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State of California June 5, 2012 Election
Proposition 28
Limits on Legislators' Terms in Office
State of California

Initiative Constitutional Amendment - Majority Approval Required

Pass: 3,081,174 / 61.0% Yes votes ...... 1,967,888 / 39.0% No votes

See Also: Index of all Propositions

Results as of Jul 16 4:38am, 100.0% of Precincts Reporting (21993/21993)
Information shown below: Summary | Fiscal Impact | Yes/No Meaning | Official Information | Impartial Analysis | Arguments |
Summary Prepared by the State Attorney General:
  • Reduces the total amount of time a person may serve in the state legislature from 14 years to 12 years.
  • Allows a person to serve a total of 12 years either in the Assembly, the Senate, or a combination of both.
  • Applies only to legislators first elected after the measure is passed.
  • Provides that legislators elected before the measure is passed continue to be subject to existing term limits.

Fiscal Impact from the Legislative Analyst:
This measure would have no direct fiscal effect on state and local governments. By altering term limits for Members of the Legislature, however, it likely would change which individuals serve in the Assembly and the Senate at any given time. This different composition of the Assembly and the Senate might lead to different decisions being made than otherwise would be the case (for example, on legislation and the state budget). However, these decisions and any effect that they might have on state and local spending and revenues cannot be predicted.

Meaning of Voting Yes/No
A YES vote on this measure means:
Future Members of the State Legislature could serve a total of 12 years in office--without regard to whether the years were served in the State Assembly or the State Senate. Legislators first elected on or before June 5, 2012 would continue to be restricted by existing term limits.

A NO vote on this measure means:
Existing term limits for the Legislature would remain in place for current and future legislators. These limits allow a total of 14 years in office--including a maximum of six years in the State Assembly and eight years in the State Senate.

Official Sources of Information
Impartial Analysis from the Legislative Analyst


Existing Legislative Term Limits. Proposition 140, passed by the state's voters at the November 1990 election, changed the State Constitution to create term limits for Members of the California Legislature. The Legislature has two houses: the State Assembly and the State Senate. Currently, an individual's service generally is restricted to three two-year terms in the Assembly (a maximum of six years) and two four-year terms in the Senate(a maximum of eight years). This means that individuals generally cannot serve more than 14 years in the Legislature. An exception is when an individual serves additional time by finishing out less than one-half of the term of another person who left the Legislature (for example, due to resignation).


This measure, a state constitutional amendment, makes changes to legislative term limits. Senators and Assembly Members who were first elected to the Legislature on or before the date of this election (June 5, 2012) would continue to be subject to the current legislative term limits in the Constitution. Future legislators--that is, legislators first elected after the date of this election--would be subject to the new term limits.

Reduces Total Number of Years in the Legislature. This measure reduces to 12 years the total number of years that a future legislator may serve in the Legislature during his or her lifetime.

Increases Total Number of Years That Can Be Served in One House. This measure allows future legislators to serve in either house of the Legislature for up to 12 years. Accordingly, an individual could be elected to up to six two-year terms in the Assembly or up to three four-year terms in the Senate. This means that future legislators could serve for a longer period of time in a single house of the Legislature than is currently the case. Alternatively, an individual could be elected to serve in one house of the Legislature and then be elected to the other house, but his or her total service in the Legislature would be limited to no more than 12 years.

Arguments Submitted to the Secretary of State

Summary of Arguments FOR Proposition 28:
The status quo isn't working. After two decades, our term limits law needs fixing. Prop. 28 places a hard 12 year limit on legislators and closes the loophole that allows legislators to serve nearly 17 years. It's a simple reform that helps make legislators more accountable. Read it. Vote Yes.

Summary of Arguments AGAINST Proposition 28:
Proposition 28 is a scam by special interests to trick voters into weakening term limits. It actually lengthens--not reduces--terms for politicians in office. It doubles the time politicians can serve in the State Assembly. It increases by 50% the time politicians can serve in the State Senate.

See detailed Arguments and Rebuttals.

Contact FOR Proposition 28:
Doug Herman, Californians for a Fresh Start
790 E. Colorado Blvd., Suite 506
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 535-0710

Contact AGAINST Proposition 28:
Anita Anderson, Californians for Term Limits
1161 Rhode Island Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 309-0939

  What is Proposition 28?

Video Overview

Official Information

Secretary of State

Nonpartisan Information

League of Women Voters

Campaign Finance Data

Secretary of State

Maplight Voter Guide
  • On Prop 28 - See funding, endorsements, news, and editorials
News and Analysis

Public Radio

  • Forum - KQED San Francisco - A discussion with arguments for and against the proposition hosted by Michael Krasny (5/16/12, 24 min audio)
Google News Search
  • On Proposition 28 - Note: This link to an external resource is offered strictly as a convenience for users interested in coverage by outside news organizations. The content is provided by organizations unaffiliated with Smart Voter and its partners, and no endorsement of any views expressed or guarantee of its accuracy is intended or implied.
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