Columbus, OH – Today, the 1851 Center for Constitutional Law secured the approval necessary for a coalition of good government advocates to begin the circulation of a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit state legislators to no more than eight years in each House and twelve total years at the Statehouse.
The proposal “To Strengthen Ohio Term Limits” today cleared the Ohio Ballot Board, after obtaining Attorney General certification ten days earlier. Petitions will now be circulated by a coalition of Ohioans backed by U.S. Term Limits, the organization responsible for first introducing term limits to Ohio through a 1992 constitutional amendment.
The proposed amendment will likely appear on the November 2016 ballot, so long as 304,000 valid signatures are submitted by early July of 2016.
The Amendment would provide that, in Ohio:
- No person shall hold any combination of elected legislative offices for greater than twelve years, total.
- No person shall hold the same elected legislative office for greater than eight years, total.
- No person shall hold an elected legislative office if the term limits in this Amendment would forbid that person from completing the full term for that office.
The Amendment would not count years in office accrued prior to its passage.
This effort comes in response to legislators’ creation of a commission – – “The Constitutional Modernization Commission” – – to attempt to increase their own terms of office by rolling back or eliminating Ohio’s current term limits. Several legislators have indicated this to be the overwhelming purpose behind the Commission, which consists solely of legislators, former politicians, lobbyists, and political donors.
“Ohioans should be disturbed to learn that state legislators appear poised to attempt to shred the very term limits Ohioans overwhelmingly voted to place upon them,” said Maurice Thompson, Executive Director of the 1851 Center. “This Amendment will end the abusive ‘musical chairs’ practice whereby some legislators remain in power for decades, losing touch with their communities and constituents and making better connections with politically-connected interests in Columbus.”
“The longer a public official holds office, the more likely he or she is to see government as the solution to every problem, and the less likely he or she is to reform serious problems created by government. The United State Congress perfectly illustrates this.”
Members of the coalition include those responsible for passing Ohio’s original term limits on legislators in 1992, eliminating Ohio’s estate tax in 2011, and passing the Health Care Freedom Amendment in 2011.
Read the Full Text of the Amendment HERE
Read 1851 Center Op-Ed on Improving Ohio Term Limits HERE
Read further media reports on this term limits effort HERE