The eight- (or twelve)-year itch

In case you thought the issue of term limits was settled, you might want to think again:

A term-limited state senator has filed legislation that would ask voters to repeal legislative term limits that prevent Oklahoma lawmakers from serving more than 12 years in office.

Sen. Mary Easley, D-Tulsa, said legislative term limits, passed in 1990 when voters approved State Question 632, have made special interests more powerful.

“How so?” you may ask.

Easley said she believes the 12-year limit has given more power to lobbyists and large corporations and has taken the voice away from the public. Easley said it takes a while to learn the legislative process. Inexperienced lawmakers might give more weight to lobbyists’ opinions than those legislators with more tenure.

Having studied (via textbook, anyway) the operations of Oklahoma government, I have to agree that it does take a while to learn the legislative process. And this is certainly true:

Voters exercise term limits every time they go to the polls, she said.

But even as Easley’s SJR 35 seeks to remove term limits, SJR 33 by Randy Brogdon (R-Owasso) seeks to extend them to other state offices:

Senate Joint Resolution 33 would put a two-term limit on the governor, lieutenant governor, state auditor, attorney general, state treasurer, labor commissioner, state superintendent, insurance commissioner and corporation commissioner.

And Brogdon isn’t buying Easley’s bit about lobbyists:

He believes term limits actually take power away from lobbyists and big corporations.

Brogdon said lawmakers who have served for decades get too familiar with lobbyists and then attempt to do things for their friends, rather than for the public good.

I’m waiting for someone to come up with a Senate Joint Resolution calling for term limits on lobbyists.





1 comment

  1. McGehee »

    6 November 2007 · 8:03 pm

    Brogdon said lawmakers who have served for decades get too familiar with lobbyists and then attempt to do things for their friends, rather than for the public good.

    Two words: Ted Stevens.

    Two more words: Robert Byrd.

    Does anybody honestly believe that some wet-behind-the-ears Senator newly elected in 2006 would be as much in thrall to lobbyists as these two?

RSS feed for comments on this post