By Alden L. Benton
There is an old saying that goes, “Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.” With the California Primary Election scheduled for Tuesday, June 5, Californians need to think twice before they vote on Proposition 28.
Proposition 28 is a fraud.
Proposition 28 claims to further limit the terms of state legislators, lowering the total time served to 12 years. This is misleading.
Section 3 of Proposition 28 amends Section 2 of Article IV of the California Constitution. This section defines the composition, election, and term length of members of the state Senate and Assembly. State Senate terms are four years and Assembly terms are two years.
In 1990, the voters passed Proposition 140 which amended the state constitution to limit the length of legislative terms. The current state constitution limits a state Senator to no more than two terms (eight years), and an Assemblyman to no more than three terms (six years). Combined, a person could serve a total of 14 years in both the Senate and Assembly.
Proposition 28 eliminates those restrictions and replaces them with a 12-year limit on serving in either, or both, houses of the state legislature. If an individual chose to run for election in one house of the state legislature, he could continue to be re-elected to that house for up to 12 years.
Therein lays the fraud.
Under current law, an individual is restricted to eight years in the state Senate or six years in the Assembly. Proposition 28 allows 12 years of service in either house, lengthening the length of time that can be served in the Senate from eight to 12 years, and from six to 12 years in the Assembly.
In summary, Proposition 28 is a fraud. It reduces the total time an individual may serve in the state legislature from 14 to 12 years, but dramatically increases the number of years an individual can serve in one house.
Proposition 28 is, at best, cosmetic reform. At worst, Proposition 28 is a fraud that will allow special interests and public employee unions to elect and entrench sympathetic legislators in both houses of the state legislature for more than a decade to the detriment of the taxpayers and the future of the once golden state.
Vote NO on Proposition 28 on June 5.
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