney and ‘No on Prop 34’ co-chair McGregor Scott told the San Jose Mercury News.

Even as they affirmed their support for capital punishment, Californians overwhelmingly passed Proposition 36, a measure that ends the state’s highly controversial “three strikes law,” under which two-time felons convicted of even the most minor third offenses receive mandatory life prison sentences.

Under the new rules, life sentences may only be handed down if the convict’s third “strike” is a “serious or violent” offense or if a murderer, rapist or child molester commits a minor felony. Under the current system, offenders have been sentenced to life behind bars for stealing a pair of socks, writing a bad check for $146 and breaking into a soup kitchen.

Also approved was Proposition 35, an anti-human trafficking initiative mainly funded by Facebook executive Chris Kelly. Under Prop 35, prison sentences for human traffickers are doubled, life sentences are imposed on those convicted of sexually trafficking children, the definition of trafficking is broadened to include the distribution of child pornography and sex offenders’ privacy rights are further curtailed. Sex workers and some feminist groups were among those strongly opposed to the measure.

Many California liberals were left feeling somewhat defeated as they watched voters in other states take the lead in passing progressive measures. Maine, Maryland and Washington state legalized same-sex marriage. Minnesota rejected a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman. Colorado and Washington state legalized recreational marijuana. Maryland also granted in-state college tuition rates to undocumented immigrants.

Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Related Posts

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*

Douche Du Jour
  • GOP Congressman Robert Pittenger Says Charlotte Protesters ‘Hate White People Because They’re Successful’
  • Israel Nominates Col. Eyal Karim, Who Endorsed Rape of Non-Jews to ‘Boost Troop Morale,’ for Chief Military Rabbi
  • The Hateful 8: Anti-Gay Christian Leaders Praise Orlando Massacre
  • Koch Brother’s Youth Education Program Teaches ‘Sacrificing Lives for Profits’
  • Tracy Murphree, GOP Texas Sheriff Candidate, Threatens to Beat Transgender Women Unconscious
Archives