WUOMFM

Republican state Senate leader pushing to change term limits

Sep 24, 2014

Michigan Senate Majority Leader Randy Richardville, R-Monroe.
Credit Photo courtesy of Richardville's office

There's been talk in Lansing about whether term limits should be extended, and that talk is heating up. 

Michigan voters approved term limits for state lawmakers back in 1992, but Republican Sen. Majority Leader Randy Richardville thinks maybe it's time they are extended.

Richardville says Michigan has the most restrictive term limits in the country. Other states have either rescinded or eased term limits and, he believes Michigan should review the legislation as well.

Jack Lessenberry is Michigan Radio's political analyst, and he says term limits have been an unmitigated disaster. 

"Some lobbyists say: 'I don't have to pay attention to you. I'll be here, but in two years you'll be gone.' ... We just play politician musical chairs with each other, and it fosters corruption," says Lessenberry.

Richardville says he's looking to a plan that would permit term-limited lawmakers to collect a certain number of petition signatures allowing them to run again. He also says more measures could be added, including fining lawmakers for missed days of work.

Despite pushing for the change, Richardville says he has no intention of coming back to the Legislature after his term ends three months from now.

"There's no self-serving thing here. It's all about representing the people in a better way. I'm going to do the best I can. But, if it has to go straight to the ballot, I have no problem with that," says Richardville.

Lessenberry says rather than extending term limits, it's better to get them eliminated altogether. But, Lessenberry believes, nothing will likely happen.

"Randy Richardville can talk about messing with them, but he hasn't even been able to get the roads fixed," says Lessenberry.

* Listen to the full interview with Randy Richardville and Jack Lessenberry above.

-- Michelle Haun, Stateside