Rep. Andrew Lewis, a freshman lawmaker, is piloting an effort to let the voters decide whether or not there should be a term limit for Pennsylvania legislators.
Lewis is a first-year Republican representative for Dauphin County. He wants a constitutional amendment limiting the ability for politicians to make a career out of serving in Pennsylvania as a lawmaker, proposing term limit of no more than 12 consecutive years.
“We believe that this is a way to bring cultural change where we have a citizen legislature where new voices and new ideas are constantly introduced, where work ethic and what you bring to the table are keys to success rather than simply accumulating years of service,” Lewis said at a Capitol news conference this week to announce the proposal.
Fourteen lawmakers support the proposal, six joined him in backing the proposal at the conference. Many of the lawmakers on Lewis’ side are only in their first or second term. They still have the challenge fresh in their minds of defeating a powerful career politician incumbent to claim their seats.
Lewis wants to limit senators to no more than three four-year terms and representatives to no more than six two-year terms. His proposal would be phased in. The 12-year clock would start ticking for sitting lawmakers when the amendment is ratified.
From conversations he has had with hundreds of voters, fellow freshman Rep. Mike Jones, R-York County, said he was hard-pressed to think of a single one who opposed term limits.
If the nation can survive with a president limited to eight years, Jones said Pennsylvania’s Legislature can surely manage by limiting lawmakers to 12 years. “We think 12 years is more than enough,” Jones said. “Let’s put it on the ballot and let’s let the voters decide.”
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