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Valley Public Radio Staff
Government & Politics
Mon May 7, 2012
Prop 28 Would Change Term Limits
Currently, California lawmakers can serve a total of fourteen years: six in the Assembly, and eight in the Senate. Nick Schroeder from the non-partisan Legislative Analyst’s Office says Prop 28 would allow a legislator to serve up to twelve years.
“Fundamentally, what this measure does is it allows a person to serve more years in one house, either in the Assembly or Senate but fewer total years in the legislature…”
Supporters say lawmakers would gain more experience if given the option to serve all their time in one house. They say that, in turn, would reduce the power of lobbyists who have spent more time in the Capitol. Phillip Ung with Common Cause says if Prop 28 is approved lawmakers wouldn’t have to immediately start thinking of their next political move.
“What this will allow them to do is really focus on governing for about a decade— or twelve years—and not have to worry about anything past that.”
But opponents call the measure a sham. Conservative blogger Jon Fleischman is with a group called Californians for Term Limits. He says by extending the time a person can spend in each house—Prop 28 benefits politicians—not constituents.
“As a practical matter, once somebody gets elected, they will serve for twelve years, because they’ve got all the insider support to make sure they keep their office. And so a vote for this measure, would actually reduce voter choice going forward and voter input going forward.”
Fleishman also says the word “reduce” in the official title and summary is misleading. Supporters include the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor , as well as some prominent business owners and developers. Opponents include the group U-S Term Limits and the California Republican Party.