Bill Calling For Term Limits On State Lawmakers Moves Forward

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MONTGOMERY, Ala.(WHNT)-Is it time to put a limit on how long state lawmakers can serve in Montgomery? One area leader is making a push to do just that in an effort to eliminate what he calls “career politicians”.

Sen. Arthur Orr (R-Decatur) is co-sponsoring a bill that would impose term limits in both houses of the Alabama Legislature. A Senate committee approved the legislation this week, which calls for a constitutional amendment that would ultimately be decided by Alabama voters.

The language in SB 153 calls for state lawmakers to serve no more than three four-year terms in Montgomery, but Orr said it’s possible the total term limit could be revised from 12 to 16 years. Alabama governors and other statewide office holders already have a cap on their time in office, and Sen. Orr said following suit just makes sense.

“Public service should not be in one place just a perpetual career,” said Orr. “New blood is always good for the legislative body to bring in fresh ideas…I believe the framers of the Constitution had in mind citizen-legislators. People who would serve for a period of time during their working careers and then go home, not a career political class.”

If passed, the bill would not apply to anyone already serving in Montgomery since it calls for those lawmakers to be grandfathered in. Sen. Orr gave this response when asked if he would voluntarily step aside since he and his colleagues would be exempt if the bill becomes law.

“I don’t consider myself as someone who sees the legislature as a long-term option for me,” said Orr. “I’ve enjoyed my role, but I don’t see it as a multi-decade career.”

Similar term-limit efforts for Alabama legislators have failed in the past. A total of fifteen states have term limits for their legislative bodies.