Senate Passes Term Limits for State Legislative Leadership

January 12, 2016

Bill Would Put Into Law the Senate’s Rules Limiting Senate and Assembly Leaders and Committee Chairs to Eight-Year Terms

The New York State Senate today passed legislation (S2722B), sponsored by Senator Joseph Griffo (R-C-I, Rome), that would set into law eight-year term limits for leadership positions in the Senate and Assembly. This bill is consistent with what is already in place in Senate rules and also limits the number of years a legislator can serve as a committee chair or party leader.

Senate Majority Leader John J. Flanagan said, “Senate Republicans have passed this bill numerous times to bring accountability and balance to government. This Legislature can benefit from change, and having these term limits allows us to better serve the people of New York. I am hopeful that the Assembly will join us in passing this important government reform.”

Senator Griffo said, “I am proud that the Senate is once again leading by example in taking steps to help restore the public’s trust in its state government. The public has made clear they expect the best from their elected officials, and I believe the Senate’s passage of my bill to impose term limits on all leaders and committee chairs in both houses of the Legislature will allow more opportunities of our members to have an active voice in the direction and leadership of state government. While the Legislature is full of many hard-working, well-intentioned public servants, clearly the longer a leader remains in power, the greater the temptation there may be for some to amass even more influence. The Senate continues to recognize what must be done in order to welcome fresh and innovative perspectives into positions of power, and we call upon the Assembly to do the same if they are truly serious about providing a better, more trustworthy, system of government.”

The bill limits the tenure of the Temporary President of the Senate, Speaker of the Assembly and minority leaders of both houses to eight years. Legislative committee chairs would also be limited to serving no more than eight consecutive years.

The Senate first voluntarily implemented leadership term limits in 2009 as part of the rules governing the Senate. Adoption of the measure passed today would make them permanent in law for both the Senate and Assembly.

The bill will be sent to the Assembly.