The full House, for the second time in eight years, drove a stake through the chance of imposing term limits on the governor and other statewide officeholders.
The proposed constitutional amendment that would have gone to voters was defeated 80-61 on Wednesday. The Senate had passed the proposed amendment last month 27-4.
Rep. Lyle Larson, R-San Antonio, fought for the proposal saying that 36 other states had similar restrictions that allows fresh ideas and talent into the executive branch.
Larson invoked Rick Perry’s long tenure and pointed out that he has controlled state government through making every appointment in the state — the first governor to do so.
Perry has served more than 12 years in the top office and said he will announce in June whether he will seek a fourth full term as governor.
In addition to the governor and lieutenant governor, the bill would have limited the attorney general, comptroller, land commissioner, agriculture commissioner and secretary of state to two, consecutive four-year terms. The three members of the Railroad Commission would be subject to two, consecutive six-year terms.
The Senate last passed a term limit proposal in 1995, which would have restricted both statewide officials and lawmakers. But the resolution, which lacked the backing of then-House Speaker Pete Laney, died in committee without a full House vote.
See here for the background, and here for SJR13. Note that there were 80 votes against SJR13. It didn’t just lack sufficient support to qualify for the ballot, it couldn’t get a majority. I’m rather stunned by that, as I’m sure is Rice prof Mark Jones, who predicted smooth sailing for it in the House in that earlier story about it easily passing the Senate. Here’s the unofficial record vote; by my count, a small majority of Dems voted Yes, while a fairly large majority of Rs voted No. I suspect it may be awhile before we see another attempt to impose term limits. If the Rick Perry argument didn’t work, I don’t know what would.