Proposition 28, the proposed revision to state legislature term limits, seems to be rolling along to an easy victory in the California Primary Election. If passed by the voters on Tuesday, it will change the landscape of legislative contests in a significant way. Beginning with the November 2012 election, individuals would be limited to a total of 12-years in legislative office, but will be allowed to serve their entire time in one house of the state legislature. Since term limits were instituted in 1992, Assembly members have been limited to three two-year terms and Senators are limited to two four-year terms.
According to a recent poll conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California: “Likely voters are more supportive of Proposition 28. Sixty-two percent say they will vote yes, 29 percent say they will vote no, and 9 percent don’t know. Support for this measure has slipped slightly since March (68% yes, 24% no, 8% undecided). Likely voters continue to have a positive view of the impact of term limits. Most (62%) say term limits are a good thing for California, 12 percent say they are a bad thing, and 21 percent say they make no difference.”
The change only applies to legislators first elected after the passage of the initiative. There are two Assembly districts in Orange County (69th and 72nd) with no sitting legislators running. No matter who is elected, the victor will be able to hold that particular seat for up to 12 years. No longer will there be an incentive for these new assemblymen or assemblywoman to move on to a senate seat in six years. They’ll be able to enjoy the benefit of incumbency through five additional election cycles.
This may help explain the flood of money pouring into the 69th Assembly contest from Jobs PAC and other anti-consumer rights organizations in support of Tom Daly and opposing social justice candidate Julio Perez. Voters in this contest are being barraged by tons of mail from independent expenditures and candidate campaigns. When all is done it is likely that the total expenditures in the primary will exceed $1 million.
For big business and labor organizations the candidates that emerge from the primary will set up a battle for the balance of power in the State Assembly for the next twelve years. Tom Daly has benefited the most form these expenditures. His supporters hope that if Daly can emerge in a strong position for the general election, then with Republican and DTS votes, a pro-business democrat can seize control of the only predominately Democratic seat in Orange County for the next twelve years.
So choose wisely Democrats. Not only is it important that you get out and vote, but that you make the right choice in the Assembly and Senate primary contests. Who you vote for, does matter. It matters for your future. Democrats and left leaning DTS voters have a stark choice between candidates. Consider who is backing the candidates when you make your choice. One of the strongest indicators of who best reflects your values is revealed by looking at who is financing their campaign.