1990, the proponents of Prop. 140 (Term Limits) viewed
legislators as entrenched officials, serving their own interests and striving
to stay in the legislature for decades. They dreamed of a state capitol filled
with "citizen legislators," who would enter office with fresh ideas, beholden
to no one, and then, after a few years in the legislature, return to the
private sector.  That dream has
not been realized.

latest CGS report found that, in 2010, the majority of state legislators remained
in government after being termed out-obtaining new offices at the federal,
statewide or local levels. In fact, about the same percentage of politicians
remain in government today after being termed-out as did their predecessors in
the 1980s, long before the term limit "reforms" went into effect in
the mid-1990s.

result is a continuous cycle of "political musical chairs," which has diminished
the legislature’s policy expertise. Our report, Citizen
Legislators or Political Musical Chairs: Term Limits in California
shows that the mass exodus of experienced legislators,
coupled with a simultaneous influx of inexperienced new legislators, has caused
a dearth of true leadership in the legislature, the ceding of power to the
executive branch and, perhaps most importantly, greater reliance on staff and
lobbyists to fill the "knowledge gaps."

California legislators seek other government positions even before they are
termed out — in anticipation of the lifetime ban against further service in
the state legislature.

California’s experiment with term limits has fallen short of predictions. Our
research suggests the law must be modified for it to serve the needs of our
complex state government.

and business groups have qualified an initiative for the next statewide ballot,
probably in June 2012, that would accomplish many of the changes that we
recommend. It would allow legislators to serve 12 years in either the Assembly or
Senate, but unlike a 2008 measure that was turned down by voters, it would not
allow current members to extend their terms in office. In addition, CGS recommends
eliminating the lifetime ban on termed out legislators and allowing them to run
again for state legislative office after some reasonable period of time has
elapsed, such as four years.

shouldn’t have a stranglehold on elected offices, but neither should
Californians suffer constantly the fits and starts of a legislature that lacks