They say no one’s life, liberty or property is safe while the legislature is in session.
Well in Arkansas it’s safe now; the legislature has adjourned. But even while they were in session, this year was a whole lot safer than in the past. That’s because the Arkansas Legislature has changed. Like 17 other states, covering 40 percent of the U.S. population, Arkansas has term limits. This year, 57 out of 100 representatives were new.
Before the session began, the political pundits acted like Chicken Little telling us the sky would fall. We couldn’t survive without the 800 years of legislative experience that had to leave due to term limits, they warned us. Well, under term limits the legislature did more than survive it blossomed. Rep. Bobby Glover, who had served in the legislature many years ago and returned this session, said: “Before the session, there was a big question of how effective this session was going to be. I couldn’t have been impressed more. I’ve never seen a group that was more conscientious in scrutinizing legislation.”
Rep. Ted Thomas, a veteran legislator, said the freshmen “wanted to know what the facts were, not who the personalities were.” Term limits leader Skip Cook wasn’t surprised. “It seems to me what’s taken place here is the same thing that has happened in California and elsewhere,” he said. “It’s proven to be that average citizens can give up their job, go to [the Capitol], make democracy work and go home again.”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.