By Archie Dicksion
In 1992 the voters of Arizona passed Proposition 107 with 74% of the voters voting in favor of the measure. And what was that measure? It provided for what we refer to in Arizona as TERM LIMITS.
It is clear that the voters wanted to eliminate career politicians in the State of Arizona. As is usual with much legislation, initiatives and referendums, the language of the Proposition was carefully drafted to achieve its intended result. The relevant provision, as it relates to our state legislators, is as follows:
“ – – -No state Senator shall serve more than four consecutive terms in that office nor shall any state Representative serve more than four consecutive terms in that office. This limitation on the number o terms of consecutive service shall apply to terms of office beginning on or after January 1, 1993. No Legislator after serving the maximum number of terms which shall include any part of a term served may serve in the same office until he has been out of office no less than one full term.”
What the provision left open was that a person serving in one branch could after serving four full terms immediately seek office in the other house with no intervening time limit. Thus today, we have people who have served a full term limit in one branch, eight years, then ran for election in the other branch and now having served eight years are going to see re-election to the other branch of the legislature. This could continue indefinitely until members serving in the state Legislature have more time than John McCain in Congress.
That is simply not what the voters intended by approving Prop. 107 in 1992. They wanted to eliminate professional politicians. Perhaps it is time for a new initiative to eliminate this loophole. Will we lose some good legislators? Yes, but hopefully we will also get some talented new legislators with fresh ideas.