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Citizen Legislators or Political Musical Chairs: Term Limits in California


Publication Date: July 2011

Publisher: Center for Governmental Studies (Los Angeles, Calif.)

Author(s): Ava Alexandar

Research Area: Political Reform

Keywords: state legislature; politics; political reform

Type: Report

Coverage: California

Abstract:

Based on two decades of state data, Citizen Legislators or Political Musical Chairs: Term Limits in California concludes that the goal of California term limit reformers—to create a “citizens legislature” of ordinary Californians, who would come to the state capitol, serve for limited terms and then return to the private sector—has failed. The state instead has witnessed an enhanced form of political musical chairs, in which termed out state legislators simply take their accumulated expertise and move to other state or local political offices -- but not in the California legislature.