ALBANY – At a press conference today, Senators Joseph Griffo, Chris Jacobs and Assemblywoman Carrie Woerner, along with some of their legislative colleagues, pushed for the implementation of term limits on all elected state offices.
Earlier this year, Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a constitutional amendment that would cap the number of years that legislators and statewide officials could serve. More recently, Republican Gubernatorial Nominee Marc Molinaro announced that he would serve only two terms if elected Governor in November.
The legislators have been strongly advocating for term limits and believe that now is the time to act. They have previously sponsored bills that would cap the number of times that elected officials in the state may serve in office, including:
- S1228, sponsored by Sen. Griffo, amends the state Constitution to limit the tenures of Governor, Comptroller, Attorney General to two consecutive four-year terms and members of the Legislature to six consecutive two-year terms. Assemblywoman Woerner has sponsored a similar bill, A9735, in the Assembly.
- S8405, sponsored by Sen. Griffo, places a two-term, or eight year, limit on the offices of Governor, Comptroller and Attorney General. It also provides for four-year terms in the Senate and Assembly starting in 2022 and provides a three-term, or 12 year, limit on members of the Legislature.
- S676, sponsored by Sen. Jacobs, establishes a limit of three, four-year terms for Governor, Comptroller and Attorney General and limits a person who has served more than two years of a predecessor’s term from being elected to more than two additional terms. Member of the Legislature would be limited to six, two-year terms.
- S5687, sponsored by Sen. Kathy Marchione, limits legislators to no more than three, four-year terms in either the Senate or Assembly. Further, the bill stipulates that no legislator may serve more than 12 consecutive years in either governmental body. Assemblywoman Woerner has sponsored a similar bill, A5830, in the Assembly.
- S887, sponsored by Sen. George Amedore, limits legislators to six, two-year terms in the Senate or Assembly. Legislators would not be able to serve more than 12 years in either body.
- S608, sponsored by Sen. Phil Boyle, would increase the length of the term of office for members of the Legislature from two years to fours years and would limit members of the Legislature from serving more than three consecutive terms.
These proposals would help to restore New York's collective confidence in the executive and legislative branches of state government by ensuring that statewide offices and legislative seats are periodically updated with new officeholders and members. Further, term limits would demonstrate to voters that new ideas would be brought to Albany by a required change in administrations.
“I’ve championed term limits since I was first elected to the Senate, a move that has not always made me popular with my colleagues,” said Senator Griffo. “Imposing term limits will regularly shake up the makeup of state government, which will force change and reinvigorate the legislative process by bringing in new faces and fresh ideas. There are plenty of compelling concepts being proposed that are worth examining to restore trust in government, but real ethics reform must begin with term limits.”
“Term limits are an important good government reform that can help provide greater accountability and foster new ideas in our state government,” said Senator Marchione. “By limiting state legislators to serving three terms of four years, my legislation would give elected officials from both parties more time to focus on thoughtful legislating and responsible governing, as opposed to politically campaigning for office every two years. Term limits would be good for our democracy and ensure that Albany is more accountable and responsive to the people.”
"A major reason why Albany has consistently been ranked one of the most dysfunctional governments in the nation is we have too many elected officials who stay up in Albany far too long,” said Senator Jacobs. "After decades up here they lose perspective on why they were sent here, they stop representing the best interests of their voters but instead make decisions in their own self-interest and to remain in office. We need more citizen legislators who come up here for a set period of time, make a difference, and go back home to live under the laws they created."
“The voters of New York State overwhelmingly support the idea of term limits for their elected officials,” said Senator Boyle. “Let’s give them the opportunity to vote on this important issue with a constitutional referendum.”
“I have always believed that holding office is a civic duty – not a career,” said Senator Amedore. “Term limits are the first step to a more well-rounded, more representative government that will better serve all New Yorkers. New voices and ideas will keep the Legislature innovative and responsive, and provide a fresh perspective to help tackle the issues that plague our communities.”
“Ensuring that our constituents have trust in the public officials they elect to serve them is critical for effective and transparent governance," said Assemblywoman Woerner. "Establishing term limits will increase the flow of new ideas within our state government, provide more citizens with the opportunity to serve their communities, and reduce the influence of special interests on policy-making. I am proud to be a strong and vocal supporter of term limits for elected officials, and I look forward to the day when our efforts to enact them succeed."