Term limits put inexperienced in charge
In upcoming years, there will be some very drastic changes in the Nevada State Assembly and Senate. In the ‘90s, a law was enacted that limited the terms of our state’s politicians; we were just one of the many states infected by the idea, which seemed to take the West by storm. Now I don’t believe this will help the citizens of the state of Nevada.
Passing a law that limits the terms of the Assembly and Senate was meant to prevent political careerism. This was to give new blood a chance to bring their ideas to the table. The new blood will get their chance in 2010. This will be the year that many of our politicians are termed-limited out. And if this affects us the way it did California, then we aren’t up for all the great changes proponents of term limits said we were going to get.
In California, citizens saw an increase in minorities. By getting rid of their careerist politicians, California has allowed for inexperience to come into the picture. And by having minorities increase, the majority of Californians may be at risk of being under-represented.
Inexperience and under-representation aren’t the only problems that the Assembly and Senate could face. Increased influence of special interest groups can be another problem with the changes that will begin in 2010. These groups have goals of passing certain legislation or pushing for certain ideas, and they can find success with these goals by way of money.
Offering money through campaign donations or speaking engagements or gifts to legislators is a way to push them in the direction they want. Experienced legislators can avoid these sorts of problems. New people, however, don’t have the experience it takes to push these groups aside. Their inexperience leaves room for misrepresentation of the constituents because legislators are more focused on those with the money. Inexperience can lead to misrepresentation and corruption.
In California, voters saw a lack of leadership among legislators due to the term limits laws. Public policy making began to suffer as a result of these changes. Legislators pass things through their committees because term limits force them to act quickly and maybe with less thought than needed. This can breed irresponsibility, especially fiscal irresponsibility.
So, where are the benefits of term limits?
The benefits are simply not present. They seemed a way to push the “good ole boys” out, but in pushing them out, how did we help ourselves? These people are the ones who know this state, they have the experience to get things done, and they give the people a sense of leadership from those who serve in the legislature.
Some people argue that legislators feel secure without term limits and don’t fight for their constituents, but in looking at their actions, we can prove that this isn’t true. Take, for example, the “rainy day fund,” a back up savings account for economic rough patches in this state. A fund that we needed to use this year and without it our state would have been in a world of hurt. This was developed by the fearsome “good ole boys.” Their care and foresight helped to cushion the blow caused by needed budget cuts and the troubled economy, as well. Needless to say, this kind of foresight indicates the “good ole boys” care.
Term limits will not help Nevada, and it will be interesting to see what happens in 2010. Hopefully, we won’t have the same results as California.