Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Term-Limits Tango Slows Down

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Term-Limits Tango Slows Down

Article excerpt

Term limits for lawmakers were a vibrant grass-roots movement in the early '90s. They were part of the 1994 GOP "Contract with America," and before the decade was out, 21 states adopted them - mostly through voter initiative.

But the movement has run into serious speed bumps. First, the US Supreme Court ruled that limits could not apply to members of Congress, whose qualifications for office are set by the US Constitution.

Then, in more recent years, the highest courts in three states invalidated limits on how long state legislators can stay in office. Oregon's court took that step in January.

Now, Idaho's legislature has become the first lawmaking body to throw out the limits. It did so despite the governor's veto of the measure and voters' three-time approval of the limits on state ballots over the years.

Why would politicians take such a risk? Because in Idaho and other states, the feeling has been growing that term limits have good intentions but bad results. …

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