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Carroll County Times

Editorial: Allow vote on limits

Lawmakers in Annapolis should let voters decide whether to enact term limits for senators and delegates.

Republican Del. Michael Hough, who represents Frederick and Washington counties, introduced a bill that would limit senators and delegates to three terms. Del. Susan Krebs, R-9B, is one of 16 co-sponsors on the bill.

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Unfortunately, no Democrats have yet signed on to the bill, and a hearing hasn't been scheduled. It likely never will.

The bill calls for voters to decide whether to adopt the measure through a constitutional amendment. Currently, 15 state legislatures limit terms for lawmakers. Additionally, 36 states, including Maryland, limit terms for governors.

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In states where voters are able to vote on term limits, the response is generally yes. People are tired of elected officials who make a career out of their elected position. It is an odd phenomenon, really, that so many people say they aren't satisfied with the job their lawmakers are doing, yet they continue to put them back into office. A large part of that has to do with the special interests dumping huge amounts of cash into campaigns; but the competing and often conflicting statements of candidates also leave voters perplexed, and oftentimes they just go with the evil they know as opposed to one they don't.

Homesteading politicians, those who set up camp and stay, seemingly forever, grow insulated in their position and less connected to the people they are supposed to be serving. Their main priority, oftentimes, is winning re-election, and doing the people's business a lot of times takes a back seat to that priority for them.

You can't help but think that if a lawmaker knew he or she would be term-limited out of office, their focus would be more on what is best for their constituents and the state.

It isn't surprising that the bill, and support for it, is coming only from Republicans. Across the U.S., parties out of power typically are the ones calling for term limits, while those in power say they aren't needed. It's hard to imagine a squatter calling up the bank and asking that an eviction notice be placed on their door.

In recent years, Maryland voters have been asked to weigh in on legalized gambling, in-state tuition under certain circumstances for the children of illegal immigrants, and gay marriage. Surely the concept of term limits is one that also should be decided by voters.

Lawmakers take office with the pledge to serve us, the people. They should live up to that pledge, and allow voters to decide whether we want term limits for state lawmakers.


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