After voters twice turned back attempts to raise the state's tobacco tax over the last decade, California looks poised to pass Proposition 56, which would increase the cigarette tax by $2 per pack.
Proposition 56 leads 62.4% to 37.6% in late returns, according to the secretary of state's office.
"Smoking is the number one cause of avoidable death in the state of California," said Democratic donor Tom Steyer, who was the co-chairman of the Proposition 56 campaign. "We had a broader coalition to support the idea of pushing back against the tobacco companies and raising the cigarette tax than ever before. We believe that that kind of broad coalition works against organized and concentrated economic interests when we stick together and when we all turn out and vote."
Activists are not taking the idea of a Donald Trump presidency quietly. Hundreds of demonstrators across the U.S. hit the pavement during the day and evening Wednesday to protest the Republican's electoral victory.
California voters have approved Proposition 51, a $9-billion bond for school construction projects across the state.
The measure was leading 53.9% to 46.1%, according to election returns at 5 a.m. Wednesday, and the Associated Press has called the victory.
State funding to help finance repairs and new school facilities across California had run dry, and Proposition 51 will refill the pot. School construction needs billions of dollars every year, according to the nonpartisan Legislative Analyst's Office. With the new cash infusion, the state will once again match local district funding for construction projects.
California voters have approved a significant change of the rules in how proposed laws are approved by the Legislature, overwhelmingly supporting a new mandate for public review of legislation before any final vote.
The change in legislative rules was long discussed in the state Capitol but failed to gain momentum until the initiative written by a former GOP legislator and bankrolled by a wealthy Bay Area activist.