Report 401 | May 2018

In a Nutshell

  • Legislative term limits in Michigan have failed to achieve their proponents’ stated goals: Ridding government of career politicians, increasing diversity among elected officials, and making elections more competitive.
  • Term limits have made state legislators, especially House members, view their time as a stepping stone to another office. Term limits have failed to strengthen ties between legislators and their districts or sever cozy relationships with lobbyists. They have weakened the legislature in its relationship with the executive branch.
  • The chief problem rests not with term limits, but with the fact that among the 15 states with term limits, Michigan has the shortest and strictest limits. Lengthening time in office would help, as would improving the redistricting process and reforming the primary election system.

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1 Comment

    • I served as State Representative, 54th District, when Term Limits first was approved. I enjoyed serving in the House, but understood that I could be re-elected, possibly to two more terms and then leave the Legislature. It was a wonderful experience and what made our assimilation a bit easier was that there were some House Members who had the opportunity to have some prior service in the House, or were previously in the Senate. We were fortunate that they were there to help us new Members to become well oriented.

      I did serve 3 terms and then returned to local Government, but it was easy to see in my last term that the knowledge of prior Representatives, who were already there before term limits was approved, had a better understanding of our State Governing processes. I sincerely believe that Term Limits is not an appropriate manner of our governing process here in Michigan. People should be allowed to serve in the House of Representatives and/or Senate as long as their constituents want them to be there. In my 3 terms, I felt I was treated well by all of my colleagues. I have always remembered a comment from a conversation with Gary Owen about Term Limits. I continue to remember his comment ‘ …. We always made efforts to help all members, to take care of their District’. When I left the House of Representatives, that wasn’t the case, as many of the Members were looking to their next step in our Michigan governing processes. Thank you for the opportunity to share my thoughts … it was truly a wonderful experience.

      Ruth Ann Jamnick
      June 21, 2018, @ 11:10 pm Reply

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