Sunday, August 21, 2011

Florida House resolution calls for Congressional term limits!

With a term limits amendment bill in both Houses of Congress, it is time for us to put the pressure on Congress anyway we can to cosponsor and vote for these bills. On way is to have our state legislatures officially call for Congressional term limits.

Rep. Matt Caldwell, a state rep from Lehigh Acres, Fla., is taking the lead in his state. Rep. Caldwell has introduced a resolution – HM 83 – that, if passed, would call for Congressional term limits. Moreover, it resolves that “copies of this memorial be dispatched to the President of the United States, to the President of the United States Senate, to the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives, and to each member of the Florida delegation to the United States Congress.”

Rep. Caldwell successfully shepherded this bill through the House last session, but it died without a Senate companion.

This session will be different. First, Rep. Matt Gaetz of Fort Walton Beach signed on as the first cosponsor. Now, the statewide activist group Campaign for Liberty is considering adding the bill to it focus list for the next session. And term limits are a favorite cause of grass roots political consultant John Hallman, who is on the case.

Here’s how you can help:

1) Send a thank you to the two Matts (Caldwell and Gaetz). Let them know we appreciate it and that this bill is worth their continued efforts.

2) Contact your state rep and ask him or her to cosponsor and vote for this bill. To find your representative, go here and select the FIND YOUR REPRESENTATIVE pull-down menu on the top left.

3) Contact your state senator and ask him or her to introduce a similar bill in the Senate. To find your senator, go here.

4) Write a letter to editor in support of the resolution.

Term limit supporters in other states should follow suit. This is easier than you think. After all, the Caldwell bill is NOT an Article 5 call for a Constitutional Convention, but simply a resolution.

And, unlike Congress members – who have a self-interest in opposing Congressional term limits – state legislators have a self-interested reason is passing them: Congressional term limits would open up seats they can run for. They know as well as anyone that incumbents in Congress statistically can’t lose except via death or indictment.

To follow the bill using the House’s BillTracker, go here. You will also find the full text of the bill.

This is another important salvo in the battle for Congressional term limits. Join the fight!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Adam Hasner Florida's first U.S. Senate candidate to sign Congressional term limits pledge

Former Florida House Speaker Adam Hasner is the first to sign the U.S. Term Limits Amendment Pledge to, if elected, cosponsor and vote for the Congressional term limits Constitutional amendment currently under consideration in both houses of the U.S. Congress.

He would be joining Florida's other senator, Marco Rubio, in cosponsoring the amendment, which was introduced by Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) and cosponsored by 10 senators so far. Other cosponsors include Sens. Rand Paul, Tom Coburn and Mike Lee. A House companion was introduced by Rep. David Schweikert (R-AZ) and immediately cosponsored by Joe Walsh (R-IL). This is the first time in nearly 20 years that a serious term limits bill has appeared in both houses of Congress with sponsorship.

U.S. Term Limits sent a copy of the pledge to every declared Congressional candidate in the United States in July. It reads, using the specifics from the DeMint/Schweikert bill, “I, _____________, pledge that as a member of Congress I will cosponsor and vote for the U.S. Term Limits Amendment of three (3) House terms and two (2) Senate terms and no longer limit."

This formulation is important, as it solidifies the 3/2 consensus hammered out by the term limits movement over the past generation. In the Contract with America era in the early 1990s, differences over details derailed Congressional term limits, as numerous bills were offered up and voted on. Every politician got to vote for some version and brag about it back home without any fear that any one bill might pass. It was there the term limits movement learned how essential it is to stick with the consensus formulation.

It is the people's formulation. Wherever citizens initiate a term limits law, the terms are invariably six or eight years. Whenever politicians initiate it, the terms are usually 12 or even more -- hardly a limit at all!

Adam Hasner was first to sign, but not the last. Let's ask every Congressional candidate in the state to sign the pledge and mail it in to U.S. Term Limits. USTL will send out an announcement email to term limits supporters throughout the state and press releases to district media.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Politicians to take case against voters to Supreme Court?

Yesterday, the appellate court vindicated the constitutionality of Florida's county term limits, removing any immediate threat to Palm Beach County's law and re-establishing Broward County term limits that had been overturned by a lower court judge.

Now, this morning, the Palm Beach Post is reporting that the gaggle of politicians and politically connected lawyers and judges that challenged the Broward law -- which passed by 80% in 2000 -- is mulling over appealing the case to the Florida Supreme Court.

We'll continue to watch and report on the progress of the case, but are not overly concerned. The case for county term limits at the Supreme Court level is far stronger than the narrower appellate level case. There currently is no legal basis for county commissioners to challenge the law, but this may or may not stop them from trying. Stay tuned.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011


Today the Florida 4th District Court of Appeals reversed a lower court decision that overturned voter-approved term limits in Broward County.

In other words, the courts have ruled that county commissioner term limits ARE constitutional in Florida.

It was expected county term limits would win at the Florida Supreme Court level, but many were worried about the appellate court case because it was looking at a narrower question than home rule. Our fear was that local politicians in term-limited counties such as Palm Beach would try to use an appellate decision to void Palm Beach County's law before it got to the Supreme Court. Two Palm Beach County commissioners announced they planned to do just that. But no more.

To read the decision, go here.

Today marks a great victory for the voters and a loss for professional politicians.