California Proposition 225, Ballot Line Indicating Position on Term Limits (1998)
Proposition 225's two main provisions were:
- It required California's legislators (those in the California State Assembly and the California State Senate, as well as California's representatives in the U.S. Congress) to use their powers to pass an amendment to the United States Constitution limiting U.S. Senators to two 6-year terms (12 years) and House of Representatives members to three 2-year terms (6 years).
- It required that all candidates for federal or state legislative office who do not support term limits be identified on the ballot, when they ran for office, as non-supporters.
Supporters of Proposition 225 spent $401,718. The top contributors to pass the measure were:
- U.S. Term Limits: $317,498
- Coalition for a Citizens Legislature: $35,000
- Americans for Limited Terms: $10,000
- Term Limits Leadership Council: $10,000
No contributions to oppose the measure were reported to the California Secretary of State.
Text of measure
The ballot title was:
The official ballot summary for Proposition 225 was:
- Declares that the official position of the People of the State of California is that its elected officials should vote to help enact an amendment to the U.S. Constitution limiting congressional terms.
- The proposed constitutional amendment would limit U.S. Senators to two terms and House of Representatives members to three terms.
- Requires the California Legislature and state and federal legislators from California to use their powers to pass the amendment.
- All candidates for federal or state legislative office who do not provide required support must be identified as non-supporters on ballot.
The California Legislative Analyst's Office provided an estimate of net state and local government fiscal impact for Proposition 225. That estimate was:
- "Relatively minor costs to Secretary of State to review voting records of state and federal legislators and to make certain determinations regarding ballot statements, and to counties to add certain statements to the ballot."
- The Congress of the United States consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives. California's delegation to Congress consists of two senators and 52 representatives. Senators are elected for a term of six years and representatives are elected for a term of two years. The United States Constitution sets the general qualifications and duties of Members of Congress.
- Federal law does not limit the number of terms a person may be elected to serve as a senator or representative in Congress. In 1992, California voters adopted Proposition 164, which established term limits for California's senators and representatives in Congress. However, Proposition 164 is not likely to go into effect. This is because the United States Supreme Court ruled, in a case involving similar limits established by other states, that the qualifications of office for federal elective officials may be changed only by amendment to the United States Constitution.
- Congress can propose amendments to the United States Constitution with the approval of two-thirds of the Members of both Houses. All amendments must ultimately be ratified by three-fourths of the states before they can become part of the United States Constitution.