Ten years ago the partisan bickering in the California Legislature got so out of control that the legislators couldn’t even pass a state budget. The gridlock closed the government down forcing the state to give IOUs to its workers and companies it did business with.
Today, it’s a new ball game in California. After witnessing their Legislature in chaos, the good people of our nation’s most populous state took matters into their own hands. Using California’s initiative process, citizens placed term limits on the ballot.
Former Speaker Willie Brown raised 5 million dollars from big lobbyists and special interests to run TV ads against the measure, but the voters weren’t fooled. They passed term limits, sending career politicians of both parties packing. The change has been hard to miss term limits have worked wonders.
People from all walks of life are coming to serve in the Legislature, while years ago most who ran were career politicians and staffers. Women and minorities have gained positions of influence previously denied them. Budgets pass on time and the vicious partisan infighting is gone. Now that’s a brand new day for California as it is for 17 other states with limits on their legislators.
Sure, politicians, lobbyists and special interests don’t like it, because they’ve lost power. But the people support term limits even more now than a decade ago.
Shelly Bebitch Jeffe recently said: “One interesting result of term limits has been a Legislature that looks more like California, both demographically and ideologically.” In other words, term limits have given the people of California a legislature that not only looks more like them, it thinks more like them, too.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.