On the south steps of the Texas Capitol Tuesday, State Rep. Kyle Biedermann (R–Fredericksburg) held a press conference touting recently filed legislation which would put a potential constitutional amendment for term limits for statewide officers and state legislators to the voters during the next election.
His bill, House Joint Resolution 98, would place a 12-year limit on both legislative and statewide elected officers, such as the governor. The proposal as currently drafted would also only apply to those elected after its passage, meaning all currently elected officials, including Biedermann, would be grandfathered out.
“As a state, we will benefit from a pure citizen legislature as opposed to an entrenched, pay-to-play system for both incumbents and favored lobbyists and special interest groups,” said Biedermann. “This will take leaders who will have the courage to stand against business as usual and the status quo.”
Opponents, however, have long argued that term limits would put more power in lobbyists and bureaucrats, who would not be subject to the limitations. Term limits have also been suggested as one of the driving forces behind Colorado’s shift to a blue state in the past decade, in the book The Blueprint: How Democrats Won Colorado.
Despite those arguments, however, term limits remain very popular in Texas, even garnering inclusion in the Republican Party of Texas’ platform. Legislation to implement them, on the other hand, hasn’t had an easy time in the state Capitol.
“The very fact that over 80 percent of Texans want term limits and have supported the measure for decades, and yet it has never once even been brought up for a simple vote on the floor, is the proof for why we need term limits,” Biedermann stated.
Biedermann was joined on stage by State Reps. Steve Toth (R–The Woodlands) and Briscoe Cain (R–Deer Park), as well as Texas businessman Mickey Dunn who has launched the organization Term Limits Texas in order to get the bill passed. In a ceremonial signing, Biedermann was the first to add his signature to an oversized printout of the pledge.
“I don’t know about the rest of this building, but I am listening to the people of Texas, and I am willing to fight for them,” added Biedermann.
HJR 39 has been referred to the House Committee on State Affairs.