California Term Limits, Proposition 140 (1990)
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
- See also: State legislatures with term limits
Challenged in court
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 Prop. 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. In Wilken's ruling, she agrees with the view of the plaintiffs that the voters were unaware that they were imposin 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.
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.
Proposition 140 added or altered nine different sections in six different articles of the California Constitution:
- It added Section 1.5 to Article IV.
- It amended Section 2 of Article IV.
- It added Section 4.5 to Article IV.
- It added Section 7.5 to Article IV.
- It amended Section 11 of Article V.
- It amended Section 2 of Article IX.
- It amended Section 17 of Article XIII.
- It added Section 7 to Article XX.
- It added Section 11(d) to Article VII.
- California Proposition 93 (2008)
- California Proposition 45 (2002)
- Term limits, California
- Term limits in the United States
- U.S. Term Limits
- Prop 45: turning California term limits - Case Study Campaigns & Elections, June, 2002
- 1990 California ballot measure votes
- Court voids California term limits Washington Post, October 8, 1997
- Text of Bates v. Jones