California Proposition 15, the Hertzberg-Polanco Crime Laboratories Construction Bond Act (2000)

From Ballotpedia
Jump to: navigation, search
California Proposition 15, also known as the Hertzberg-Polanco Crime Laboratories Construction Bond Act of 1999, was on the March 7, 2000 ballot in California as a legislatively-referred bond act, where it was defeated.

Proposition 15 would have allowed the state of California to sell $220 million in general obligation bonds for local crime laboratories. The money raised from the bond sales would have been targeted to the construction, renovation, and infrastructure costs of these laboratories.[1]

At the time that Proposition 15 was on the ballot, there were already 19 local crime laboratories throughout the state, serving about 80% of the state's population. These laboratories, known as "forensic crime laboratories," collect, analyze and interpret forensic evidence from crime scenes, such as fingerprint evidence and blood samples.

Proposition 15 would have created a seven-member Forensic Laboratories Authority to consider applications and award the $220 million in bond monies. The members of the newly-created authority would have included the Attorney General of California, the director of the state's laboratories, and five members appointed by the Governor. To receive grant money under the proposed program, a local government would have had to provide 10% of total project costs, although this provision could have been modified or waived by the California State Legislature.[1]

Election results

Proposition 15
Defeatedd No3,772,51353.7%
Yes 3,265,416 46.3%

Text of measure

Figure 1: A forensic scientist extracts DNA from a sample.


The ballot title was:

The Hertzberg-Polanco Crime Laboratories Construction Bond Act of 1999.


The summary of the ballot measure prepared by the California Attorney General read:

  • This act provides for a bond issue of two hundred twenty million dollars ($220,000,000) to provide funds for a program for the construction, renovation, and infrastructure costs associated with the construction of new local forensic laboratories and the remodeling of existing local forensic laboratories.
  • Creates Forensic Laboratories Authority to consider and approve applications for construction and renovation of forensic laboratories.
  • Appropriates money from General Fund to pay off bonds.

Fiscal impact

See also: Fiscal impact statement

The California Legislative Analyst's Office provided an estimate of net state and local government fiscal impact for Proposition 15. That estimate was:

  • State costs of about $377 million over 25 years to pay off both the principal ($220 million) and interest ($157 million) costs of the bonds. Payments of about $15 million per year.
  • One-time costs of about $20 million to local governments to match state funds.
  • Unknown annual costs to local governments to support crime laboratories, potentially in the millions of dollars.


Website logo of the "Yes on 15" campaign

The voter guide arguments in favor of Proposition 15 were signed by:

  • Gray Davis, then-Governor of California
  • William J. Hemby, California Organization of Police & Sheriffs
  • Daniel A. Terry, President, California Professional Firefighters
  • Charles C. Plummer, President, California State Sheriffs Association
  • Tom Torlakson, Member, California State Assembly Information Technology Budget Subcommittee

Proposition 15 was also supported by:

  • Association of Conservation Employees
  • Association of Criminalists - DOJ
  • Association of Deputy Criminalists
  • Association of Deputy Commissioners
  • Association of Motor Carrier Operations Specialists
  • Association of Motor Vehicle Investigators of California
  • Association of Orange County Deputy Sheriffs
  • Association of Special Agents - DOJ
  • California Association of Crime Laboratory Directors
  • Full list of endorsers


The voter guide arguments opposing Proposition 15 were signed by:

  • Gail K. Lightfoot, Past Chair, Libertarian Party of California
  • Thomas Tryon, Calaveras County Supervisor
  • Ted Brown, Insurance Adjuster/Investigator

Path to the ballot

Proposition 15 was voted onto the ballot by the California State Legislature via AB 1391.

Votes in legislature to refer to ballot
Chamber Ayes Noes
Assembly 65 12
Senate 35 3

See also

External links