I really like Representative Jim Bolin’s legislative proposal to increase the number of years a legislator may serve consecutively. Currently an individual may serve 4 consecutive 2 year terms. Bolin’s proposal would allow legislators to serve up to 6 consecutive 2 year terms.
We have a very high rate of turnover in our state legislature without many of them ever reaching the point where term limits take effect. Then there are a few people who bounce from House to Senate and back to House when they reach the end of their allotted time.
An effective, experienced and respected legislator can be a great asset for a community. Eight years is a short time for legislators, especially when they are serving for only a few months a year. All legislators aren’t created equal, and a community shouldn’t have to part with someone representing them well in Pierre if the voters don’t want to rescind their support.
Term limits have made the executive branch more powerful in this state. It takes time for legislators to grow in stature and knowledge. We certainly have many legislators who are incredibly gifted, but their time in office is often cut short.
Bolin’s proposal is a great compromise for those in favor of term limits and those against.
Unrelated to Bolin’s bill: I regularly hear non-legislators suggest changing the state senate from 2 year terms to 4 year terms. There are many county commissioners and other individuals who refuse to run for an office that is only a two year term, and a change might insulate the legislature from such wild election swings.