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California Proposition 137, Rules Governing Initiatives (1990)

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California Proposition 137 was on the November 6, 1990 ballot in California as an initiated constitutional amendment, where it was defeated.

Proposition 137 would have required that certain changes in the laws governing the initiative process in California be approved by the state's voters, as opposed to simply being passed by the California State Legislature. The types of changes that Proposition 137 would have required voter approval on would have pertained to:

  • The rules about how initiative or referendum petitions are circulated, presented to election officials and certified.
  • The ways in which ballot measures are presented to voters.

Proposition 137 was sponsored by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, which believed that the state legislature was imposing rules and regulations on the initiative process that made it harder to qualify petitions for the ballot. It was opposed by the California Teachers Association.

Election results

Proposition 137
ResultVotesPercentage
Defeatedd No3,860,75655.01%
Yes 3,157,383 44.99%

Constitutional changes

If Proposition 137 had passed, it would have added a new Section 11.5 to Article II of the California Constitution. That new section would have said:

Sec. 11.5. The power of initiative and referendum is reserved to the people and laws affecting the power shall be submitted to the people. A statute enacted after the adoption of this section, which provides the manner in which statewide or local initiative or referendum petitions are circulated, presented, or certified or the manner in which measures are submitted to the electors or otherwise establishes procedures or requirements for a statewide or local initiative or referendum including the initiative powers set forth in section 3 of Article XI. shall become effective only when approved by the electors.

Ballot summary

  • Prohibits legislative enactment from becoming effective without voter approval of any statute that provides the manner in which statewide or local initiative or referendum petitions are circulated, presented, certified or submitted to the electors.
  • Also requires voter approval of statutes that establish procedures or requirements for statewide or local initiatives or referendums.

Fiscal impact

The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:

  • The measure could result in unknown increased state and local administrative costs for preparation, printing and mailing of ballot information and verifying election results to extent that changes in requirements for initiatives and referendums are submitted to voters.
  • State General Fund costs could range from insignificant to $200,000 per measure for each statewide election.
  • Counties' costs could range from insignificant to $100,000 per measure for each statewide election.

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