The problem with term limits

Originally uploaded by johnvierdsen

Again, the prospect of term limits is raising its funky head above the water and making another go of it in the General Assembly. No matter how often this comes up, it just sounds like a bad idea. The fact is, when you have regular turnover of legislators, it allows outside influences to have a bigger influence on the process. Institutional knowledge is lost, so legislators end up relying on, oh, lobbyists and others with set agendas.

There’s a reason people like Howard Rich are so gung-ho for term limits. He didn’t make all that cash by looking out for others. Hell, the basic libertarian belief, boiled down, is, “Fuck you, I’ve got mine.”

That’s to say, it’s not just Rich and his freakshow hydra (SCRG, S.C. Club for Growth, S.C. Policy Council, &c.) in this state that would have way more say in what your representatives do. It’s everybody.

If you think this is just Vierdsen going loopy after a dessert of “special” Christmas brownies, the St. Petersburg Times were all over this six years ago:

The push for term limits in the 1990s has resulted in a raft of unintended consequences, many of which are just beginning to be felt.

In Tallahassee, lawmakers who face the end of their tenure have desperately jockeyed to run for other seats rather than return to private life. The prime example being House Speaker Tom Feeney, who used the power of his office to wangle a new congressional district for himself through redistricting. Moreover, all the turnover has given the Legislature little historical memory, shifting power and expertise to bureaucrats and lobbyists.

There’s a reason we gots elections, Broseph.


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