The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, in concert with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor/AFL-CIO turned in more than one million signatures last week for a term limit reform ballot measure.
In order to qualify for the November 2010 ballot, 694,354 valid signatures are required. This initiative, if certified by county registrars this June and approved by voters this coming November, would fundamentally change the tone and temperament in Sacramento.
The term limit reform initiative we filed is simple and straightforward. Beginning in 2012, it reduces the time a politician can spend in the State Legislature from 14 to 12 years. Time can be served entirely in the Assembly, the Senate or a combination of the two. After 12-years of public service, a lawmaker is termed out of state Legislative office permanently. No exceptions! Equally important, this term limit change does not benefit any current or former lawmakers or anyone on the ballot this fall.
Voters passed the current 14-year term limit law in 1990 and it fundamentally changed Sacramento. The unintended consequence has been an electoral merry-go-round in which legislators are focused on winning the next office instead of developing the expertise and independence needed to tackle the State’s complex issues. An objective look at the political climate and lack of results in Sacramento shows that the current system is broken and not working.
The combination of business and organized labor joining together is notable. This partnership signifies that while the business and labor communities disagree on many issues, we agree that the current system of how Californians elect their state representatives needs to be fixed. With a $20-plus billion budget deficit, unemployment at 12.6 percent and countless other issues weighing down the world’s eighth largest economy, we need our elected officials to focus on solutions, not their next elected office.
Additionally, business and labor joined together because we know that the voters of California are skeptical when politicians themselves attempt to “reform” their terms in public office. Voters are also skeptical when an initiative is sponsored solely by business or solely by labor. Beginning next week, our partnership will be expanded to include a coalition of good-government groups and individuals throughout California who share our belief that the current system in Sacramento is broken and needs this change.
This new term limit initiative, coupled with the change in legislative redistricting passed by California voters in 2008 will give California a Fresh Start in Sacramento. Preventing legislators from drawing their own districts and imposing new term limits will give Californians a new set of legislators who will have the time to develop expertise and be accountable to the people who elect them.
Join our coalition today. California needs a fresh start and the Legislative Term Limit Reform Act of 2010 can play an important role in making that happen.