Griffo's Term Limits Bill Passes Senate

Joseph A. Griffo

April 30, 2014

ALBANY – Senator Joseph A. Griffo continued his quest to limit the power of state government and empower the citizenry, as the state Senate passed his bill Tuesday to place term limits on Legislature leadership positions.

The bill, S.3556, would limit the tenure of the temporary president, speaker and minority leaders to 12 years. It would limit the tenure of any committee chairman to eight years, with the exception of the Rules Committee.

“This is the first step in building a better system of government,” said Griffo, R-Rome. “I appreciate and respect the individuals who serve as leaders. But we know that the longer that a person is in power, the less open and transparent our governing becomes. The indefinite term of leadership gives that position great power and influence, which causes some legislators to act unethically in an attempt to ‘climb the ladder’ or make their power as great as a leader. Imposing term limits will diminish the position and empower many to bring to fresh ideas and fresh approaches to governing.”

The Senate is leading by example, having incorporated this bill into the rules for its chamber. The companion bill, A.7026, now awaits action in the Assembly. It is sponsored by Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, D-Ossining.

Senator Griffo has been working to change the political structure since coming to the Legislature in 2007. His other bills to reform Albany include: 

  • S2214: Provides for initiative and referendum and recall, which would foster greater participatory democracy by allowing voters to place proposed laws on the ballot for New Yorkers to adopt or reject; place an already existing law on the ballot for New Yorkers to reject or accept; and place the question of whether to remove and replace a public official on the ballot.
  • S2231: Removes the constitutional provision that the lieutenant-governor shall act as governor when the governor is absent from the state
  • S3008: Provides for a special election, at the discretion of the governor, to fill vacancies in the office of comptroller and attorney general – empowering the voters to choose the guardian of the state’s pension fund and the state’s chief legal officer, not the Legislature
  • S4602: Provides that the Senate shall be composed of 62 senators, each representing 1 county.
  • Senator Griffo has previously introduced – and will soon again introduce – a bill that would establish term limits for state elected officials. The limit would be 12 years.