In 1965 and 1992, Missouri voters instituted term limits for many state elected officials. In the legislature, House members are limited to eight years of service, as are senators in the Senate. Governor and Treasurer are also limited to eight years. The other statewide offices of Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Auditor currently have no term limits.
Amendment 1 would give Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Auditor the same eight-year term limits as the other state offices. Those for Amendment 1 say it would bring consistent rules to all state positions, and that new blood would bring new ideas. Those against say why fire someone who is doing a good job just for being too experienced. If they are bad, voters can vote them out.
The main argument for term limits in 1992 was that elected officials who stay in power too long eventually become corrupt. There is some truth and historical evidence of that, especially for power positions like Speaker of the House, budget chairman, etc. Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Auditor have important duties, but seem less corruptible since they can’t create law, impose taxes, or control budget spending.
One irony to term limits is that the people in Jefferson City that end up with long range institutional knowledge of lawmaking are the people that voters have no control over, namely lobbyists and bureaucrats. Another irony is after voters chose to impose term limits in 1992, voters then re-elected nearly every sitting legislator every election for the next eight years. I guess everyone thought their guy was OK, but all the others were the rotten ones.
For Amendment 1, a “Yes” vote creates eight-year term limits for Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Attorney General, and Auditor. A “No” vote leaves things as they are.
Until next time, health, happiness and prosperity to you and your family.