Delivered by Chuck Stokes, Editorial Director
A bipartisan proposal to reform Michigan’s current term limit law is a significant step in the right direction. The bill has been introduced in the State House by Representative Ted Bledsoe. His measure is co-sponsored by 28 other freshmen legislators, Republicans and Democrats. It didn’t take this group long to figure out that rigid term limits have had a chilling effect on the legislative process in Lansing. Lawmakers barely know or trust one another and are fearful to make tough decisions during their short stay in office. This leads to gridlock
In 1992, Michiganders voted to limit legislators to three two-year terms in the House and two four-year terms in the Senate. The latest proposal would continue to cap lawmakers to a total of 14 years in the Legislature but give them a choice. They could split their service between the House and the Senate or spend all of their years in one chamber. That could give lawmakers the experience and trustful relationships they need to deal with complex legislative issues. If approved for the ballot, this constitutional amendment could go to the voters next year.
In theory, we believe the best form of term limitation is deciding with your vote if an officeholder should be reelected. However, Michigan’s current term limit law is too popular with the people to be completely tossed out. The freshman reform bill is a sensible compromise to offer the voters. Let’s strengthen our state and legislature for the challenges facing Michigan’s future.
Broadcast: December 14 - 15, 2009
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