Local & Regional News
5:58 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Term Limits Group Claims Legislature Masking Extension With Ethics Reform

Tim Jacob, left, co-chair Arkansas Term Limits.
Tim Jacob, left, co-chair Arkansas Term Limits.
Credit Jacob Kauffman / KUAR

A group backing current term limits for Arkansas legislators is announcing its support for a lawsuit meant to keep a measure off the November ballot that would loosen term limits.

Speaking to  about 20 supporters in front of the Old State House Museum in Little Rock the co-chair of Arkansas Term Limits, Tim Jacob, claimed some members of the legislature deliberately tried to mislead voters by not highlighting the term limit change in the title of the proposal, Issue 3.

“You will not know that those legislative terms have been lengthened until you read 16 pages deep into this amendment. That’s not the way to do it and voters deserve better. We need to respect voters more than that,” said Jacob.

Terms were last limited by voters in 1992 to 14 years, with a 6 year limit in the House and 8 years in the Senate. “If the legislature thinks the voters were wrong in two landslide elections have the courage to say so. Write an honest ballot title,” said Jacob.

The constitutional amendment, which was advanced by the legislature, would loosen term limits to 16 years. Currently 14 years must be split between 6 years in the house and 8 in the Senate.

The measure, championed as ethics reforms by its sponsors, also bans corporate campaign contributions, extends the time a lawmaker must wait before registering as a lobbyist from one to two years, and limits some types of gifts from lobbyists, among other changes.