1970 - No-fault Divorce
California becomes the first state to pass a no-fault divorce law, meaning neither spouse must prove the fault of the other to gain a divorce. A spouse can obtain a divorce without the consent of the other and no grounds are necessary. Financial support is based on needs and resources rather than linked to fault.
1972 - Death Penalty
Responding to a 1972 state Supreme Court ruling that the death penalty is unconstitutional, voters the same year restore capital punishment with an initiative stating it does not constitute cruel or unusual punishment. This constitutional amendment is one of the earliest anti-crime measures put on a California ballot. It's approved by 67.5 percent of voters.
1974 - Affirmative Action
Governor Reagan signs legislation giving the State Personal Board responsibility for evaluating progress toward affirmative-action goals in state civil service. The board's first annual report of its efforts in 1974 calls for achieving "a state work force with each ethnic group and women represented by occupation, responsibility and salary level in proportion to its representation in the labor market." Following up, a 1977 law states, "Each agency and department [in state government] shall establish goals and timetables designed to overcome any identified under-utilization of minorities and women in their respective organizations."
1977 - Alternative Energy
Governor Brown and the Legislature enact the nation's largest tax-incentive program for encouraging development of solar energy. The following year, the state sets a goal of meeting 10 percent of its electrical needs with wind power by the year 2000.
1978 - Property-tax Cut
Voters adopt Proposition 13, an initiative promoted by Howard Jarvis and Paul Gann to slash property taxes by more than half. It rolls real-estate assessments back to 1975 market values, sets property taxes at 1 percent of those values and caps assessment increases at no more than 2 percent yearly until property is sold or undergoes new construction. Nearly identical properties eventually will be taxed differently, depending on when they are bought and sold, an approach ultimately upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Proposition 13, a constitutional amendment approved by 64.8 percent of voters, also requires a two-thirds vote of the Legislature for tax increases, and two-thirds approval by local voters for increases in local special taxes. The Legislature and Jerry Brown respond by channeling the state's multibillion-dollar surplus to cities, counties, special districts and schools, which had depended primarily on property taxes for revenue, to help offset losses. As future economic downturns squeeze the treasury, the state's funding emphasis remains on schools and local governments grow increasingly strapped. Meanwhile, voters approve a series of constitutional refinements in Proposition 13 proposed by the Legislature. Homeowners can transfer their residences to heirs without triggering reassessments (1986), those over 55 can transfer their locked-in assessment values to new homes of equal or lesser market value in the same county (1988) or to homes in other counties with those counties' approval (1993).
1979 - Domestic Violence
The Domestic Violence Prevention Act gives courts authority to grant temporary restraining orders in domestic-violence cases. Legislation for the first time makes it a crime, punishable as either a felony or misdemeanor, to rape one's spouse. Law-enforcement agencies in 1984 are required to develop written policies governing their responses to calls of domestic abuse.