Official Results
Yes votes:
3,961,466 [46.4%]
No votes:
4,574,826 [53.6%]

Overview

Proposition 93 would impose limits on legislators' terms in office. It would reduce the total amount of time a person may serve in the state legislature from 14 years to 12 years. It would allow a person to serve a total of 12 years either in the Assembly, the Senate, or a combination of both. It also provides a transition period to allow current members to serve a total of 12 consecutive years in the house in which they are currently serving, regardless of any prior service in another house.

Background

Term limits in the California Legislature are currently governed by the provisions of Proposition 140 (1990). For the full text of Proposition 140 see California Ballot Pamphlet, General Election, November 6, 1990.

Proposition 140 limits state senators to two four-year terms, and members of the Assembly to three two-year terms. Legislators who serve in both houses are limited to a maximum of 14 years total.

Proposition 93 would reduce the total amount of time a person may serve in the state legislature from 14 years to 12 years. It would eliminate the two-term limit for Senators, and the three-term limit for members of the Assembly. It would allow a person to serve a total of 12 years either in the Assembly, the Senate, or a combination of both.

Proposition 93 would also provide a transition period to allow current members to serve a total of 12 consecutive years in the house in which they are currently serving, regardless of any prior service in another house.

Arguments For and Against

Supporters of Proposition 93 claim that the elimination of the two-term limit for Senators and the three-term limit for members of the Assembly will give legislators more time and incentives to gain experience and to develop expertise, thereby improving the legislature's ability to perform its role in state government.

Opponents contend that the measure was written by incumbent legislators to benefit incumbents. They claim that by removing the two-term limit for Senators and the three-term limit for members of the Assembly, Proposition 93 would extend the total number of years in office for most incumbents.

Prominent supporters include Ex-Controller Steve Westley, who lost in last year's Democratic primary for governor. Opponents include Republican Insurance Commissioner Steve Poizner, and former Governor Pete Wilson.

Official Voter Information

Title and Summary

Analysis by Legislative Analyst's Office

Individual Campaign Committees. Committees formed to support or oppose the ballot measure.

Public Opinion

Vote trend running against Prop. 93 (Term Limits) and in favor of Props. 94-97 (Indian Gaming). Field Poll #2265, 2/04/08

Californians think that the state is on the wrong track: Proposition 93 - term limits - barely ahead.Los Angeles Times/CNN/Politico poll, Jan. 2008.

Baldassare, Mark. PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians & their Government. San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California, January 2008.

Voters closely divided on Prop. 93 (term limits) and Props. 94-97 (Indian gaming). Field Poll #2262, 1/24/08

Low voter awareness of propositions dealing with term limits and Indian gaming. Field Poll # 2256, 12/27/2007

Smaller majority now favoring Prop. 93, the term limits initiative. Voters in favor of approving four Indian gaming compacts. Field Poll # 2247, 10/31/2007

Baldassare, Mark. PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians & their Government. San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California, May 2007.

Schwarzenegger viewed more favorably. Voters approve of the early Presidential primary. While two in three still favor term limits, early support for an initiative to modify them. Field Poll # 2227, 4/6/2007

Baldassare, Mark. PPIC Statewide Survey: Californians & their Government. San Francisco: Public Policy Institute of California, March 2007.

Reports and Studies

Legislative Reform, Eric McGhee, Public Policy Institute of California, December 2007.

Termed Out: Reforming California's Legislative Term Limits, Sasha Horwitz, Center for Governmental Studies, October 2007.

Adapting to Term Limits: Recent Experiences and New Directions 
Bruce E. Cain and Thad Kousser, Public Policy Institute of California, 2004.

Ten Years Into Term Limits: Academic Findings and the View from the Legislature, UC Berkeley/Sacramento Program Conference, May 17, 2001. Panel 1: The Institutional Impact on Sacramento; Panel 2: Campaigns After Term Limits; Panel 3: Coping with Term Limits; Panel 4: The Changing Face of Representation and Policy.

Legislative Term Limits: A Select Bibliography, Compiled by Marc A. Levin and Bruce E. Cain, IGS Library, 1998.

Videos

Yes on Prop. 93. Youtube video channel

No on Prop. 93. Youtube video channel

Non-Partisan Commentary

The California Legislature: Is it Broken? 
Public Policy Institute of California Presentation -- Restoring Confidence in the Legislative Process, December 4, 2007 
Introduction : Deborah Reed, PPIC, Presentation: Eric McGhee, PPIC
May require external viewer