Missouri could lead way in calling for congressional term limit amendment

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. -- According to recent polling by McLaughlin and Associates, 82% of Americans regardless of party affiliation, want to see term limits imposed on Representatives and Senators in D.C.

"It's going to be a tall order," said Rep. Chuck Basye, a Republican from Rocheport.

A tall order, but something some representatives and senators in the State of Missouri want to try.

"Voters overwhelmingly voted in the 1990s to have term limits for our state representatives and state senators," added Republican Senator Denny Hoskins of Warrensburg, who is sponsoring the State Senate version of the bill. "So I feel this is a widely popular bill in the State of the Missouri to also place those term limits, or similar term limits on our counterparts in Washington, D.C."

If legislation passes in the Show-Me State, it would be only the third to call for a convention to discuss a potential term limit amendment to the U.S. Constitution. According to the Constitution, there needs to be two-thirds, meaning at least 34 states.

"Once that's done, if they do come up with something, it'll take three-quarters of the states to ratify that, so it's even stronger then," Basye added.

Florida and Alabama have already passed legislation calling for the convention, and representatives on both sides of the aisle here in Missouri think it'll pass here, too. After all, it did last year. It just stalled on the last day of the legislative session.

"Yes. Last year I filed a very similar bill, and last year it did pass out of the Senate and went over to the House and stalled over in the House," Hoskins said. "We just ran out of time in the legislative session. It received a lot of support from both sides of the aisle last year when it went through."

However, Representataive Peter Merideth, a democrat from St. Louis, says he doesn't believe term limits will fix what people call the "mess" in Washington.

"Essentially, term limits deny voters the right to vote for the person who they think is best for the job," Merideth said. "If voters have somebody who's been a Missouri rep for eight years and they think is doing a really fantastic job, I think it's a problem for us to take away their right to continue to have that person represent them."

Merideth said he'd rather see fixes to campaign financing and gerrymandering issues.

Each bill still has to work it's way out of committee in it's respective chamber before a vote happens on the floor, but that is expected to happen this session.

Read the original version of this article at www.ky3.com.