WYSO

Lawmaker Term Limit Extension Could Be Back On The Table

Jul 13, 2015

Talks about extending state lawmaker term limits could be gaining momentum.
Credit User: Thoth188 / Flickr/Creative Commons

Two proposals to extend term limits are expected to take the next steps toward the ballot next year.

The panel making recommendations for possible changes to the Ohio Constitution is expected to take up the two recommendations this fall that would lengthen lawmakers’ term limits from eight years to 12.

The issue has garnered major pushback from the federal group known simply as U.S. Term Limits, and the conservative-leaning American Policy Roundtable.

Fred Mills is a longtime Statehouse insider and chair of the committee that dealt with the issues. Mills says the opposition does make some valid points.

“But the fact of the matter is Ohio is only one of a few states…a dozen that have term limits and speaking only for myself I believe the better argument is to extend them,” Mills said.

Mills and supporters say extending term limits will keep more experience at the Statehouse.

Opponents say they want to keep politicians from becoming entrenched in elected offices. Rob Walgate with the Ohio Roundtable says Statehouse insiders and legislators might be calling for an extension to term limits but that’s not what average Ohioans around the state want. Walgate adds the issue would be a hard sell.

“I can’t wait to see that 30 second ad. Because I tell you what, the 30 second ad that would be in opposition will be a very simple one. It’s going to be a very tough sell,” Walgate said.

The two proposals both extend term limits to 12 years, but one includes current legislators and the other only applies to newly elected members.

The commission would have to have the proposals on the agenda for two meetings before they can officially vote it out. From there it becomes a resolution the General Assembly could move forward to the ballot.

Supporters agree they’d like to see the issue on next year’s ballot.