(TNS) — A group seeking to change Ohio’s legislative term limits law has filed paperwork with the state, the first step in a process that eventually would require approval from state voters.
Under a proposed state constitutional amendment filed on Wednesday with the state attorney general’s office, state lawmakers would have a lifetime limit of 16 years they could serve in either the House or Senate.
This would change current law, approved by state voters in 1992 as a constitutional amendment, under which there is no lifetime cap. Rather, current term limits bar lawmakers from serving more than eight consecutive years in either chamber, but allow them to switch back and forth between the House and Senate.
Under the new proposal, the clock on term limits would begin ticking on Jan. 1, 2021, apparently wiping out any previous accumulated time. For example, it appears this would allow House Speaker Larry Householder, who otherwise would have to leave the House at the end of 2024, to stay through 2036. However, it would be too late for currently term-limited lawmakers, like Senate President Larry Obhof, to stick around, since it only applies to those eligible to run for election or re-election this November.
Don McTigue, a prominent elections-law attorney in Columbus who filed Ohioans for Legislative Term Limits’ paperwork, didn’t immediately return a message seeking comment.
But he told the Toledo Blade on Wednesday the initiative would "close the current loophole that allows legislators to shuffle back and forth between the House and Senate indefinitely.”
“A campaign structure is being organized now,” he told The Blade. “You will be hearing more from the campaign as things develop in the weeks and months ahead.”
If the group’s language is approved by Attorney General Dave Yost and the Ohio Ballot Board, Ohioans for Legislative Term Limits then would have until July 1 to collect roughly 443,000 valid voter signatures from 44 of Ohio’s 88 counties to make the November ballot.
Two other proposed constitutional amendments also are possible for the November election. One, backed by organized-labor groups, seeks to hike the state’s minimum wage to $13 an hour by 2025. A second, backed by the Ohio ACLU, seeks to expand Ohio’s ballot-access laws.
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