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California’s 2024 Ballot Measures Will Revive Familiar Ideological Battles



Nine measures that have qualified for the 2024 ballot are all are replays of polarizing ideological issues, says Dan Walters. (Shutterstock)
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As it stands, the 2024 California ballot would be, as the old saying goes, “déjà vu all over again.”

Dan Walters with a serious expression

Dan Walters



Nine measures have qualified for the ballot: two constitutional amendments for the March primary election, and five initiatives and two referenda for the November general election. All are replays of polarizing ideological issues.

The two March measures, both placed on the ballot by the Democrat-dominated state Legislature, typify the trend of refighting old battles. One would repeal a 2008 ballot measure, passed by a 52% vote, that prohibited same-sex marriages but was later voided by the U.S. Supreme Court. The other would repeal a constitutional mandate known as Article 34, passed by voters in 1950, that requires voter approval for low-income housing projects.

The two referenda are by their nature replays of previous clashes, both backed by business interests seeking to overturn recent legislative efforts to impose more state regulation on their operations, and both are likely to spark multimillion-dollar campaigns.

One, sponsored by the fast food industry, would erase a 2022 union-sponsored bill that would create a 10-member Fast Food Council to regulate wages and working conditions in fast food chains such as McDonald’s and Burger King.

The second referendum, backed by the petroleum industry, would overturn a 2022 law requiring a 3,200-foot buffer between new oil wells and homes, schools, nursing homes and hospitals.

Ideological Clashes Abound

The five initiatives so far qualified for the ballot are also reruns of ideological clashes – three sponsored by those on the political left and two by conservative business interests, to wit:

While more 2024 initiatives or referenda are unlikely, when the Legislature returns from its summer vacation it probably will approve some bond issues that would require voter approval.

About the Author

Dan Walters has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, spending all but a few of those years working for California newspapers. He began his professional career in 1960, at age 16, at the Humboldt Times. CalMatters is a public interest journalism venture committed to explaining how California’s state Capitol works and why it matters. For more columns by Dan Walters, go to

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Dan Walters has been a journalist for nearly 60 years, spending all but a few of those years working for California newspapers. He has written more than 9,000 columns about the state and its politics and is the founding editor of the “California Political Almanac.” Dan has also been a frequent guest on national television news shows, commenting on California issues and policies.

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