Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Nothing to see here
Next up is Prop 93. Prop 93 is a naked power grab by some state legislators who aren't happy with their term limits but don't have the support to get rid of them. My summary:
The way things are: Folks can hold office for 8 years in the Senate and 6 years in the Assembly.
What happens if it passes: Folks can hold office for 12 years, regardless of house. This doesn't apply to current legislators, who can hold office for 12 years in their current house. In particular, folks who are termed out this year can get another term. So, let's note a couple facts in no particular order with no implication at all. Seriously.
The leaders of both houses are termed out this term.
Arnold Schwarzenegger said he would not support this proposition unless legislators also proposed redistricting reform. (He has since changed his mind)
The legislators were looking at redistricting reform before Prop 93 got on the ballot.
The legislators aren't looking at redistricting reform anymore.
Even if Prop 93 passed, it wouldn't have done termed-out legislators much good since it would pass in the state primary election in the summer where someone else would already be running for their job.
In a mysterious coincidence, this was the year that the legislature moved the presidential primary to be earlier than the state primary, which just happens to include Prop 93 and totally unrelatedly means that termed-out legislators will get to run again.
The proponents are running on the "we need these experienced legislators to stick around" platform, which means they don't really care that everyone sees it as a power grab. But since the bonus time only applies to current legislators, the argument is pretty much "we need these particular experienced legislators to stick around, not those in the future." This is further reinforced by the fact that they aren't trying to get rid of term limits, which seems like the obvious solution to the "not enough experience" problem.
I'm an opponent of term limits, largely on the "you get what you deserve" theory of corrupt governance. But I'm going to side with the term limit supporters and oppose this constitutional amendment because it doesn't do anything to get rid of term limits, it just gives a small set of folks a bonus term, and I don't much care for legislative handouts to specific individuals, even if I want those handouts available for everyone.
. . .
. . .