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State of Rhode Island General Assembly
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Rep. Lombardi again calling for voters to decide on longer terms, term limits for legislators
STATE HOUSE – Twelve consecutive years of serving as a member of the House of Representatives or as a state Senator would be the limit for legislators if a ballot referendum proposed by Rep. John J. Lombardi goes before voters and is adopted.
Representative Lombardi (D-Dist. 8, Providence) has again introduced legislation that would place before voters at the state’s next general election (2016) a proposal to amend the state constitution to change legislators’ terms and lengths of service. The proposal calls for legislators, who currently serve two-year terms, to be elected to four-years terms, for a maximum of three consecutive terms. If approved by voters, the change would take effect with the 2018 election.
The legislatures of 15 states currently have term limits for their members, with most setting eight years as the limit while four allow a total of 12 years in office (in California and Oklahoma, for instance, a legislator may serve a total of 12 years in either or both chambers of the legislature during his or her lifetime).
“I think legislators serving two-year terms can spend a good deal of that time, especially during their second year, running for re-election rather than concentrating on the people’s business,” said Representative Lombardi. “I believe four-year terms would ensure that legislators spend the majority of their time in office working to effect good government and improve the lives of the state’s citizens.”
Representative Lombardi said he believes a three-term limit – 12 years – “should be an adequate amount of time for a legislator to work on and accomplish the goals he or she wanted to address when first running for a legislative seat. Being a public servant does not mean being a permanent officeholder. I believe the citizens benefit from a more consistent turnover of individuals bringing more new, fresh ideas to the legislative process, from the rank and file members right up through leadership.”
The Lombardi resolution calling for the ballot question (
) has been referred to the House Committee on Judiciary.
For more information, contact:
Randall T. Szyba
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
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