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Saturday, January 13, 2007

Ohio: Term-Limit Easing Move May Come

COLUMBUS (TDB) -- A move to ease the term-limits placed on Ohio lawmakers in 1992 by a statewide constitutional vote appears to be in the wind again this year. Many incumbents in the Ohio General Assembly detest being churned out of office. But efforts to stretch the years that legislators can hold power could generate a hurricane of anti-incumbent sentiment.

Check out what happened in Florida last year when lawmakers tried to ease the restrictions on how long they could hold office.

In the early 1990s, social conservatives and Republicans were allied when the term-limit movement caught fire as a way to push entrenched Statehouse Democrats out of power. Now the GOP holds the Statehouse and the party's ardor has cooled. Democrats were never enthusiastic. But many social conservatives are still committed to term limits, and some Democrats could join them in a movement to battle repeal. Why? There is a chance the Statehouse could turn blue in 2008 -- a presidential year with an unpopular President term-limited out of the White House. The Democrats could run strong in Ohio General Assembly contests and pick up seats that term-limited Republicans such as State Rep. Tom Brinkman of Cincinnati must vacate.

Today's Columbus Dispatch reports on the latest repeal move in Ohio.

Here's information about term limits across the nation from the National Conference of State Legislatures. And here's Ohio's law as it stands now:

"Ohio Constitution, Article 2, § 2
Election and term of legislators.

"Representatives shall be elected biennially by the electors of the respective house of representatives districts; their term of office shall commence on the first day of January next thereafter and continue two years.

"Senators shall be elected by the electors of the respective senate districts; their terms of office shall commence on the first day of January next after their election. All terms of senators which commence on the first day of January, 1969 shall be four years, and all terms which commence on the first day of January, 1971 shall be four years. Thereafter, except for the filling of vacancies for unexpired terms, senators shall be elected to and hold office for terms of four years.

"No person shall hold the office of State Senator for a period of longer than two successive terms of four years. No person shall hold the office of State Representative for a period longer than four successive terms of two years. Terms shall be considered successive unless separated by a period of four or more years. Only terms beginning on or after January 1, 1993 shall be considered in determining an individual's eligibility to hold office.

"(Adopted November 3, 1992.)
(As enacted Nov. 7, 1967. Former § 2 repealed, see SJR 24, 107th General Assembly.)"


  1. Thanks for this Bill - I will link to it tomorrow in a post - I'm totally for relaxing or abolishing term limits. They came into vogue when I was out of the country and I remember the first time I heard about them I thought someone was joking with me. Bad, bad idea - not without some connection to the end sought, but in implementation, bad bad idea.

    thanks again.

  2. Couldn't disagree more, Jill. We can nibble around the edges on the details, but the Founders never anticipated career legislators, and I believe we see the negative results in Washington of having them.

  3. I think I support term limits. I was for, then opposed, but now am in favor. I can remember the days when Vern Riffe and the lobbyists and insiders pretty much ran things from a bar across the street from the Statehouse. They were lifers. Dang, what was the name of that bar? Thought I'd never forget it. Eh bien.

    I also wonder if legislative pay should be trimmed, benefits and pensions cut or eliminated, and the number of days they can meet capped. Do everything in a 60-day or so session, then stay home for the rest of the year unless the governor calls a special, or the leaders. Several states operate that way.

  4. That seems manageable to me. But since I think they set two-year budgets. You could argue that they don't need to meet for 60 days once every two years.

    I'd be interested in which states operate that way and whether they are under or overachievers economically.