View Full Version : New term-limits measure qualifies for state ballot

09-10-2007, 9:49 AM
Interesting that someone would ask about congressional term limits when our California state legislators are trying to loosen theirs. The California state legislators want to extend their term limits from 8 in the senate and 6 in the Assembly (14 years total) to 12 years in both the Assembly and the Senate for a total of 24 years.

I have seen reports (http://igs.berkeley.edu/publications/par/summer2002/limits.htm) indicating that term limits increase the number of bills written and the number of vetos. Just based on that it seems like term limits increases the number of bad bills being written by overanxious legislators. Would extending term limits make legislators more thoughtful and allow them to think long term or do these guys just want to stay in office longer?

The process in which they got the signatures seems a little shady, but what do you think about extending the term limits in general?

Current state term limits


New term-limits measure qualifies for state ballot

John Wildermuth, Chronicle Staff Writer

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

(09-04) 20:15 PDT San Francisco -- A new Democrat-backed term limits initiative qualified for the February ballot Tuesday by a scant 957-signature margin, and opponents are complaining that political pressure pushed the measure over the top.

The measure only received enough valid signatures to qualify after four counties - Alameda, Contra Costa, Riverside and San Bernardino - revised their counts Friday and added 5,490 signatures to the "certified and final" totals they had submitted earlier in August.

"It is uncommon for us to receive revised figures in the signature count for an initiative," said Nicole Winger, a spokesman for Secretary of State Debra Bowen.

The initiative, put together by Assembly Speaker Fabian Nez, D-Los Angeles, would cut the amount of time state legislators can spend in office from the current 14 years down to 12 years, but would allow them to serve it all in either the Assembly or state Senate, if they wish. If passed in February, it will allow Nez, state Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, D-Oakland, and a number of other legislators to run for re-election to their current jobs in June, instead of being forced out by the old term limit rules.

"The process has clearly been tainted, political pressure applied and the result speaks for itself," said Kevin Spillane, a GOP consultant running the effort against the term limit revision. "It's interesting that (Perata's) political power base includes two of the four counties that revised their numbers."

Both Perata and Nez quickly denied that they had pressured anyone over term limits.

"Sen. Perata has not made one single phone call to anyone about the term limits initiative and has nothing to do with the initiative whatsoever," said Alicia Tross, a spokeswoman for the senator.

The complaints are little more than sour grapes, initiative backers said.

"It's disappointing that opponents of this reform have tried in vain from day one to tar our efforts with unfounded allegations," Gale Kaufman, the Democratic consultant running the initiative campaign, said in a statement Tuesday. "We hope observers will finally begin to see through these cheap stunts as the campaign moves ahead."

For the past week, reports have flown through the state's political circles that the term limits initiative was in danger of falling short of the number of valid signatures needed to put it on the February ballot.

That would have been a disaster for the Democrats, thanks to the arcane, but strict, rules that surround the initiative process in California.

By law, the term limits initiative needs the signatures of 694,354 registered voters to qualify for the ballot. But the law allows each county to do a random sample of the signatures for validity, checking either 3 percent or 500 of the signatures turned in, whichever is greater, and using that figure to estimate a county total.

The counties then turn their estimates in to the state, which tallies the results. If the statewide count is less than 95 percent of the 694,354 needed signatures, the initiative fails to make the ballot. If the count is more than 110 percent of the requirement, it automatically goes on the ballot.

The count was over the 110 percent mark by the 957 signatures.

But if the count falls between 95 percent and 110 percent, each county is required to do a full check of the signatures, checking each one to make sure it's valid.

"The full check can take as long as 30 working days to complete," said Winger, which could have delayed certification of the term limits initiative until mid-October, well past the Sept. 27 deadline for putting it on the Feb. 5 presidential primary ballot.

While the measure still would have made the June ballot, that wouldn't have helped legislators like Nez and Perata, who need the term limits initiative to pass in February to allow them to run again in June.

"It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know what Perata and Nez wanted the public officials to do," said Spillane, who said his group is considering legal action.

That threat doesn't concern the initiatives backers.

"We are glad that the initiative qualification process is complete and now we will move forward with our campaign," Kaufman said.

09-10-2007, 10:09 AM
I think what they are trying to do is decrease the time one can serve in the Assembly or Senate to 12 years, but allow all 12 years to be served in one house. They are selling it as an improvement in term limits (a potential decrease to 12 from 14 years), but are actually trying to avoid the scramble that goes on when jumping from the Assembly to Senate (of vice verse) when they get termed out of one house.

FYI, this specifically benefits two of everybody's favorites, Nunez (Assembly)and Perata (Senate), which are termed out, but could stay in their current seats if the measure passes. If the measure fails, they will have to run for a seat in the other house, which is almost assuredly held by another Democrat (sorry for the cuss word).

09-10-2007, 10:11 AM
The whole idea of term limits is bad. Keeping friends in power is a good thing.

We have many new gun laws in CA due to term limits. Noob politicos always have to have some hot new issue and then we have to try to 'educate' them in some form.

09-10-2007, 12:35 PM
The whole idea of term limits is bad. Keeping friends in power is a good thing.

term limits is basically an admission that democracy doesn't work, that voters are too stupid to vote the rascals out.

Now this might be true, but I want to see it in writing before anyone makes an argument for term limits, and if people are too stupid to vote, then term limits aren't going to have any effect on the more fundamental problems with the system.

Great moments in term limits: Paul Koretz spends years introducing microstamping legislation in Sacramento, is turfed out by term limits, and his hand-picked successor Mike Feuer finally introduces the same legislation that passes.

Some explain to me again what the point of all this is?