Senate Panel Kills Proposal for Term Limits on Legislators

An attempt to set term limits for state legislators has been soundly defeated in the Senate Judicary Committee.
The proposal by Republican Sen. Mike Faulk of Kingsport, SJR008, would have begun the process of amending the state constitution to restrict state representatives to four two-year terms and state senators to two four year terms, or eight years total for each.
Faulk contended that term limits would help legislators vote on the basis of principles, rather than popularity. It would also “encourage turnover and a fresh set of ideas,” he said. He noted that eight years is the same term limit now in place for governors and the United States president.
But other senators spoke against the idea of term limits.
Sen. Doug Overbey, R-Maryville, said term limits would tend to lead to a professional legislative staff that would “run the Legislature” rather than elected representatives.
Sen. Mike Bell, R-Riceville, said elections already provide term limits. About 60 of 99 state representatives and 13 of current state senators have served less than six years, he said, indicating term limits are unneeded in Tennessee.
“I don’t know what problem we’re trying to fix,” he said.
Sen. Stacey Campfield, R-Knoxville, at one point offered an amendment to set the term limits at a total of 12 years, three terms for senators and six for representatives The amendment failed.
On the bill itself, only Campfield voted yes while seven senators voted no. Sen. Brian Kelsey, R-Germantown, who had seconded Campfield’s motion for passage, did not vote.
UPDATE: A similar term limits bill, HJR62 by Rep. Mark Pody, R-Lebanon, failed on a voice vote later in the day in the House State and Local Government Subcommittee.

4 thoughts on “Senate Panel Kills Proposal for Term Limits on Legislators

  1. Wintermute

    More self-serving behavior by people who simply don’t want to give up their power and prerogatives and don’t trust their successors in office to run the show. I’ve seen more undue influence exercised on long-time incumbents by their own staff lobbying for more money and benefits than I fear from newer representatives. Tell that glib Bell person to stop using his mail allowance to tell his voters how great he is at TN taxpayer expense, to make his term-limit elections fairer.

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