California could vote on 2020 ballot initiative regarding consumer privacy

 The Daily Brew
Welcome to the Tuesday, October 1, Brew. Here’s what’s in store for you as you start your day:

  1. California could vote on 2020 ballot initiative regarding consumer privacy
  2. Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts sworn in 14 years ago this week
  3. 56% of Brew readers have voted in a special election

California could vote on 2020 ballot initiative regarding consumer privacy 

California voters may decide a ballot measure regarding consumer privacy in 2020—two years after the state legislature passed legislation on the issue in 2018. A ballot initiative was filed September 25 to create a state agency to implement that law and expand its provisions. 

The proposed 2020 ballot initiative would create a state agency to oversee and enforce the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018 (CCPA). That law allows consumers to request that businesses not share, sell, or retain their personal information. The proposed initiative would add other provisions to the law, including requiring that businesses: 

  • provide consumers with the ability to opt out of having personal information used or disclosed for advertising or marketing; 
  • obtain permission before collecting data from consumers younger than 16 and from a parent or guardian for consumers younger than 13; 
  • disclose information regarding profiling algorithms used to determine a consumer’s eligibility for financial or lending services, housing, and insurance; and 
  • that collect personal information for political purposes disclose the candidates and committees for which the information was used.

Alastair Mactaggart—a San Francisco-based real estate developer—filed the ballot initiative. After the California Secretary of State writes the petition language, proponents will have 180 days to collect at least 623,212 valid signatures—5 percent of the votes cast in the 2018 gubernatorial election—for the measure to make the ballot. 

Mactaggart was also the proponent of a 2018 initiative on consumer privacy which was withdrawn after the state legislature passed the CCPA. He said he is supporting the new measure to prevent the state legislature from altering the 2018 law in the future. A ballot initiative couldn’t be amended without the approval of voters due to the state constitution’s limits on legislative alteration.

Opponents of Mactaggart’s previous initiative raised $2.15 million—including contributions from Facebook, Google, Amazon, Comcast, Verizon, AT&T, and Uber. Opponents stated it was “unworkable, requiring the internet and businesses in California to operate differently than the rest of the world — limiting our choices, hurting our businesses, and cutting our connection to the global economy.” 

California is one of two states—along with Arizona—that require voter approval for changes to or the repeal of citizen-initiated state statutes, thereby preventing legislative alteration of citizen initiatives. Eleven of the 21 states that feature the initiated state statute power have no restrictions on how soon or with what majority state legislators can repeal or amend initiated statutes. The other states restrict how soon the legislature can amend or repeal an initiative, require a supermajority vote of legislators, or a combination of the two.

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Supreme Court Chief Justice Roberts sworn in 14 years ago this week 

Fourteen years ago this week, John Roberts was sworn in as the chief justice of the Supreme Court. He was initially nominated to the Court on July 19, 2005, by President George W. Bush (R), to fill the vacancy left by Sandra Day O’Connor’s retirement. President Bush withdrew Roberts’ nomination to be an associate justice when Chief Justice William Rehnquist passed away and renominated him to be the 17th Chief Justice on September 6, 2005. 

Roberts was confirmed 23 days after his nomination. He was approved by the Senate Judiciary Committee by a vote of 13-5, with Senators Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.), Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Joe Biden (D-Del.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) casting the dissenting votes. Durbin, Feinstein, and Schumer are still serving in the Senate. The full U.S. Senate confirmed Roberts on September 29, 2005, by a vote of 78-22.

Roberts attended Harvard for both his undergraduate and law degrees, receiving an undergraduate degree from Harvard College in 1976 after only three years. He clerked under Rehnquist after graduating from law school. Prior to joining the Supreme Court, Roberts served on the D.C. Court of Appeals from 2003 to 2005. Before that, he worked as a lawyer in private practice and in the Department of Justice in the administrations of Republican Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush. 

As I prepared for this Brew entry, I was reading over Roberts’ article on Ballotpedia. We’ve added new tables showing the number of opinions each justice has written per year, how often each justice has agreed with other justices in their opinions, and how often each judge has been in the majority dating back to 2011. For example, Chief Justice Roberts was in the majority in 85 percent of decisions last term—which was the second-most on the Court.

And of course, the 2019-20 Supreme Court term begins next week—on October 7. Our free newsletter, Bold Justice, covers all the news about the Supreme Court and the federal judiciary. Click here to subscribe and you’ll receive the next issue that comes out Monday.

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56% of Brew readers have voted in a special election

Two state legislative special elections take place today—in Georgia and South Carolina—to fill vacancies due to legislators that died or resigned. Between 2011 and 2018, an average of 77 state legislative special elections took place each year. 

At the federal level, three special elections for the U.S. House of Representatives have already occurred and one—in Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District—has been scheduled for January 2020.

So I was curious about how many Brew readers had voted in a special election:

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About the author

Dave Beaudoin

Dave Beaudoin is a project director at Ballotpedia and can be reached at dave.beaudoin@ballotpedia.org

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