Yes on Proposition 93

Susan Smartt is the executive director of the California League of Conservation Voters.

The California League of Conservation Voters protects our state’s environment by educating our legislators about how to protect, preserve and enhance California’s natural wonders. California has benefited from CLCV’s commitment to ensure that the environment is a priority among lawmakers. Many legislators have fought hard to address important needs like global warming, water conservation and air quality.

However, the current system of legislative term limits acts as a high barrier to effective governing. That is why CLCV supports Proposition 93, the Term Limits and Legislative Reform Act.

Right now, state legislators can serve three terms of two years each in the Assembly and two terms of four years each in the Senate, for a total of 14 years. This discourages long-term thinking to tackle California’s biggest environmental challenges, like the implementation of Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act.

The flaw in the current system of term limits is that it keeps legislators from gaining enough experience to be truly effective. It also hinders proper oversight of the implementation of complex, important legislation. We can clearly do better with a reformed system of term limits.

Proposition 93 is a modest, balanced reform that sticks to the core principles of term limits. It provides a clear time horizon for legislators to gain the experience they need to be effective and maintains a healthy turnover.

That turnover keeps ideas fresh and allows California to maintain its reputation as an innovator on environmental-conservation issues.

Proposition 93 would reduce the total amount of time a legislator can serve in the Legislature from 14 years to 12 years, and allow a legislator to serve all 12 years in the Assembly, Senate or a combination of the two. The 12-year limit in Proposition 93 would allow a legislator the time to gain experience to be effective and provide reliable oversight.

Also, by allowing legislators to serve their entire tenure in either the Assembly or Senate, Proposition 93 would drastically reduce the amount of political jockeying that dominates Sacramento, as legislators would not be consumed with moving up the political ladder. Overall, that will make our system far more stable and effective.

Proposition 93 is right for California and right for our environment.