Proposition 28: Limits on Legislators’ Terms in Office

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Measure ID: 

Proposition 28

Type of Ballot Measure: 

Initiative Constitutional Amendment


June 5, 2012

The Question

Should the California Constitution be amended to reduce the total number of years that an individual may serve in the Legislature from 14 to 12 years, and to increase the number of years an individual may serve in the State Assembly or State Senate?

The Situation

In 1990, the voters passed Proposition 140, which amended the Constitution to create term limits for members of the State Senate and State Assembly. An individual is limited to three 2‐year terms in the Assembly and two 4‐year terms in the Senate. An individual elected to both houses could therefore serve for a total of 14 years.

The Proposal

Prop 28 would allow future legislators to serve for a total of 12 years in either or both houses of the Legislature. An individual could serve up to six 2‐year terms in the Assembly or three 4‐year terms in the Senate or a combination of terms in both houses totaling 12 years. Unlike a similar 2008 proposition which was defeated at the polls, Prop 28 would not apply to sitting members of the Senate or Assembly, but would apply only to members of the Senate or Assembly first elected after this June 5, 2012 election.

Fiscal Effect

There would be no direct fiscal impacts on state and local government.

Supporters Say


  • The Legislature is still filled with career politicians more focused on campaigning for their next office than doing their jobs.
  • By removing the incentive to change offices to complete their lifetime officeholder limit, legislators will be more likely to learn their jobs, get things done, and be more accountable to their constituents.


Opponents Say


  • Prop 28 actually weakens term limits for state legislators by lengthening the amount of time politicians can serve in one of the two houses.
  • Members of the Assembly would be able to serve for 12 years, instead of the current 6 years, and members of the Senate would be able to serve for 12 years, instead of the current 8 years.