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California Proposition 54, the "Racial Privacy Initiative" (October 2003)

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California Proposition 54, also known as the Racial Privacy Initiative, was on the October 7, 2003 special election ballot in California as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was defeated.

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.

Election results

Proposition 54
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No5,541,31463.9%
Yes 3,144,145 36.1%

Constitutional changes

If Proposition 54 had been enacted, it would have added a Section 32(a) to Article I of the California Constitution.

Text of measure

Proposition 54 2003.PNG

Title

The ballot title was:

Classification by Race, Ethnicity, Color, or National Origin. Initiative Constitutional Amendment..

Question

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."

Summary

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.

Fiscal impact

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."

Campaign spending

Supporters of Proposition 54 spent $470,710 on their campaign, while opponents spent $106,420.[1]

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.[2]

Similar ballot measures

External links

References