NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


August 29, 2006

Voters in states with term limits enjoy more competitive elections for state and federal offices that make way for fresh blood and new ideas, not just bland, predictable re-elections, says Paul Farago, spokesman for Restore Oregon's Term Limits Committee.

However, the National Council of State Legislatures (NCSL) claims that state legislative limits haven't led to increases in female representation; but the record indicates otherwise:

  • In Oregon, female representation in the state House of Representatives peaked at 35 percent under term limits in 1998 and 2000.
  • When term limits were scrapped, female representation steadily dipped, now, women make up just 28 percent of the House.

NCSL claims that term limits result in "legislative brain drain."  But this is dismissive of lawmakers and voters alike, says Farago.   Many citizens have the knowledge and skills required to be legislators -- and to be voters.

And not only do voters have the ability to handle term limits, they prefer them too, says Farago:

  • In 1992, 70 percent of Oregonians made term limits the most popular voter-approved amendment in state history. 
  • Despite ongoing legal attacks by lawmakers, legislative term limits still govern in 15 states.

Source: Paul Farago, "Turnover brings fresh blood," USA Today, August 29, 2006


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