Kentucky voters to elect governor

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

  1. Spending exceeds $20 million in Kentucky gubernatorial race
  2. Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash file California ballot initiative to define their drivers as independent contractors and enact labor policies
  3. Meet the San Francisco DA candidates participating in our new Candidate Conversations portal

Spending exceeds $20 million in Kentucky gubernatorial race

Kentuckians head to the polls Nov. 5 to vote in the gubernatorial election between incumbent Gov. Matt Bevin (R), state Attorney General Andy Beshear (D), and John Hicks (L). 

This race will decide the state’s trifecta status until at least the 2020 state legislative elections. Republicans will maintain their trifecta control of the state with a Bevin win. A Beshear or Hicks victory will result in neither party having trifecta control. Before Bevin’s 2015 victory, Democrats held the governorship for 16 of the previous 20 years.

The campaigns have taken to the airwaves in force. Between Bevin, Beshear, and groups affiliated with the Republican Governors Association and Democratic Governors Association, ad spending has broken $20 million. In the last week alone, they have accounted for $5 million in spending.

Both The Cook Political Report and Inside Elections rate the race as a Toss-Up, while Larry J. Sabato’s Crystal Ball rates it as Lean Republican. Polling has been inconclusive, with polls that show either of the two candidates ahead or both in a tie.

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Uber, Lyft, and DoorDash file California ballot initiative to define their drivers as independent contractors and enact labor policies

Representatives of DoorDash, Lyft, and Uber filed a ballot initiative in California for the Nov. 3, 2020 election in response to the passage of Assembly Bill 5 (AB 5), which provides a three-factor test to determine whether a driver is an independent contractor or employee.

The ballot measure would override AB 5 and define app-based drivers as independent contractors and not employees or agents.

DoorDash, Lyft, and Uber have each contributed $30 million into campaign accounts to fund the ballot initiative campaign. Brandon Castillo, a representative for the campaign supporting the initiative, said, “We’re going to spend what it takes to win. It’s been widely reported that three of the companies already shifted $90 million, but we’re still in the early phases. The bottom line is: We’re committed to passing this.”

The ballot measure would also enact labor and wage policies specific to app-based drivers and companies, including a net earnings floor based on 120 percent of the state’s or municipality’s minimum wage and 30 cents per mile; a limitation on the hours a driver is permitted to work during a 24-hour period; health care subsidies; occupational accident insurance; and accidental death insurance.

The proposal would require the companies to develop anti-discrimination and sexual harassment policies. The proposed net earnings floor and health care subsidies would be based on a worker’s engaged time, which is defined as the time between accepting a customer request and completing the request.

Assemblywoman Lorena Gonzalez (D-80), who introduced AB 5, criticized the concept of engaged time, saying, “Their wage floor suggests if If I’m a cashier, I’m only paid while there’s a customer in my line, not when I’m waiting for the next customer.” She also said the benefits of being considered an employee outweigh what the initiative would provide to app-based drivers.

The campaign Protect App-Based Drivers & Services stated, “If rideshare and delivery drivers are forced to be classified as employees with set shifts, it could significantly limit the availability and affordability of these on-demand services that benefit consumers, small businesses and our economy. In addition, current law for independent contractors denies companies the ability to provide many workplace protections, such as guaranteed hourly earnings and benefits. State law also makes it difficult for rideshare and delivery service companies to implement many customer and public safety protections.”

The next step for the campaign is to receive ballot language from state Attorney General Xavier Becerra (D). He is expected to release petition language on Jan. 2, 2020, which would allow the campaign to begin collecting the 623,212 valid signatures needed to make the ballot. The deadline for signature verification is June 25, 2020. The recommended deadline to file signature petitions for verification using a random sample is April 21.

Meet the San Francisco DA candidates participating in our new Candidate Conversations portal

For the last year, Ballotpedia has been talking to voters, candidates, and other nonprofits about how we can help voters get to know their candidates as people.

I’ve seen the frustration many voters have with the debate and town hall processes. I’ve read emails from many readers saying you don’t know enough about your candidates.

To help address these issues, Ballotpedia is launching a new project—Candidate Conversations.

We’ve worked with EnCiv to develop an online video portal where candidates can answer questions, and you can watch those answers, anytime, for free, to learn more about your candidates. Think of it as speed research before you head to the polls. 

Candidate Conversations

We are excited to announce our two 2019 submissions from Chesa Boudin and Leif Dautch who are running in the four-person San Francisco district attorney’s race on Nov. 5. 

This non-partisan race has attracted national attention, including endorsements from presidential candidates Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), who served as district attorney of San Francisco between 2004 and 2011.

Stay tuned for more conversations like this.

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What's the tea?

Yesterday was Halloween and our What’s the Tea? questions over the past several weeks have asked about various aspects of civic participation. To have a little fun, I figured I’d ask you—our Brew readers—about your holiday participation.

How many trick-or-treaters did you give candy out to on Halloween?