The Chamber has a burning hatred for term limits — Common-Sense or otherwise — just like every other lobbyist and special interest. But Zook and Hall are fibbing in their name because they realize that voters love term limits.
The ballot committee’s stated purpose? To “advocate for the disqualification or defeat” of the Arkansas Term Limits Amendment, which citizens just petitioned onto the ballot, collecting 129,000 signatures.
Defeating such a popular ballot measure isn’t likely. Instead, these politically-experienced lobbyists are preparing to sue, hoping to disqualify valid voters’ signatures on some ginned-up technicality, feigning confusion over the clear ballot language — anything that might keep democracy from coming this November.*
At issue? The difference between real term limits and ridiculous ones.
That is, between term limits set by citizens and those set by legislators themselves.
Currently, legislators can serve for 16 years in a single seat under the state’s “limits.” And because two-year Senate terms aren’t counted at all, senators can stay as long as 22 years.
Legislators snuck this past voters in 2014 with a ballot title claiming only to “establish” term limits . . . amidst other lies. Politicians thereby turned Arkansas’s toughest-in-the-nation term-limit law into the nation’s very weakest — a significant 50 percent longer than limits in any other state.**
Unfazed by all the corruption in the Arkansas Legislature, Chamber lobbyists are focused on putting politicians in their pocket for as long as possible.
But those pesky Arkansas voters are once again in the way.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.
* After recently threatening to challenge the signatures of another initiative petition, Zook had to admit that he was not aware of a single problem or deficiency in the petition. But he quickly added, “It’s a very complicated process.”
** Arkansas’s term limits were the same as Michigan’s until 2014, three terms, six years in the House and two-terms, eight-years in the Senate.