Term Limits Proposed For Kansas Legislators

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

A state senator wants voters to impose term limits on lawmakers in the statehouse.

While the youngest member of our state senate wants limits, a veteran political analyst says doing so could lead to bureaucrats running our local government.

"People understand that the president has term limits and the governor has term limits and they're okay with that," said Senator Jacob LaTurner.

He asks why do we not also have term limits on our state legislators.

"I think people are primarily focused on Congress having term limits,” LaTurner said. “But, I think, before that happens we're going to have to make our state an example."

That’s why he’s trying to get lawmakers in Topeka to pass term limits that would keep house and senate members from serving more than eight years. Though he’s willing to support another senator’s compromise amendment of 12 years.

"In politics they see corruption,” LaTurner said. “They see favoritism. They see a lack of transparency."

So what could possibly be wrong with term limits? Wichita State University Political Science Professor Ken Ciboski, PhD says limiting terms in limiting voters’ choices.

"California had it for awhile,” he said. “It's been a disaster. It's been a disaster, because you don't have people around with memory."

He says without seasoned policy makers, the bureaucrats can wind up running the government, because inexperienced lawmakers won’t be around long enough to exercise oversight.

"What's the best way to have term limits? You vote them out of office," Ciboski said.

The legislature will have to approve the change by a two-thirds vote. The governor would then sign it, and we would vote on it.

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