Term Limits: "Freshmen and Lame Ducks"
Do term limits create lame-duck lawmakers who are disengaged from governing?
I thought this was a good response to my item on Michigan term limits:
A few years ago Kansas City, Mo voted to change its charter to a 2 term limit for its city council. The effect was to vote a bunch of freshman and lame ducks. And it shows. Terms limits (at least of that short a limit) palpably damages governance. You are stuck with either freshman or lame ducks.
Most of my thinking on term limits has centered on the freshmen side of the equation. But, the lame ducks point is interesting. There could be a whole other set of effects of having lots of people who are leaving their current jobs and therefore (perhaps) disengaged from governing and focused more on their next position. You could make a case, I suppose, that the big effect of term limits in the Michigan Senate won't be next year (when lots of members will be new), but rather this year, when lots of members are headed out the door.
With regard to the freshmen, I do think it's worth noting that, at least intuitively, term limits would have a much more dramatic effect on governance for the City Council in Kansas City than they would for the Michigan Senate. For the Michigan Senate, there are nearly equivalently experienced people who can take the jobs: members of the Michigan House. There's nothing equivalent for a City Council, meaning you're more likely to get people with no government experience or no elected experience.
At least, that's my initial reaction. Thom Little of the State Legislative Leaders Foundation wrote me to offer a contrary view:
Don't forget that historically, upper and lower chambers are quite different. What we have found in tl states where house members run for the Senate "en masse" is the "housification" of the Senate. The deliberative body becomes less deliberative and much more like the lower chamber. This is not an insiginificant impact.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
Many States Working to Increase Medicaid Payments to Doctors1 day ago
Many Red States May Consider Climate Change Gag Rules1 day ago
California Residents Get Really Creative About Water Recycling2 days ago
Federal Probe Causes Chicago Schools CEO to Take Leave of Absence2 days ago
Medicare Deal Delays But Deepens Hospital Cuts2 days ago
The Week in Public Finance: Money, Pink Floyd and State Revenues2 days ago