Proposition 28 on the June ballot would fundamentally change California’s law mandating term limits for members of the state legislature. The measure would increase the length of time that any one elected official could serve in either house of the state legislature to 12 years, up from six in the Assembly and eight in the Senate. It would decrease the total number of years that an official could serve, however, from 14 years to that same 12. Opponents say the initiative would give elected officials – many of whom run from safe seats where they face little opposition – way too much time in a single job. But supporters say Prop 28 would address an unintended consequence of the state’s 22-year-old term limit law: politicians who have little knowledge or experience in their jobs and are continually seeking new elective offices for which to run.
“Lawmakers are constantly running for the next office instead of focusing on the work they were elected to do,” said Gabriel Sanchez, a spokesman for Californians for a Fresh Start, which is backing the campaign. Moreover, he said, newly elected representatives know little of the issues they will face, and are more easily manipulated by lobbyists. The measure would reduce this constant movement, Sanchez said, by allowing legislators to remain in either the assembly or the senate for long enough to gain experience, but then cut them off, so they could not then move to the other body.