Politically speaking, I think term limitation is the best thing since sliced-bread. But it’s being given credit for a change in the Arkansas Legislature that, well . . . I just never expected.
The Arkansas Legislature, like legislatures in 18 other states, is term-limited. Now the big news is that the Legislature is, for the most part, sober at least much more so than in the past. And many folks are connecting the two: putting the credit for the recent sobriety trend, or the blame, on term limits. Seems in the old days, before term limits, the nightlife of a legislator was a heckuva lot more exciting than it is today. For instance, there’s the old story from the 1960s. The Speaker announced that a late night vote was going to be even further delayed, when a legislator yelled from the back of the chamber, “We’ve got a bigger problem than that, Mr. Speaker. We’re out of ice.”
No doubt some of the stories have gotten wilder in the retelling, but one legislator’s mother, who had long worked in the Capitol, tried to talk her son out of running for office saying, “You’ll go up there and you’ll start running around and lose your marriage and everything.” There are lots of funny stories about the parties and antics of legislators past. Only problem is the stories are not funny; they’re sad. I don’t know if term limits deserves the credit for the greater sobriety among legislators, but what the heck we’ll take it. Let’s be glad, in any case, for yet another refreshing change in legislative behavior in the wake of term limits.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.