Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Voters betrayed by the Arkansas gang of four

Here is the Oct. 16 press release from U.S. Term Limits about four state legislators in Arkansas that signed a pro-term limits pledge during the 2012 campaign, but violated it immediately after they won the election.
U.S. Term Limits President Philip Blumel called on four members of the Arkansas General Assembly today to honor their term limits pledge by renouncing support for the anti-term limits amendment, and helping to remove it from the Nov. 2014 ballot.

"These legislators signed a pledge to the people, stating that they would never take any action to lengthen Arkansas' voter-approved term limits of six years in the House and eight in the Senate," Blumel said. "By voting to give themselves 16 years in their seat, they have joined the laundry list of politicians who say one thing and do another. Now is the time for them to restore trust with the people of Arkansas by taking it off the ballot."

In the Arkansas House, Bob Ballinger (R-97) and Randy Alexander (R-88) signed and violated the term limits pledge. In the State Senate, the two offenders were David Sanders (R-15) and Gary Stubblefield (R-6). State Senator Alan Clark (R-13) signed the pledge but did not vote at all on the anti-term limits amendment. All five were first elected to their current offices in 2012.

In 1992, 60% of Arkansas voters placed term limits of three two-year terms on the State House and two four-year terms on the State Senate. The people returned to the polls in 2004 to defend these limits, voting down an extension amendment by a margin of 70%-30%.

Now, politicians are trying again to weaken the popular state law by putting the The
Arkansas Elected Officials Ethics, Transparency, and Financial Reform Amendment of 2014 on the ballot. If approved in the fall of next year, it would double the term limit in the Senate and more than double it in the House.

"The name is not at all what it implies, and the politicians know that." Blumel cautioned. "This sort of sleazy political maneuvering is the reason term limits are so popular in the first place."