Bill overdue for legislators' term limits

There was a time back in the early 1990s when limiting the terms of state legislators seemed like a good idea.

At the time, term limits were aimed at much larger game than those elected officials who will be forced to go in 2010.

The idea was to prevent senators and representatives from using their position to stay in power long after their relevance was gone.

But there was a problem. States can't pass laws limiting the terms of senators and representatives. Their rules are established by the U.S. Constitution, and would require an amendment to solve.

So all the excitement over term limits was forgotten until now, when many long-term elected legislators face the end of the trail.

But the law doesn't just apply to those folks serving in the Legislature.

A majority of the Minden Town Board, for instance, will have to give up their seats in 2010. Long-term elected board members all over the state will bid farewell to their seats. The law exempts those members of the executive branch, such as the sheriff, clerk-treasurer and district attorney.

In some cases, this will be better for them than it will be for us.

In Douglas County, where you can't throw a rock without hitting a legislative board of some sort, that means trying to recruit new people to serve on boards barely able to maintain a quorum over the years.

Re-electing no one might sound like a good idea, but in practice it means losing valuable experience. It penalizes those who want to serve in a society where those folks are becoming rarer every day.

• This editorial appeared in The Record-Courier.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment