By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
The Florida Legislature passed legislation calling for there to be an Article V convention of the states to impose term limits on members of the US House and Senate. Florida is the first state in the nation to pass this resolution; but the group, US Term Limits, says that Alabama is one of the next states they are targeting.
On Thursday, February 11, the Alabama Political Reporter spoke with US Term Limits spokesperson Alannah NicPhaidin. She confirmed that the measure, HJR18 had been introduced last week in the Alabama House.
Term limits are one of the areas addressed by the Convention of States (COS). The Alabama Political Reporter asked why not just join that call for a conventions. NicPhaidin said, “We certainly think it is great that they included term limits in their call; but we have a laser focus on term limits.”
HJR18 was introduced by State Representative Kerry Rich (R-Guntersville). It is awaiting action in the House Rules Committee.
The Florida legislation, HM417, passed the State House and State Senate by an overwhelming voice vote.
US Term Limits said in a statement that the measure, “Is part of a national movement led by US Term Limits to fight careerism in Washington. Article V gives state legislators a way to make term limits on Congress a reality without needing congressional approval. For the convention to be called, 34 states must pass similar legislation. If the convention proposes an amendment, 38 states must ratify it for it to be added to the US Constitution.”
The President of US Term Limits, Philip Blumel said “Seventy-five percent of Americans support term limits on Congress, including huge majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents. This is a rare, truly bipartisan issue with national support.” This bill was supported by both Democrats and Republicans in the State House and Senate throughout the process and passed unanimously through two committees.”
Blumel said, “There are now 11 states hot on Florida’s heels, and the progress here has laid the groundwork for their success.”
Since 34 states are needed to call for the Term Limits Convention, US Term Limits is also targeting Alabama, Alaska, Georgia, Colorado, South Dakota, South Carolina, West Virginia, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Tennessee and Utah.
The Term Limits Convention will not impact the Florida Legislature, which already has term limits which were voted on by the people in 1992 with 77 percent of the vote. That vote on Amendment 9 also enacted eight-year term limits on federal and state officials but, in 1995, the US Supreme Court ruled that states could not enact congressional term limits by ballot measure. Thus congressional term limits can only be enacted by amendment to the US Constitution. The Alabama Legislature does not have any term limits, though Senator Trip Pittman (R-Montrose) has introduced legislation to impose term limits on the Alabama legislature as well.