Why Californians Who Care About the Environment Support Proposition 93
By Mark Murray
Californians Against Waste
On Tuesday, February 5th, you will have the chance to make an important decision about the future of California's environment.
Californians Against Waste has been helping California's environment for over thirty years now and we couldn't have been able to do this without help from the environmental leaders in the state legislature. Currently, California's legislative term limits are just about the tightest in the country, and remain a barrier to effective governing, which is why CAW supports Proposition 93. Prop 93 strikes a balance that would still stick legislators with tight term limits, but allow legislators more time in one house, greatly increasing continuity and institutional memory necessary to be effective leaders.
The flaw in our current system is that it keeps legislators from gaining enough experience to be effective and to oversee the implementation of often complex, important legislation, including environmental laws.
Additionally, the current system often requires some of our best legislative allies to run against each other when their Assembly terms expire--after just 6 years. Case in point, CAW Legislators-of-the-Year Lloyd Levine and Fran Pavley have carried several successful recycling bills each during their 6 years in the Assembly. Now they are forced to run against each other for the Senate seat of another termed out CAW legislator-of-the-year: State Senator Sheila Kuehl.
Currently, legislators can serve up to three two-year terms in the Assembly and two four-year terms in the Senate, for a total of 14 years. Prop 93 would reduce the total amount of time a legislator can serve in the Legislature to 12 years, but allow a legislator to serve all 12 years in the Assembly or the Senate. This limit gives legislators time to gain experience, but still maintains a healthy turnover rate to allow for new issues to be brought up. It also helps drastically reduce the political jockeying that dominates Sacramento and help stabilize our system by breaking the cycle of legislators constantly wanting to move up the political ladder.
The Yes on Proposition 93 campaign has produced a video featuring Assemblymember John Laird of Santa Cruz, discussing the impact reforming term limits will have on environmental issues in California. Watch the video.
Other environmental groups support Prop. 93, including the Sierra Club and the CA League of Conservation Voters.
Mark Murray is the Executive Director of the environmental group Californians Against Waste (CAW). He lobbies for CAW and is recognized as one of the environmental communities leading experts on waste prevention and recycling policies. CAW has been actively involved in the development, negotiation and passage of virtually every piece of waste reduction and recycling legislation enacted in California.