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Analysis on California Senate Bill 5 (De Leon) / Proposition 68

Publication date: 
Tuesday, February 6, 2018


On June 5, 2018, California voters will decide on Proposition 68, a $4 billion bond measure focused on providing adequate and clean water, parks and recreation improvements, capital investments for flooding control and addressing climate change. Senate Bill 5 (De León) placed this bond measure on the ballot. The bond measure aims to promote equitable access to clean water and parks and recreation for underserved low-income communities.


California Senate Bill 5 (De León), “California Drought, Water, Parks, Climate Coastal Protection, and Outdoor Access for All Act of 2018” is a $4 billion general obligation bond measure that will be on the June 5, 2018 ballot. A general obligation bond is a type of long-term borrowing that the state uses to raise money for various purposes and is directly paid-off from the state’s General Fund, which is supported by tax revenues. The bond measure is intended to finance a range of state initiatives involving parks, flooding, water and climate change.

The $4 billion in funding from the bond measure is expected to be allocated in the following way:

Parks $1.2 billion
Flood $550 million
Water $1 billion
Climate/Conservancies $1.3 billion
Total ~$4.05 billion

Note: For a detailed funding allocation within each category, please click here.


SB 5 is the only bond measure that is up for consideration in the June 2018 ballot. According to Phoebe Seaton from the Leadership Council for Accountability and Justice, funding from SB 5 is needed as funding from a previous ballot measure on water (Proposition 1 or the “Water Quality, Supply and Infrastructure Improvement Act” of 2014) is almost depleted. One of the provisions of SB 5 includes addressing the lack of funding to allow communities to be connected to adequate and safe drinking water.

In addition, SB 5 builds on the provisions of Assembly Bill 31, “the Statewide Park Development and Community Revitalization Act of 2008 (De León) which provide competitive grants to local entities and nonprofit organizations for the development of urban parks and recreational areas and facilities. Under SB 5, $725 million will be dedicated to increasing accessibility of parks to underserved low-income communities. The bill text dedicated 20 percent of funding to serve severely underserved communities and 15 percent to underserved communities. This includes funding for outreach and transportation services to underserved communities, in order to bring greater accessibility to parks and recreation services.

Implementing the provisions of SB 5 pose a great challenge. Advocates of SB 5, including Balinda Fasutinos from Nature for All, have urged philanthropy to support advocacy efforts before and after the 2018 ballot to ensure the passage and implementation of the ballot measure. She noted that funders can play a role in building capacity at nonprofit organizations so that communities can prepare timely responses to the request for proposals if Proposition 68 is passed.

Voter consideration for SB 5 comes at a providential time as the California state budget is projected to have a $19 billion surplus. Additionally, the Legislative Analyst’s Office estimated that the debt-service ratio measuring the portions of the state’s annual General Fund revenues and transfers that must be set aside for debt service payments remains below 5 percent, giving extensive capacity for the state to sell the bond and successfully obtain the funding for the purposes of SB 5.

In Support

The Committee for Clean Water, Natural Resources and Parks supports this measure. The Committee members include the California State Parks Foundation, The Trust for Public Land, Los Angeles Neighborhood Council, East Bay Regional Park District, Bay Area Open Space Council, and Friends of the Los Angeles River.

*A ballot measure is considered legislation and supporting a measure can be considered as lobbying. For more information on lobbying, please click here.


At this time, there are no known interest groups that oppose to the bond measure.


If you have questions or comments, please contact Sean Tan, Public Policy Intern, at (213) 680-8866 ext. 215.

PDF icon CA_SB 5_Final.pdf213.53 KB
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