Lawmaker's push for four-year terms derailed

Posted April 4

Voting in N.C., voting generic

— A House committee on Tuesday defeated a bill that proposed a constitutional amendment calling for four-year terms and term limits for members of the General Assembly.

Sponsor Rep. Harry Warren, R-Rowan, said that the move would stop the "endless cycle of campaigning and fundraising" that lawmakers now engage in since they're up for re-election every two years.

"It detracts from the efficiency of legislating," Warren said, noting the change would align legislative elections with those of the governor and other statewide officials, starting in 2020.

House and Senate members would be limited to three terms in a particular chamber under the proposal, which would have required voter approval to take effect.

Rep. Mickey Michaux, D-Durham, and others on the committee said the state constitution calls for frequent elections and said two-year legislative terms have served North Carolina well for decades.

"It makes you a lot more responsive to your constituency," Michaux said. "This keeps us in front of people."

Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford, noted U.S. House members represent more people than any state lawmaker and are able to run every two years.

Rep. Michael Speciale, R-Craven, said he first ran for the state House when his representative failed to live up to campaign promises, adding, "I don't want to have to wait four years to get somebody out."

Warren's bill failed on a 10-13 vote.


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