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Term limits measure approved by the Senate

Coming to your ballot this fall, barring anything strange.

Still no limits on corndogs

State­wide elected officials would be limited to two consecutive terms under a proposed constitutional amendment approved 27-4 by the Texas Senate on Tuesday.

Gov. Rick Perry, Texas’ longest serving governor, and other current officeholders would be “grandfathered” and allowed to seek two more terms if the limits were enacted.

Senate Joint Resolution 13 by Sen. Kevin Eltife would require Texas House approval by a two-thirds vote before being put on a statewide ballot. It would apply only to the state’s executive branch.

Eltife, R-Tyler, said his proposal does not stem from concern about any current officeholder, including Perry, but is meant as a way to bring a fresh perspective to government.

“No way, shape or form it has anything to do with Rick Perry,” Eltife insisted. “I just think government is better served with term limits.”


[Rice University political science professor Mark] Jones said he expects the bill to have a “pretty good chance” in the House.

“The only way that it probably doesn’t survive is if the House leadership decides to bottle it up in committee and not allow it to make it to the floor,” Jones said, adding that he is not aware of any such intentions by House leaders.

“Once it gets to the ballot, it’s close to a virtual certainty that it will be approved,” Jones said. “The ‘yes’ campaign is an easy campaign. They just have to campaign against politicians and claim term limits prevent entrenched career politicians.”

Sen. Craig Estes, R-Wichita Falls, spoke against the measure, declaring it improper to single out only the executive branch.

“We already have term limits. It’s called the ballot box,” Estes said. With SJR 13, “We’re basically saying to the people of Texas that they’re not responsible or well-informed enough to make the best decisions for themselves.”

As you know, I am not a fan of term limits, so I agree with Sen. Estes on this. I also agree with Mark Jones that this is pretty much a slam dunk. I’ll vote against it, just as I voted against the Houston term limits ordinance back in the 90s, but I expect the referendum to pass easily, with more than 70% of the vote. It’s a bad idea, but it could be worse. At least it’s limited to statewide executive offices and does not include legislators themselves, who have not needed term limits to have plenty of turnover this past decade. Stace, who’s with me and with whom I agree that term limits for appointed officials (which is included in Sen. Eltife’s joint resolution) is a good idea, BOR, Texas Redistricting, and Juanita have more.

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