We have a broken system in Sacramento. The people we elect to serve us in the Legislature are constantly running for office, playing a game of musical chairs that reduces accountability.
We can take an important step to fix this broken system by voting yes on Prop 28, a simple reform to make term limits work.
Under the current term limits law, legislators are allowed to serve 14 years – three two-year terms in the Assembly and two four-year terms in the Senate.
The voters’ intent was to end the era of entrenched politicians and limit the influence of lobbyists. But the focus on terms instead of years created the unintended effect of legislators constantly campaigning for the next open seat in order to stay in government.
This near-singular focus on campaigning instead of policy-making has allowed lobbyists and special interests to wield far too much power over the legislative process.
Both the Center for Governmental Studies and the Public Policy Institute of California have detailed how the current term limits law has produced a weaker legislature that was more dependent on lobbyists and obsessed with their next election.
If we want to change this, we have to fix term limits to make them more effective.
Voters have started on the path of reform, approving propositions to create an open primary and stopping the practice of politicians drawing their own districts to maximize their own political advantage.
Prop 28 is the next step to make legislators more accountable.
It reduces the amount of time politicians can serve in office from 14 to 12 years and closes the 17-year loophole.
Equally important, it allows legislators to serve that time in either the Assembly or the State Senate. Newspapers across the state have called this a sensible way to reduce legislators’ time on politics and to increase their attention on the job we need them to do.
The shadowy, out-of-state special interests that want to protect a broken status quo and stop us from fixing our term limits law have been misrepresenting how Prop 28 would work.
The fact is current and former legislators are legally excluded from using Prop 28 to extend their time in office. There are no exceptions.
That’s why Prop 28 is supported by good government groups like the League of Women Voters of California and California Common Cause along with broad-based coalition of local and statewide organizations.
Californians want and deserve legislators who are focused on policy, not politics.
Prop 28 will make legislators more accountable. It deserves a YES vote on June 5.