The Florida legislature today officially called on the U.S. Congress to pass and send to the states for ratification a constitutional amendment limiting Congressional terms in office.
The resolution, passed by acclamation in both houses of the Florida legislature, will be sent to the president of the United States, Speaker of the U.S. House, president of the U.S. Senate and each member of the Florida Congressional delegation.
Florida is the first state to take this step, but it will not be the last. With term limits polling at all-time highs and the Congress at record lows, pressure is building around the nation for Congress to take action.
Sen. Jim DeMint and Rep. David Schweikert have introduced a constitutional amendment (SJR 11 and HJR 71, respectively) limiting congressional terms in the Senate and House. While the Florida action does not specifically mention any specific legislative proposal, they are the first state to go on record in the past decade supporting a congressional term limitation constitutional amendment. Voters overwhelmingly supported Florida’s state constitutional limits on state legislators in 1992 with 77 percent support. Polling from Quinnipiac University in 2009 suggests 82 percent of Floridians continue to support term limits on public officials.
Nationally, the support for term limits remains strong with 78 percent of Americans supporting congressional term limits according to a September 2010 poll conducted for FoxNews by Public Opinion Dynamics. Support is strong across partisan lines with 84 percent of Republicans favoring the idea while 74 percent of Democrats and 74 percent of Independents also support limiting congressional terms.
Passage of the term limits constitutional amendment requires a two-thirds vote in the House and Senate and ratification by three-quarters (38) of the states in order to become part of the Constitution. The states are the easy part. The trick is getting through the U.S. Congress and this official call from a important state like Florida is a big help.
The Florida resolution was introduced by State Rep. Matt Caldwell (HM83) in the Florida House and Sen. Joe Negron (SM672) in the Senate.
"The evidence is in. Term limits work,” said Rep. Matt Caldwell of Lehigh Acres. "New York, Illinois and Florida have all been faced with tough decisions on how to balance their state budgets over the last few years. Only one of these states has term limits and only one of these states has cut their budgets to match their revenues and refused to raise taxes."
"Congress is on a collision course with federal bankruptcy and our last, best hope is to bring serious and permanent change to Washington, D.C.," he said.