Tuesday, February 27, 2007

News-Leader editorial: Term limits need to be changed

An editorial in today's Springfield News-Leader supports Rep. Gayle Kingery's House Joint Resolution which would amend term limits to allow a legislator to spend 16 years in either the House or Senate rather than eight years in each, which is allowed under the term limit law put into place by Missouri voters.
Kingery, a Poplar Bluff Republican, quite correctly points out that term limits places too much power in the hands of lobbyists who have been there forever and know the inner workings of the legislature, and the governor:

If we had our druthers — and (Rep. B. J.) Marsh, R-Springfield, agrees with us — we would get rid of term limits entirely. That's what we argued for last fall as university leaders explained to us the difficulty of having to re-educate the General Assembly every couple of years.
But Kingery is right that his bill is more palatable to the substantial number of voters who still believe in term limits. At the very least, it's a step in the right direction and should be passed by the House and Senate.

I wrote columns blasting the idea of term limits when it was first brought before Missouri voters and I have seen nothing since the law was passed to make me change my mind. The whole idea is that voters are too stupid to turn out bad legislators so an artificial law will do it for them.
I doubt if this resolution will go anywhere, but our legislators have had no qualms in the past about overriding the will of the voters. For instance, voters rejected a measure to allow Missourians to carry concealed weapons, but the General Assembly went right ahead and did it anyway.

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