Rep. Nemes' bill would limit lawmakers to serving three terms per chamber

02/15/2012 10:57 AM

  • *By limiting lawmakers to serving three terms in a chamber, it would keep a fresh rotation of perspectives while diluting the power of legislative leaders, said Rep. Mike Nemes, a Louisville Republican who is filing a term-limits bill this week.

Nemes’ proposal would extend the length of the legislative terms to six years for senators (up from four) and to four years for representatives (up from two). That would allow a lawmaker to serve a maximum of 12 consecutive years in the House and 16 consecutive years in the Senate.

He said he tried to strike a balance between not sacrificing experience and institutional memories and preventing chambers’ leaders from essentially becoming indefinitely embedded into the power structure.

“It will keep someone maybe in the future or now from having total control. Right now, there’s pretty much three people who could have total control if they want to — the governor and the two chambers’ leaders,” Nemes said.

Senate President David Williams, a Republican, has been in that post since 2000. House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Democrat, has been that chamber’s leader since 2009 but served as House Floor leader for 19 years. He unseated Rep. Jody Richards as speaker after Richards served in that position for 14 years.

Making the term-limit change requires amending the state’s constitution. But already there’s a growing list of constitutional amendments, including one that would allow expanded gambling and a measure to eliminate the office of constable — which passed a House committee Tuesday.


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