Georgia voters may have the opportunity to limit the number of terms state legislators are allowed to serve, that is, if lawmakers under the Gold Dome let them.
On Friday, state Rep. Michael Caldwell (R-Woodstock) prefiled HR 2, which would limit to four the number of consecutive terms state legislators can serve, requiring them to wait at least one full term to serve again.
Caldwell, who is about to begin his second term, proposed this constitutional amendment just before the 2013-2014 session, then known as HR 5, though the House Committee on Governmental Affairs didn’t move on it. The amendment was co-sponsored by state Reps. John Pezold (R-Fortson), Scot Turner (R-Holly Springs), David Stover (R-Newnan), and Jason Spencer (R-Woodbine).
The amendment “[p]rovides for [two] things,” said Caldwell on Saturday evening via Twitter, “(1) Requires incumbents step aside once a decade and remember what its like to have someone else push the button for them and (2) removes the incumbency advantage once a decade, and requires a returning legislator to run against a sitting incumbent.”
Though he concedes the issue overplayed, Caldwell believes when term limits are done right, “they do a great job leveling the electoral playing field.”
State Rep.-elect Wes Cantrell (R-Woodstock) chimed in on this particular point. “I support [term limits],” he said, “but the big issue is the incumbency advantage.”
If HR 2 is passed by a constitutional majorities in both chambers of the legislature, voters, in November 2016, would be posed with this “yes” or “no” question on their ballots: “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to provide term limits for members of the Senate and members of the House of Representatives?”
According to Section 1 of the proposed amendment, term limits would “apply to terms of office beginning on or after January 1, 2017,” and will include partial terms.
Disclosure: Jason is a senior writer at FreedomWorks. The views expressed in this post don’t necessarily reflect those of his employer.