California will toughen its penalties for human trafficking and its monitoring of sex offenders under an initiative approved Tuesday.
Prison sentences for human trafficking will more than double under Proposition 35, which imposes life sentences for the sex-trafficking of children. It also requires sex offenders to provide email addresses and other Internet identifiers to law enforcement.
The initiative was mainly funded by former Facebook Chief Privacy Officer Chris Kelly, who lost a bid for state attorney general in 2010.
It was supported by many law enforcement groups, although its opponents say it is written too broadly.
Its definition of human trafficking includes distributing obscene materials depicting children. Prosecutors would no longer have to prove force was used in cases involving minors.
Despite spending tens of millions of dollars, civil rights lawyer Molly Munger’s Prop. 38 was declared defeated early on with roughly 75 percent of no votes on the education measure.
Munger released a statement on the results.
“Thank you to the many thousands of volunteers, community activities and many others who worked so hard and selflessly on behalf of Proposition 38. This year you helped raise awareness dramatically about the importance of increasing taxes to support public education. In the fight for Proposition 38, a powerful coalition has begun coming together and a strong movement has been formed. As we continue this fight, we can and will build on all the good work that has been done. Transformational change takes time and we are committed to staying the course until our state truly does tackle this school-funding crisis.
The nation's harshest three strikes law has been reformed to allow for shorter sentences for some offenders.
Proposition 36 passed 68 percent to 32 percent Tuesday with 26 percent of precincts reporting. An offender's third felony conviction now must be a serious or violent crime to mandate an automatic sentence of 25 years to life in prison.
Previously, any felony conviction — even for a relatively minor offense — triggered the automatic sentence for an offender with two previous felony convictions for serious or violent crimes.
Opponents argued the law needed no alteration and was meant to punish California's habitual offenders.
Supporters argue the state will save millions a year by cutting down on the number of parole hearings and shortening long prison sentences.
As word spread that the TV networks had called the presidential election for the incumbent, drivers along Crenshaw Boulevard began honking their horns and shouting from their car windows.
One woman, Flora Stewart, stood at the corner of Crenshaw and Vernon Avenue waving a large copy of the Obama family's official White House portrait - what she called "a beautiful picture of a beautiful family.
"To become the President of the United States, not only do you need the support of your community, you need the support of your family. And I just think that what they had to sacrifice and give up for the last four years, I think it's tremendous."
Amid the celebratory noise, Stewart reflected on the significance of the president's re-election after a bitter, often negative campaign against Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
8:19 a.m.: Prop 34, the initiative that would have replaced the death penalty with life without parole in California, failed by almost 6 points. The vote marked the first time in decades that the voting public has been asked to consider the efficacy and ethics of capital punishment. More here.
Wednesday, 8:07 a.m.: The party at Dodger Stadium Tuesday evening included the campaigns of Yes on Prop 30, No on Prop 32, Yes on Prop 34 and Yes on Measure J.
This morning, here’s how those measures were turning out with 98 percent of the votes counted:
- Proposition 30, approved with 54 percent
- Proposition 32, defeated with 44 percent
- Proposition 34, defeated with 47 percent
- Measure J, falling just short of the two-thirds threshold with 64.7 percent
9:44 p.m.: Wow. There are a lot of you out there watching these updates. So many, in fact, that the site is reeling. If you're having problems seeing updates, you can always move over to our live map of California prop and election results: