On January 20th 2017, people marched through the streets of Sacramento in protest of the inauguration of Donald Trump as president of the United States. One group formed in the quad of Sacramento City College and marched down Freeport Boulevard before convening with a larger group in front of the State Capital, where people chanted, played music, performed spoken-word poetry and gave speeches on behalf of groups and causes they felt were threatened after the inauguration.
If we look back at this election there have been countless news articles, polls, and studies that have explained how voters younger than 35 believe Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump are two extreme versions of corruption, bigotry, and status quo. However, it is still important for millennials to vote because there are many local races and propositions that will affect our everyday lives. There are exactly seventeen measures that have been placed before California voters this election cycle. For the majority of millennials, we won’t even have a clear understanding of the ballot come Election Day because we are blinded by this Presidential chaos. Some of these propositions are amazing, ridiculous, crucial, while others are deceptive. All are important to consider, as always because all elections matter.
Let’s just look at three propositions that I find to be some of the most important.
First, Prop 64. “Marijuana Legalization”: The legal age for usage would be 21. Restrictions are similar to that of alcohol and tobacco usage. Sales would of course be taxed heavily. Some exemptions in the tax are present for medical marijuana usage but we already have it legal in California. What’s interesting is that the tax is not going to the state general fund, but rather into prevention and cleanup programs related to marijuana usage. According to voterguide.org, after the regulatory agency takes what it needs to fund itself, the taxes would go 60% to youth programs, including substance use disorder education, prevention, and treatment to clean up and prevent environmental damage from illegal growing. It will also create programs designed to reduce DUI and a grant program to reduce impacts on public health and safety from this measure. It would reduce sentences for marijuana-related crimes. So people currently incarcerated for many marijuana offenses could have their sentences reduced or overturned, and there would be thousands of fewer arrests in the future. I think legalizing marijuana is important, to help end a lot of unnecessary harassment from police authorities so I will vote Yes on Prop 64.
Second, Prop 55. “Tax Extension to Fund Education and Healthcare”: Would extend the Prop 30 raise taxes on the rich to help fund education and healthcare. I’m not affected by this, except in the positive to have more healthcare and education funding. And neither is anyone else earning less than $250,000. This is not a tax increase; the tax increase already was approved. Failure to approve this would be a benefit to the rich, and a loss of funding to education and healthcare. So clearly I will be voting Yes on Prop 55.
Lastly, Prop 63. “Firearms and Ammunition Sales”: This bill regulates ammunition similar to the firearms that use them. This will require dealers to have licenses, buyers to prove they are allowed to purchase it, and provides a ban on firearms with high-capacity magazines. It also changes reporting requirements for stolen ammunition and/or firearms, and increases the penalty for theft of firearms to a felony. It’s actually a very complicated measure with a lot of minor changes being made to firearm laws. All I know for sure is that it aims to reduce gun violence in our state. I am voting YES.
So no matter how you may feel about the Presidential Election still vote for who you think is the best person. Don’t forget that there are still more major issues that can affect you directly in your community. Make sure you study your voter’s pamphlet or research online.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek”. – Barack Obama