California Proposition 54, the "Racial Privacy Initiative" (October 2003)
Proposition 54 would have restricted state and local governments in California from collecting or using information on a person’s race, ethnicity, color, or national origin for the purposes of public education, public contracting, public employment, and other government operations, starting on January 1, 2005.
Text of measure
The ballot title was:
The question on the ballot was:
- "Should state and local governments be prohibited from classifying any person by race, ethnicity, color, or national origin? Various exemptions apply."
Proposition 54's ballot summary said:
- Amends Constitution to prohibit state and local governments from using race, ethnicity, color, or national origin to classify current or prospective students, contractors or employees in public education, contracting, or employment operations. Does not prohibit classification by sex.
- Prohibition also covers persons subject to other operations of government unless Legislature finds compelling state interest, authorizes by two-thirds of each house, and Governor approves.
- "Classifying" defined as separating, sorting, or organizing persons or personal data. Exemptions include: medical data; law enforcement descriptions; prisoner and undercover assignments; actions maintaining federal funding.
The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:
- "The measure would not result in a significant fiscal impact on state and local governments."
Supporters of Proposition 54 spent $470,710 on their campaign, while opponents spent $106,420.
Opponents assessed fine
In September 2008, the Fair Political Practices Commission levied an $8,000 fine against the "No on 54" committee, the group that opposed Proposition 54, for failure to file a timely campaign finance report with details on $90,282 in contributions.
Similar ballot measures
- Official ballot proposition guide provided by the State of California
- Official declaration of vote results
- LAO's analysis
- Smart Voter guide to Proposition 54
- California Voter Foundation Guide to Proposition 54
- List of who endorsed Propositions 53 and 54
- PDF of the 2003 mailed voter guide