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Term limits

Posted: September 25, 2014 8:17 a.m.
Updated: September 26, 2014 1:00 a.m.

The concept of term limits became popular a number of years ago, but has since waned. Limits were enacted in many states across the country and in many of those, were repealed either through legal challenges or political considerations. Of course, it’s not a new idea; the 22nd amendment to the constitution, ratified in 1951, prescribes that no person can serve more than two terms as president. It was passed largely because Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected four times and much of this country felt such longevity wasn’t good for the country -- too much power invested in one person.

Now, the acting speaker of the S.C. House, Jay Lucas, is proposing that nobody be able to serve more than six or eight years in that office. Lucas succeeds Bobby Harrell, who was indicted and suspended after nine years in office. Lucas says he’s talked with every member of the House and that many feel their ideas weren’t being heard by Harrell. In addition, he proposes giving more hiring control of staff members to committee chairs and the clerk of the House. The speaker now controls that process, which can create the ultimate patronage system.

Term limits aren’t a bad idea. Those opposing them say experience in government is needed, but we’d wager that most Americans, looking at a dysfunctional Washington, would say experience is doing the country no good at this time and new blood would be refreshing. However, that’s another matter and a murky legal pool. But limits for a speaker would be different, and it’s an idea worth pursuing.

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