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College forums to examine statewide propositions
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The Stanislaus County League of Women Voters will hold two public forums to present the pros and cons of the Nov. 4 state ballot measures.

The "Pros and Cons Presentation of State Ballot Measures" forum will take place at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, Oct. 2 at CSU Stanislaus in the Event Center in Turlock.

It will then be repeated at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 8, in the Sierra Hall Room 130 on the West campus of Modesto Junior College.

California voters will be voting on:

Prop. 1 Water Bond, which authorizes $7.12 billion in general obligation bonds for state water supply infrastructure projects, such as surface and groundwater storage; ecosystem and watershed protection and restoration; drinking water protection; water supply management; water recycling and advanced water treatment technology; and flood control.

Prop. 2. Budget. Amends the State Constitution to end the existing rules for a state budget reserve-the Budget Stabilization Account (BSA)-and replace them with new rules. The new rules would change how the state pays down debt and saves money in reserves, including the requirement to spend a minimum amount each year to pay down specific debts. If passed, a new state reserve would be created for schools and community colleges. In addition, a new state law would go into effect that sets the maximum budget reserves school districts can keep at the local level in some future years.

Prop. 45. Health Insurance. Requires insurance commissioner's approval before health insurer can change rates or anything else affecting the charges associated with health insurance. Provides for public notice, disclosure, and hearing, and subsequent judicial review. Exempts employer large group health plans.

Prop. 46. Health Care Reforms. This measure would increase the state's cap on damages that can be assessed in medical negligence lawsuits to over $1 million from the current cap of $250,000, with annual adjuments for inflation going forward. Additionally, it requires drug and alcohol testing of doctors and the reporting of positive tests to the California Medical Board for mandated discipline. Lastly, it mandates that health care practitioners consult a state prescription drug history database before prescribing certain medications.

Prop. 47. Criminal Sentences. This measure reduces penalties for certain offenders convicted of nonserious and nonviolent property and drug crimes. The measure also allows certain offenders who have been previously convicted of such crimes to apply for reduced sentences. In addition, the measure requires any state savings that result from the measure be spent to support truancy (unexcused absences) prevention, mental health and substance abuse treatment, and victim services.

Prop. 48. Indian Gaming. In June 2013, the Legislature passed AB 277, which approves gaming compacts between the state and the North Fork Rancheria of Mono Indians and the Wiyot Tribe. Under the State Constitution, enacted legislation can generally be placed before voters as a referendum to determine whether it can go into effect. This proposition is a referendum on AB 277. If voters approve Proposition 48, the gaming compacts between the state and the two tribes would go into effect, allowing North Fork to construct a casino in Madera County.

U.S. citizens may continue to register to vote until 15 days before the election. Voter registrations for the coming election will be accepted through Monday, Oct. 20.

Stanislaus County has a total of 212,017 registered voters of which 125,742 are permanent vote by mail voters and 2,029 are all-mail precinct voters.