February 12, 2016

Plan to restructure legislative term limits passed by House committee

A proposal to restructure term limits in the state legislature has cleared a House committee.

Representative Myron Neth

Representative Myron Neth (photo courtesy; Missouri House Communications)

The idea found this year in HJR 4 has been proposed several times in recent sessions. It would let people serve up to 16 years in the state legislature in any combination between the House and Senate, rather than the current limit of 8 years per chamber.

Its sponsor, Representative Myron Neth (R-Liberty), says he doesn’t see this as an attempt to extend term limits.

“There’s a large percentage of people who go from House to Senate or back and forth who end up doing a total of 16 years anyway, so I just think this is a more effective way to do term limits … I’m very for keeping them intact, I’m very much for the 16 years. I think that’s a very good amount of time for somebody to get in and get a good feel for things, do a lot of good but then hey, your time’s up kind of thing.”

Neth says he sees irony in one of the original arguments for term limits: that they would lessen the impact of lobbyists in the Capitol.

“I think it has gone the opposite direction because they have become the institutional knowledge in the building, not the legislators, and in my opinion so much more powerful than what they were at one time, in many ways.”

The House Elections Committee approved the plan unanimously. If passed by the legislature, it would go before voters.