Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Yes on California Proposition 28, term limits

Currently in the the State of California there are term limits for citizens serving in our state legislature. A person can serve three terms of two years in the California State Assembly and two terms of four years in the California State Senate. Thus a successful politician can serve a maximum of fourteen (14) years at the state level. After that, to remain in elected political office, the options are to return to local seats, try for one of the few statewide offices like governor, or try to jump to a seat in the U.S. House of Representatives or one of the two U.S. Senator positions.

Proposition 28, "Limits on Legislator's Terms in Office," which if passed would be an amendment to the California Constitution, would change the rules for term limits. A citizen would be able to serve only 12 years in the State Assembly or Senate, but could divide up those years as desired (or as the citizens are willing to vote).

This would serve to mitigate two problems at once. In the current system, upward-climbing politicians start in the Assembly. After spending a year running for office, they have a year of being a novice before running for Assembly again. By the time they are experienced at Assembly work, they are term limited out. They have spent 3 years running for office, then 3 years focused (hopefully) on the people's business. Their last year is usually spent desperately seeking a higher office, or getting ready to join the vast army of parasitic former legislators who become lobbyists or get appointed to highly paid, no-show California commission committee work.

Under 28 a citizen can get up to six terms in the state assembly. There would be a mix, in the assembly, of old hands who know their business and newer members to provide fresh energy. The same would basically be true of the State Senate.

Of course the corrupting power of money in politics will remain with us, as will a population of voters almost none of whom follows the legislative process closely (even I can't do that). Prop 28 is a tweak, not a revolution.

I like Proposition 28 and don't find any argument against it to be compelling.

Vote Yes on Proposition 28, the new term limits initiative.

Text of Proposition 28 with official arguments

1 comment:

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