BRIAN PERRY/New push for term limits
In reality, Mississippi’s legislature has a fairly moderate turnover rate. Nearly half of those in the House of Representatives have served less than two terms with that jumping to nearly 60 percent of the Senate.
State Senator Chris McDaniel is Chairman of the United Conservatives Fund and is leading the way on this new push for term limits which is less restrictive than the 1995 attempt, but more restrictive than the 1999 attempt. McDaniel, who is currently running for his third term in office, wants to restrict all legislators and statewide elected officials to two consecutive terms.
McDaniel claimed in a release Monday, “Unlike other term limits proposals this won’t block anyone from public service. Our goal is to increase participation and make elective office more accessible to people who want to serve. The power of incumbency has built a wall between people and their representatives. This has caused an increase in cronyism, back room deals, and corruption. We believe regularly changing out officeholders is a step toward transcending those problems.”
McDaniel cosponsored a constitutional amendment this year in the legislature authored by Senator Melanie Sojourner which would have enacted terms limits for legislators for two consecutive terms and sixteen years total. It died in committee.
Twenty years ago Mississippians rejected term limits and they did so again four years later. The arguments have not changed on either side, so success depends on whether the electorate’s appetite for change has increased or whether the campaign mechanism has improved.