Two 2024 ballot initiative campaigns report reaching the 25% signature threshold in California

The California secretary of state reported on Dec. 13 that two California ballot initiatives campaigns had collected at least 25% of the required number of signatures needed to qualify for the ballot in 2024. 

Protect Patients Now, sponsored by the California Apartment Association, is gathering signatures for an initiated state statute to require healthcare providers to spend 98% of revenues from federal discount prescription drug programs on direct patient care. This requirement would apply to healthcare providers that spent over $100 million in any 10-year period on anything other than direct patient care and operated multifamily housing with over 500 high-severity health and safety violations.

The campaign needs to collect 546,651 signatures by its circulation deadline of May 1, 2024.

On Nov. 28, 2023, the AIDS Healthcare Foundation announced that it had filed a lawsuit against the initiative arguing that it is unconstitutional because it “illegally applies to one—and only one—organization in all of California: AIDS Healthcare Foundation.” 

The AIDS Healthcare Foundation has qualified its own 2024 ballot initiative that would repeal Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act (1995), which prohibits rent control on single-family homes and houses completed after Feb. 1, 1995, and prohibits the state from limiting localities from enacting or expanding residential rent control. The AIDS Healthcare Foundation also sponsored two other rent control-related ballot initiatives in 2018 and 2020 spending over $63 million between the two efforts. The foundation has contributed $7.9 million to the 2024 ballot campaign according to the latest campaign finance filings that covered through Sept. 30.

The second ballot initiative to reach 25% of signatures is a proposed law that would require a personal finance course as a requirement to graduate high school. The requirement would take effect for the graduating class of 2030. Californians for Financial Education is sponsoring the initiative, which also needs 546,651 signatures. The initiative’s circulation deadline is May 7, 2023.

Proponents of initiatives are required to report when 25% of the number of signatures required have been gathered. The secretary of state notifies each chamber of the state legislature to hold joint public hearings on the initiative proposals. Legislators could decide to consider the initiative as legislation, although this has no direct effect on whether an initiative appears on the ballot. Proponents of an initiative could consider withdrawing their proposal if the legislature approved their initiative as legislation or compromise legislation.

As of Dec. 15, 34 ballot initiatives have been filed for California’s 2024 ballot. Seven ballot initiatives have qualified for the ballot, including two veto referendums. The initiatives relate to pandemic prevention, the state’s minimum wage, remediation for labor violations, vote requirements for new taxes, local rent control, and oil and gas well regulations. In 2024, Californians will also be deciding on four constitutional amendments:

  • an amendment to repeal the local voter requirement for publicly-funded housing projects classified as low rent;
  • an amendment to establish a right to marry and repeal Proposition 8 (2008), which defined marriage as between one man and one woman;
  • an amendment to require initiatives that change vote thresholds to supermajority votes to pass by the same vote requirement as is being proposed; and
  • an amendment to lower the vote threshold from 66.67% to 55% for local special taxes to fund housing projects and public infrastructure.