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California voters reject bid to ease term limits

SACRAMENTO, California (CNN) -- California voters are willing to spend more money to update voting machines and protect parks and beaches, but they are not prepared to give legislators a way to extend their stay in the state legislature beyond term limitations enacted in 1990.

Of six propositions on Tuesday's ballot, five passed. Only Proposition 45, which would allow voters to submit a petition to put an incumbent back on the ballot past the term limits, failed to muster enough support.

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Nearly 60 percent of the votes cast rejected Proposition 45, which would have limited the incumbent legislator to four years beyond the term limit. The 1990 law limits senators to two four-year terms and assembly members to three two-year terms.

Proposition 45, the only one of the six measures shepherded onto the ballot by petition instead of the legislature, was backed by many groups and organizations with business before the assembly. Proponents argued that the measure would have given more control to local voters.

But the voters did pass Proposition 40, a bond measure to raise $2.6 million to protect water sources, beaches, open space, wildlife habitats and parks. Nearly 60 percent of the voters approved the measure.

The voters also narrowly approved Proposition 41, a measure to use $200 million in bonds to update voting equipment. Opponents of both measures argued that the state had no use for further debt.

Californians also passed a hard-fought measure that will require all state gasoline taxes to be used for transportation projects, beginning in 2008. Proposition 42 passed by a better than two-to-one margin despite strong opposition from the California Teachers Association and the Service Employees International Union, who argued the measure would take money away from education and health care.

Proponents noted that current law requires the tax be spent on transportation projects from 2003 to 2008.

In a measure prompted by the election counting debacle of the 2000 presidential vote, voters in California overwhelmingly approved Proposition 43, guaranteeing that all ballots cast will be counted. The measure would allow county election officials to ask for and receive, from a court, an extension of vote-counting deadlines for additional time.

Opponents of the measure, which took 71 percent of the vote, argued that changes in campaign finance law would better fix the ills of the election process.

Proposition 44, also passed by the voter by a wide margin, put the same penalties on chiropractors as medical doctors for insurance fraud.




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