Term-Limits Advocates Fire Back at Critics

By Susan Jones | July 7, 2008 | 8:31 PM EDT

(CNSNews.com) - Advocates for term limits are dismissing a study that questions the effectiveness of restricting how long lawmakers may serve.

U.S. Term Limits, a group that is pushing states to adopt them, says it should surprise no one that a group representing state legislators would release a study questioning term limits for themselves.

"Career politicians across this country are doing everything possible to undermine term limits and stay in office," said Paul Jacob, president of U.S. Term Limits.

As Cybercast News Service reported on Wednesday, groups representing state lawmakers have just released a study saying that term limits at the state level have increased the number of inexperienced legislators and produced "polarized legislatures."

The study also found that term limits on state lawmakers have tipped the balance of power away from legislatures toward governor's offices.

But Jacob dismissed the study as a "load of opinion" from politicians, lobbyists, staffers, university professors - all of whom have "long supported the idea of career politicians," he said.

"The study is completely devoid of the most important fact: voters like their term limits laws better today, now that limits are in effect" than they did when term limits first passed.

U.S. Term Limits argues that term limits have made an important difference - bringing more women, more minorities and more citizen legislators into state legislatures.

"The rotation in office has created more competition for elective office and more choices for voters. Most importantly, term limits are the will of the people," Jacob said.

He noted that just last week, 70 percent of voters in Kansas City defeated attempts to roll back or end term limits in the city.

While lawmakers in some states (Florida, California) are making various moves to roll back or "gut" term limits, Oregon voters will consider re-imposing term limits in November.

In 1992, 70 percent of Oregon voters approved a constitutional amendment to phase in term limits for elected officials, but the Oregon Supreme Court struck down the amendment on a technicality.

See Earlier Story:
Study Examines the Downside of Term Limits (16 Aug. 2006)

Subscribe to the free CNSNews.com daily E-Brief.

Send a Letter to the Editor about this article.