Difference between revisions of "California Term Limits, Proposition 140 (1990)"

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{{Term limits}}{{TOCnestright}}'''California Proposition 140''', or the '''Limits on Terms of Office, Legislators' Retirement, Legislative Operating Costs Amendment''', was on the [[California]] general election ballot in [[California 1990 ballot propositions#November 6|November 6, 1990 ballot]] in [[California]].  It was an {{icafull}} that was '''approved.'''
 
{{Term limits}}{{TOCnestright}}'''California Proposition 140''', or the '''Limits on Terms of Office, Legislators' Retirement, Legislative Operating Costs Amendment''', was on the [[California]] general election ballot in [[California 1990 ballot propositions#November 6|November 6, 1990 ballot]] in [[California]].  It was an {{icafull}} that was '''approved.'''
  
Proposition 140 limits the number of terms that California state senators and representatives can stay in office.  Members of the [[California State Assembly]] are limited to three two-year terms and members of the [[California State Senate]] to two four-year terms.  It also imposes a lifelong ban against seeking the same office once the limits have been reached
+
Proposition 140 limited the number of terms that California state senators and representatives can stay in office.  Members of the [[California State Assembly]] were limited by its provisions to three two-year terms and members of the [[California State Senate]] to two four-year terms.  It also imposed a lifelong ban against seeking the same office once the limits were reached.
 +
 
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Proposition 140 also:
 +
 
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* Stopped the practice of [[California State Legislature|state legislators]] earning state retirement benefits from their service in the state legislature.
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* Limited the total amount of the [[California State Legislature]]'s expenditures on staff salaries and operating expenses.
  
 
Proposition 140 was on the same ballot as [[California Proposition 131 (1990)|Proposition 131]], which was supported by [[Ralph Nader]].  The two initiatives both had a [[term limits]] component and were seen as competing with each other.
 
Proposition 140 was on the same ballot as [[California Proposition 131 (1990)|Proposition 131]], which was supported by [[Ralph Nader]].  The two initiatives both had a [[term limits]] component and were seen as competing with each other.
  
Although it was outspent by a margin of more than 31-to-1, Proposition 140 passed with 52.17% of the vote.<ref>[http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/sov/1990-general/1990-general-sov.pdf ''November 6, 1990 California general election Statement of Vote'']</ref>,<ref>[http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2519/is_5_23/ai_88108603 ''Prop 45: turning California term limits - Case Study''] Campaigns & Elections,  June, 2002</ref>
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Although it was outspent by a margin of more than 31-to-1, Proposition 140 passed with 52.17% of the vote.<ref>[http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/sov/1990-general/1990-general-sov.pdf ''November 6, 1990 California general election Statement of Vote'']</ref><ref>[http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m2519/is_5_23/ai_88108603 ''Prop 45: turning California term limits - Case Study''] Campaigns & Elections,  June, 2002</ref>
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On the {{jun05ca2012}}, California voters approved [[California Proposition 28, Change in Term Limits (June 2012)|Proposition 28]]. It enacted several key changes to California's term limits for [[California State Legislature|state legislators]].
  
 
:: ''See also: [[State legislatures with term limits]]''
 
:: ''See also: [[State legislatures with term limits]]''
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* It added [[Article VII, California Constitution#Section 11|Section 11(d) to Article VII]].
 
* It added [[Article VII, California Constitution#Section 11|Section 11(d) to Article VII]].
  
==Ballot language==
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==Text of measure==
  
 
===Title===
 
===Title===
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===Fiscal impact===
 
===Fiscal impact===
[[File:Proposition 140 (1990).PNG|thumb|600px|Ballot title as it appeared in [http://library.uchastings.edu/ballot_pdf/1990g.pdf 1990's official, mailed voter guide]]]
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[[File:Proposition 140 (1990).PNG|thumb|600px|Ballot title as it appeared in [http://librarysource.uchastings.edu/ballot_pdf/1990g.pdf 1990's official, mailed voter guide]]]
 
:: ''See also: [[Fiscal impact statement]]''
 
:: ''See also: [[Fiscal impact statement]]''
  
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Supporters of Proposition 140 made these arguments in its favor in the state's [[California Voter Guide (official)|official voter guide]]:
 
Supporters of Proposition 140 made these arguments in its favor in the state's [[California Voter Guide (official)|official voter guide]]:
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* "It will reform a political systems that has created a legislature of career politicians...a system that has given a tiny elite almost limitless power over the lives of California's taxpayers and consumers."
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* It will "save taxpayers $60 million" in its first year alone by reducing the amount that state legislators are allowed to spend on their office expenses.
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* It will "end extravagant pensions for legislators...the legislative pension system often pays more than the legislator received while in office."
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* It will create more competitive elections.
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* It will "remove the grip that vested interests have over the legislature."
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* It will "put an end to the Sacramento web of special favors and patronage."
  
 
==Opposition==
 
==Opposition==
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The arguments presented in the [[California Voter Guide (official)|official voter guide]] opposing Proposition 140 were:
 
The arguments presented in the [[California Voter Guide (official)|official voter guide]] opposing Proposition 140 were:
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* It "limits our voting rights."
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* It "takes away the cherished constitutional right to freely cast a ballot for candidates of our choice."
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* The lifetime ban in it is not good public policy.
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* It is unfair because it treats all elected officials the same, regardless of their level of competence or the causes they are fighting for.
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* The changes it proposes to the pension system for state legislators hurts regular people who want to run for state legislature, not wealthy people who don't have to worry about their retirement.
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* It forces "our representatives to become even more dependent on entrenched bureaucrats and shrewd lobbyists."
  
 
==''Bates v. Jones''==
 
==''Bates v. Jones''==
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{{submit a link}}
 
{{submit a link}}
 
* [http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/init_history.pdf History of California initiatives]
 
* [http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/init_history.pdf History of California initiatives]
* [http://library.uchastings.edu/ballot_pdf/1990g.pdf PDF of the November 6, 1990 ballot proposition voter guide] (Propositions 124-140)
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* [http://librarysource.uchastings.edu/ballot_pdf/1990g.pdf PDF of the November 6, 1990 ballot proposition voter guide] (Propositions 124-140)
  
==Additional reading==
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'''Additional reading:'''
  
* [http://www.mercurynews.com/politics-government/ci_15649835?nclick_check=1 Many backers of strict term limits now regret it, saying they only made things worse], August 2, 2010
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* [http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa490.pdf "Defining Democracy Down"], Patrick Basham for the Cato Institute, September 20, 2003
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* [http://www.mercurynews.com/politics-government/ci_15649835?nclick_check=1 ''Mercury News'', "Many backers of strict term limits now regret it, saying they only made things worse," August 2, 2010]
  
 
==References==
 
==References==

Latest revision as of 07:25, 18 March 2014

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California Proposition 140, or the Limits on Terms of Office, Legislators' Retirement, Legislative Operating Costs Amendment, was on the California general election ballot in November 6, 1990 ballot in California. It was an initiated constitutional amendment that was approved.

Proposition 140 limited the number of terms that California state senators and representatives can stay in office. Members of the California State Assembly were limited by its provisions to three two-year terms and members of the California State Senate to two four-year terms. It also imposed a lifelong ban against seeking the same office once the limits were reached.

Proposition 140 also:

  • Stopped the practice of state legislators earning state retirement benefits from their service in the state legislature.
  • Limited the total amount of the California State Legislature's expenditures on staff salaries and operating expenses.

Proposition 140 was on the same ballot as Proposition 131, which was supported by Ralph Nader. The two initiatives both had a term limits component and were seen as competing with each other.

Although it was outspent by a margin of more than 31-to-1, Proposition 140 passed with 52.17% of the vote.[1][2]

On the June 5, 2012 ballot, California voters approved Proposition 28. It enacted several key changes to California's term limits for state legislators.

See also: State legislatures with term limits

Election results

Proposition 140
ResultVotesPercentage
Approveda Yes 3,744,447 52.17%
No3,432,66647.83%

Constitutional changes

California Constitution
Articles
IIIIIIIVVVIVIIVIIIIXXXAXBXIXIIXIIIXIII AXIII BXIII CXIII DXIVXVXVIXVIIIXIXXIX AXIX BXIX CXXXXIXXIIXXXIVXXXV

Proposition 140 added or altered nine different sections in six different articles of the California Constitution:

Text of measure

Title

The ballot title was:

Limits on Terms of Office, Legislators' Retirement, Legislative Operating Costs. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.

Summary

The official summary said:

  • Persons elected or appointed after November 5, 1990, holding offices of Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, Controller, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Board of Equalization members, and State Senators, limited to two terms; members of the Assembly limited to three terms.
  • Requires legislators elected or serving after November 1, 1990, to participate in federal Social Security program; precludes accrual of other pension and retirement benefits resulting from legislative service, except vested rights.
  • Limits expenditures of Legislature for compensation and operating costs and equipment, to specified amount.

Fiscal impact

Ballot title as it appeared in 1990's official, mailed voter guide
See also: Fiscal impact statement

The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:

  • The limitation on terms will have no fiscal effect.
  • The restrictions on the legislative retirement benefits would reduce state costs by approximately $750,000 a year.
  • To the extent that future legislators do not participate in the federal Social Security system, there would be unknown future savings to the state.
  • Legislative expenditures in 1991-92 would be reduced by about 38 percent, or $70 million.
  • In subsequent years, the measure would limit growth in these expenditures to the changes in the state's appropriations limit.

Support

Excerpt of arguments in favor of Proposition 140 in the official voter guide

Supporters

The official voter guide arguments in favor of Proposition 140 were signed by:

  • Peter F. Schabarum
  • Lewis K. Uhler of the National Tax Limitation Committee
  • J.G. Ford, Jr.
  • W. Bruce Lee, II of the California Business League
  • Lee A. Phelps of the Alliance of California Taxpayers
  • Art Pagdan, MD, of the National 1st VP, Filipino-American Political Association

Arguments in favor

Supporters of Proposition 140 made these arguments in its favor in the state's official voter guide:

  • "It will reform a political systems that has created a legislature of career politicians...a system that has given a tiny elite almost limitless power over the lives of California's taxpayers and consumers."
  • It will "save taxpayers $60 million" in its first year alone by reducing the amount that state legislators are allowed to spend on their office expenses.
  • It will "end extravagant pensions for legislators...the legislative pension system often pays more than the legislator received while in office."
  • It will create more competitive elections.
  • It will "remove the grip that vested interests have over the legislature."
  • It will "put an end to the Sacramento web of special favors and patronage."

Opposition

Excerpt of arguments against Proposition 140 in the official voter guide

Opponents

The official voter guide arguments opposing Proposition 140 were signed by:

  • Dr. Regene L. Mitchell, president, Consumer Federation of California
  • Lucy Blake, executive director, California League of Conservation Voters
  • Dan Terry, president, California Professional Firefighters
  • Ed Foglia, president, California Teachers Association
  • Linda M. Tangren, state chair, California National Women's Political Caucus

Arguments against

The arguments presented in the official voter guide opposing Proposition 140 were:

  • It "limits our voting rights."
  • It "takes away the cherished constitutional right to freely cast a ballot for candidates of our choice."
  • The lifetime ban in it is not good public policy.
  • It is unfair because it treats all elected officials the same, regardless of their level of competence or the causes they are fighting for.
  • The changes it proposes to the pension system for state legislators hurts regular people who want to run for state legislature, not wealthy people who don't have to worry about their retirement.
  • It forces "our representatives to become even more dependent on entrenched bureaucrats and shrewd lobbyists."

Bates v. Jones

In the case of Bates v. Jones, former California Assemblyman Tom Bates and several of his constituents filed a lawsuit in the United States District Court for the Northern District of California seeking to have the court determine that the lifetime term limits in Proposition 140 violated their federal constitutional rights.

District Court Judge Claudia Wilken upheld the claim of Bates and enjoined California Secretary of State Bill Jones from enforcing the provisions of Proposition 140.[3] In Wilken's ruling, she agrees with the view of the plaintiffs that the voters were unaware that they were imposing a lifetime ban once the limits had been reached.

The National Tax Limitation Committee and Bill Jones appealed this decision to the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. At the Ninth Circuit, a three-judge panel heard the appeal. Two of them upheld Wilken's ruling. At that time, a majority of the active judges of the Ninth Circuit vote to rehear the case. When the case was re-heard before the full circuit, Wilken's earlier verdict was overturned and the law went into effect.[4]

See also

External links

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Additional reading:

References