LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Issue two can do one of two things, it could create career politicians, or it could allow enough new blood to continue to flow through the capitol, but with enough experience to still understand the inner workings of the capitol.
Issue two looks to change two major things about term limits in Arkansas. The first one removes the lifetime cap, currently, lawmakers can serve for 16 years, and then they cannot run again, Issue two removes that.
“We don’t want career politicians. We prefer the founders’ view of citizen legislators, not professional legislators,” said Tom Steele
Proponents of Issue two say that is highly unlikely.
“Historically speaking the 15 states across the country that have term limits, those that don’t have lifetime caps generally speaking less than five percent of legislators ever return after leaving office,” said St. Rep. Jim Dotson.
State Rep Jim Dotson was one of the lead sponsors of the amendment says Issue two allows for people to have enough experience to understand the process but not become lifers at the capitol.
“It basically allwos for some folks that have experience to stay in there long enough to get something done in 12 years but not so long that the advantages of incumbency lock anyone else out from being able to challenge them and run for an open seat. “
Tom Steele, who is against Issue two, thinks getting to know the system early is just an excuse to add more time for legislators.
“Sometimes you hear these guys say ‘hey it takes these guys two years to find the bathrooms’ if it takes you two years to find the bathroom you probably need to find a different job,”
According to Steele another glaring problem is the ballot title doesn’t exactly say what the amendment does and that could be misleading to voters.
“They could’ve written a ballot title that actually tells the people what these things do, but they chose not to. So voters should be asking themselves ‘gosh I wonder why they don’t tell us what these things do?’ said Steele
“It was discussed, debated how much of a lengthy ballot title. It’s hard to explain a bunch of stuff in a ballot title so the majority opinion on it was to go with a shorter ballot title and let people do their own research on it,” said Dotson
Issue two also resets the clock if someone leaves office before the full 12 consecutive years, so if someone is voted out after 8 years then that person would get a full 12 if they were reelected to office in the next election cycle.