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Texas Senate Votes 27-4 to Allow Voters to Enact Statewide Term Limits

by: Karl-Thomas Musselman

Wed Mar 20, 2013 at 05:30 PM CDT

The Texas Senate has approved SJR 13, a constitutional amendment which would allow voters to place term limits on certain statewide officeholders. The bill, passed by a 27-4 margin with four Republicans dissenting in the Senate, would limit statewide officeholders to serve 2 consecutive terms. It exempts judicial offices (the 18 elected members of the Texas Supreme Court and Court of Criminal Appeals). The amendment would allow for nonconsecutive terms and would expire in 2031.

Republican Sen. Craig Estes had offered two amendments. The first, to include statewide judicial offices, failed on a point of order, and the second, to limit House and Senate members' terms, was withdrawn.

Term limits tend to draw the most support from the minority party in government as they benefit from the creation of more non-incumbent elections. In Texas is seems that even Republicans have gotten tired of the stagnation and lack of movement in the ranks with Rick Perry having kept a cap on upward political mobility. This is probably a good move for Texas as a whole and a reasonable compromise that keeps the system moving without wiping out the institutional knowledge in the legislature.

Michael Li has updates on companion legislation moving in the Texas House.  


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