Bill outlines term limits for Kentucky legislators

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (KT) - Kentucky lawmakers may have the opportunity to vote term limits for themselves when the General Assembly convenes.

Rep. Jim DuPlessis, R-Elizabethtown, pre-filed a proposed constitutional amendment that would limit Senate members to four, four-year terms, and House members to six, two-year terms, not including partial terms. 

Legislators would be allowed to run again after sitting out of office for at least two years.

The proposal would be applicable for anyone elected in or after November 2018 and would not be retroactive.

"I believe our elections need to be fair," said DuPlessis.  "As it stands now, the incumbent always has a leg-up on the challenger. It's inherent in our system that the incumbent most often wins the race, because of the imbalance."

DuPlessis said the bill would ensure the General Assembly has a continual flow of new ideas and new people.

"It keeps the power structure from building and it forces the parties to work together.  If you have two people on both sides of the aisle about to term-limit out, perhaps they will work together to get things done," DuPlessis said. "Now, it's all about winning the election."

And with term limits slightly longer than other proposals, DuPlessis said the state would benefit from the institutional knowledge of senior legislators.

"You need some experienced people there who know what they're doing, who know how to organize and get things done, and who aren't controlled by lobbyists and bureaucrats in Frankfort," he said.

DuPlessis said the measure could take some of the big money out of elections.

A previous version of the bill was introduced by DuPlessis in 2016 with bipartisan co-sponsorship. That bill did not make it out of committee, nor did one introduced this year by Sen. Morgan McGarvey, D-Louisville.

DuPlessis said he received several offers to co-sponsor the bill after announcing the pre-filling to the Republican House Caucus on Wednesday. 

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