Give state term limits a tweak

Guest Editorial
The leader of a national term limits group last month called it the “height of arrogance” that some Michigan lawmakers are looking at reforming term limits. Here’s a better expression for it: common sense.

There are at least two proposals, and maybe more on the way, to tweak the law that restricts how long state lawmakers work in Lansing. One would still limit lawmakers to 14 years, but let
them spend all of it in one chamber. Today, they are capped at six years in the House, eight in the Senate.

There’s a reform movement under way in state government, and this should be part of it. Term limits have drained the state Capitol of experience in the last decade, inadvertently giving more clout to bureaucrats and lobbyists.

Letting legislators spend their entire time in the House or Senate might help. It would let individuals build knowledge and become leaders for a long time, instead of shuttling out of prominent roles after only a couple of years. It would improve the quality of the lawmaking process.

That’s not arrogant, but good governing. Any changes would go before the voters since they approved term limits in the first place. Let’s give the public the option of making this change.