#ncga: Term limits for Timmy?

This one — HB 182 — ought to be fun to watch:

A BILL TO BE ENTITLED  AN ACT TO AMEND THE NORTH CAROLINA CONSTITUTION TO LIMIT THE SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES AND THE PRESIDENT PRO TEMPORE OF THE SENATE TO SERVE FOR FOUR CONSECUTIVE TWO-YEAR TERMS IN THOSE  OFFICES.

 The General Assembly of North Carolina enacts:

 SECTION 1. Section 15 of Article II of the North Carolina Constitution reads as  rewritten:

 “Sec. 15. Officers of the House of Representatives.

(1) The House of Representatives shall elect its Speaker and other officers.

 (2) No person may serve as Speaker in more than four consecutive General Assemblies. Service as Speaker in any part of a two-year term of the General Assembly constitutes serving as Speaker in that General Assembly for the purpose of calculating the limitation of four consecutive  terms. Service as Speaker in the 2019 and subsequent regular sessions of the General Assembly shall be considered in applying the limit established by this subsection.”

Harry Warren, Jon Hardister, and John Blust are the primary sponsors here.  Warren challenged Speaker Timmy’s reelection the last go-’round.  Blust is a perpetual skunk at the garden party for leadership.  So, the presence of their names on this bill is likely already earning curses and scowls in the legislative office building’s corner offices.  MORE: 

SECTION 2. Section 14 of Article II of the North Carolina Constitution reads as rewritten:

 “Sec. 14. Other officers of the Senate.

 (1) President Pro Tempore – succession to presidency. The Senate shall elect from its membership a President Pro Tempore, who shall become President of the Senate upon the failure of the Lieutenant Governor-elect to qualify, or upon succession by the Lieutenant Governor to the office of Governor, or upon the death, resignation, or removal from office of the President of the Senate, and who shall serve until the expiration of his term of office as Senator.

(1a) No person may serve as President Pro Tempore in more than four consecutive General  Assemblies. Service as President Pro Tempore in any part of a two-year term of the General  Assembly constitutes serving as President Pro Tempore in that General Assembly for the purpose  of calculating the limitation of four consecutive terms. Service as President Pro Tempore in the 2019 and subsequent regular sessions of the General Assembly shall be considered in applying the limit established by this subsection.

 (2) President Pro Tempore – temporary succession. During the physical or mental incapacity of the President of the Senate to perform the duties of his office, or during the absence of the President of the Senate, the President Pro Tempore shall preside over the Senate.

(3) Other officers. The Senate shall elect its other officers.”

 SECTION 3. The amendments set out in Sections 1 and 2 of this act shall be  submitted to the qualified voters of the State at the general election on November 6, 2018, which election shall be conducted under the laws then governing elections in the State. Ballots, voting systems, or both may be used in accordance with Chapter 163 of the General Statutes. The question to be used in the voting systems and ballots shall be: “[ ] FOR [ ] AGAINST Constitutional amendments providing that no person shall serve as Speaker of the House of Representatives for more than four consecutive terms in that office and no person shall serve as President Pro Tempore of the Senate for more than four consecutive terms in that office.”

SECTION 4. If a majority of the votes cast on the question are in favor of the  amendments set out in Sections 1 and 2 of this act, the State Board of Elections shall certify the amendments to the Secretary of State, and the amendments become effective upon certification.  The Secretary of State shall enroll the amendments so certified among the permanent records of that office.

SECTION 5. This act is effective when it becomes law.

Sooooooo — we get to vote on this, too?

2 thoughts on “#ncga: Term limits for Timmy?

  1. This bill is a small step in the right direction but falls very much short. Eight years is too long. There is too much concentration of power in the leadership in the legislature and that needs to change. The two bodies got there in different ways.

    The House had a long tradition of one term speakers from colonial times up until the 1970s. That prevented a concentration of power and opened up the office to more people serving. That changed when Speaker Carl Stewart (D-Gaston) decided he wanted to run for statewide office and it would help to serve a second term as Speaker in order to be serving in that office while he was running for statewide office and managed to strongarm his way into that second term. His successor, Liston Ramsey decided he was going to be speaker for life and got to be almost a dictator, running roughshod over other legislators. That led to a rebellion, where a number of Democrats joined with Republicans to dethrone Ramsey in 1989. Of course one of his successors, Jim Black,,got way out of hand, too, and went to federal prison for it.

    The best way to stop the Liston Ramsey / Jim Black problems is to adopt a Constitutional amendment to enforce the longtime tradition of one term speakers.

    In the Senate, power was divided between the Lieutenant Governor and the President Pro Tem, until the election of Jim Gardner as Lt. Governor in 1988 led to the Democrat majority stripping the Lt. Governor of every non Constitutional power and transferring it to the President Pro Tem. That is what led to the excessive concentration of power, which was misused by Marc Basnight. The solution is to return powers to the Lieutenant Governor.

    This bill does not get the job done. In reality, it is probably going to be necessary to exempt the current leaders from such changes to have a chance to get them passed.

Comments are closed.