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I am contemplating introducing a constitutional amendment during this incoming 2020 legislative session that would put a lifetime limit on serving in the Legislature. No one would be allowed to serve in the Legislature after being elected to three 4-year terms. It would give Nebraskans an opportunity to vote on making a change to our existing term limits that are set for the Legislature.
I feel that a three-term maximum would allow senators to best represent their constituents without creating lifetime politicians. Current term limits are two consecutive 4-year terms. Returning senators can run for the Legislature again after 4 years have passed from the initial two-term limit. Currently, Nebraska has the shortest term limits in the country. Six states have lifetime bans on length of service and it ranges from 12-24 years. We also have a one-house system in our state. In other states, officials tend to serve in the house and then run for the Senate or vice versa. In comparison, 14 other states that have term limits are authorized to serve 6-16 years in the house and potentially 8-16 years in the senate if they decide to run for that elected position. Six states enacted term limits in the early 1990s and all were nullified by the early 2000s.
The first 4 years as a senator are dedicated to absorbing a plethora of challenging issues while building strong relationships with colleagues and members of various organizations. The next 4 years are devoted to passing substantial legislation for voters. When introducing legislation there is always a need to work through the pros and cons that translate to well thought out and effective legislation. Passing legislation is not as simple as introducing it one year and having it enacted by the end of that session. By adding another 4-year term it gives the senator the best opportunity for crafting legislation and using their experience and knowledge to best serve the citizens of Nebraska.
Nebraskan voters wanted term limits and voted to have them enacted in 2000. Although term limits result in the loss of institutional knowledge, I do feel this constitutional amendment would be a better solution for both the institution and the citizens of the state.
Please feel free to contact my office with any questions or concerns that you might have. My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org and my phone number is (402) 471-2805. You can read more about bills and other work of the Legislature at www.nebraskalegislature.gov, and you can click on the Live Video Streaming NET logo to watch sessions, hearings, and other Capitol events.