The following is a transcript of a story that originally aired on The California Report.
Host, Paul Lancour: Proposition 28 on the June 5th primary ballot would modify California’s legislative term limits. At last poll, more than 60 percent of likely voters – from both sides of the aisle – said they were likely to vote for it. Roughly 30 percent of those the Public Policy Institute of California surveyed oppose the measure. The California Report’s Rachael Myrow spoke with John Myers, political editor at KXTV in Sacramento and former KQED Sacramento Bureau Chief about the proposition and what it would do.
John Myers: What Prop. 28 would do is, it would modify the existing term limits law for members of the state Legislature. Now we’ll remember that term limits were put in place by voters back in 1990. They limit a lawmaker to no more than six years in the State Assembly and no more than eight years in the State Senate. That could be 14 years if they could serve in both Houses but it would limit them to those amounts and it has for 20 years.
Prop. 28 would change that, it would allow a lawmaker to serve 12 years instead of those limits, but all in one House. So the backers of Prop. 28 say, “Well look it, this is a reduction in time in office for a lot of people from 14 years to 12 and they say you can also serve it in one House and therefore have a little bit more experience, a little bit more seniority to understand how the state works.’”
And opponents of Prop. 28 say this whole idea of just making it a more efficient government is really just another way of kind of hiding the fact that this would let people be in office for longer. And this really does, I think, come down to the question of incumbency and for voters, what do they think the value of incumbency is. Is there a value to being in office longer, learning the job or do they want people to serve less time and go back home and do whatever they do? That’s really the question they have to figure out on Prop. 28.