Thursday, March 16, 2006


Term limits for statewide officials

By Ed Anderson
Capital bureau

BATON ROUGE -- All statewide elected officials except the governor would be limited to three consecutive terms in office under a proposed change to the state constitution filed by an Algiers lawmaker Wednesday.

Rep. Jim Tucker, R-Algiers, chairman of the House Republican caucus, filed House Bill 428, which would impose a limit of three consecutive terms starting with the 2008 term.

The measure does not change the two-consecutive-term limit now imposed on the governor.

Other statewide elected officials -- the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, attorney general, treasurer, commissioner of insurance, and commissioner of agriculture and forestry -- currently can serve an unlimited number of terms.

The existing two-term limit on a governor and the proposed three-term limit on other statewide officials "keeps major dynasties from being created. Twelve years spent in government is enough."

The measure would allow a statewide official to sit out a term then seek re-election, or to seek another three terms in another office.

Agriculture-Forestry Commissioner Bob Odom, a Democrat in his seventh term in office, said he doubts Tucker's bill will pass.

"I don't think there should be a three-term limit on the Legislature" or statewide officials, said Odom, the dean of the elected officials. "I don't think they should be term limits, but there are.

We face term limits every four years" at election time.

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