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How Corporations Are Using Propositions To Overturn Laws They Don't Like

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A Postmates sticker is displayed next to an Uber Eats sticker on the window of a San Francisco restaurant on July 6, 2020. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
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Asking voters to repeal or overhaul a law passed by the Democratic-controlled Legislature is becoming a common strategy for corporations financially threatened by progressive policies coming out of Sacramento. Ride-hailing companies succeeded at it this week, too, convincing voters to pass Proposition 22 and exempt Uber and Lyft from state labor law.

Another one is already in-the-works: Tobacco companies have launched a referendum drive asking voters to overturn the state's ban on flavored cigarettes and vaping products within days of Gov. Gavin Newsom signing it into law in August.

The repeal efforts aren't always successful. Voters upheld the plastic bag ban in 2016, and it's too soon to know if the tobacco measure will qualify for the 2022 ballot. But companies can gain even when they lose, because once a referendum to overturn new laws qualifies for the ballot, they are put on hold. That can buy a targeted industry another two years to operate in California.

READ MORE ABOUT THE BUSINESS OF PROPOSITIONS:

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