The Texas House today takes up the first tem limits bill ever to be given an even chance of passing the Legislature.
“All state wide Executive Branch officials will be limited to a total of eight years in their office,” George Seay, a Dallas hedge fund manager who is the head of Texans for Term Limits, told 1200 WOAI news.
The measure would not limit the terms of the members of the Legislature who will vote on the bill, nor would it limit the terms of judges, but Seay says this is a ‘start’ toward making that happen.
“If we establish this beachhead, it will be very hard for the Legislative and Judicial branches not to have term limits, but the Executive branch should.”
He says the bill currently on the table would term limit statewide Executive offices, and statewide elective offices like Texas Railroad Commissioner and State Board of Education members.
The term limit bill has already passed the State Senate. As a constitutional amendment, it requires a two thirds vote of each house to be approved, and then the proposal would be voted on by the people in November.
Governor Perry, who has served in that office since 2000, making him the longest serving statewide office holder in Texas history, would not be able to veto the legislature.
Seay says the term limits law would not be retroactive, meaning state lawmakers like former House Speaker Tom Craddick, who was first elected to the Texas House, amazingly, in 1968, could still continue to serve if the term limits law were extended to the House. Seay says that is only fair.
Seay says if this term limits law is approved by the House and by the people, his group will be right back in the Legislature in 2015, seeking to approve a measure that expands term limits to additional offices.
He says his ultimate goal is a law that limits the total number of time that any one individual could serve in all elective offices combined, ending the process of skipping from city or county office, to the State House, then the State Senate, and so on.
“We need term limits across all three branches of government,” he says. “And we need them so there will be a maximum time of service for a politician.”
Ironically, the main sponsor of the term limits, Sen. Kevin Eltife (R-Tyler) was elected to the Legislature because term limits in his home town prevented him from running for re-election as Mayor of Tyler.