Term Limits Proposed in Texas

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Representative Kyle Biedermann (R-Fredricksburg) has authored a constitutional amendment (HJR 98) to enact term limits in the state of Texas. Where similar efforts have failed to gain traction in past sessions, Biedermann’s bill has key differences that might make it a more compelling sell.

Biedermann’s bill envisions 12 years of service in either the state House, Senate or statewide office. Past attempts at term limits have aimed for shorter lengths of service which can be troublesome as lawmakers early in their tenures are fighting to overcome the learning curve that comes with navigating the Texas swamp and byzantine legislative process.

Looking at other states with term limits, 9 of 15 mandate 8 years of service with states like Oklahoma, Louisiana and Nevada having a similar 12-year setups envisioned in HJR 98.

The bill does not preclude an elected official who reaches the 12-year mark in one elected official from running for another office. So, a member who has served 12 years in the Texas House would be allowed to run for the Senate or statewide office and vice versa.

Previous bills in Texas have been drafted to include serving members. Biedermann’s HJR 98 grandfathers in members currently serving.

This week a group promoting term limits held a press conference on the south steps of the Texas Capitol, promoting the effort.

Mickey Dunn, a businessman from Fredericksburg, has launched Term Limits Texas to promote the legislation.

According to Ballotpedia, 15 state legislatures have term limits in place. Additionally, voters in six states have approved term limits for their lawmakers only to have those votes nullified either by lawmakers in a subsequent legislative session or the courts on technical grounds.

In 2015, an effort to impose term limits on only statewide elected officials failed, while in 2013 a term limit bill was amended to apply only to apply to statewide officials, a bill that also failed.

Term limits is a widely popular issue but one that lawmakers push back against because it limits their power.

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