All praise to Jon Lund and George Smith for their thoughtful and forceful plea to end lawmakers’ term limits in Augusta (“Commentary: Time to term out term limits,” April 22). This cannot happen soon enough!
In 1993, in the wake of a state government shutdown and a ballot-tampering scandal by a staff person to the speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, this law was enacted at referendum, at the instigation and with the deep-pocket support of a noted Maine philanthropist.
Among the direct results of this ill-conceived law have been a dramatic increase in the power of the executive branch and of the private-interest lobby, at the expense of the people’s representatives; a general decline in the quality and competence of legislative leadership; and a deepening of the partisan divide that only encourages uncivil discourse, discourages thoughtful compromise, and regularly threatens yet another government shutdown.
Since 1820, Maine people have enjoyed a guaranteed, constitutional mechanism to keep control of their elected representatives; it’s called regular, biennial elections. After a quarter-century of this madness of artificial term limits – which the most clever and ambitious legislators are able to get around, anyway – it is time for their repeal.
Before he leaves office in 2019, Gov. LePage would do Maine a great service by calling a special session of the Legislature for the purpose of repealing this most insidious and destructive law.