The following is a guest article from State Rep. David Meeks:
Recently I was named a Friend of Freedom by the Advance Arkansas Institute, and tend to agree with most of their positions on issues because of the conservative values we both hold. You can imagine my surprise then when a rather harsh blog post went up singling me out for what I said about the ethics amendment and the term limits that are apart of that amendment. You can read it here: Term Limits Camouflage.
It should go without saying that they have the right to post whatever they want. The only thing that I ask is that they are fair and are accurate in what they post. In the Term Limits post, there are some things that are not accurate and insinuations that might lead people to the wrong conclusion. People that know me know I am just about as open and transparent as one can be. People also know I am willing to clarify or expand on what I say so that there should no confusion. It is why I am disappointed in the Arkansas Project and also why I am taking time to write this blog post.
The Arkansas Project writes:
“leave term limits the way they are or use legislative trickery to extend them by sneaking an extension into one of the amendments.”
For a little background, this ethics amendment came about because a group called Regnat Populus got together with two legislators to craft this amendment. It is my understanding that the group that pushed most of the ethics reform in the bill to begin with was ok with adding the term limits to the amendment. It is hardly legislative trickery or sneaking anything in the bill.
“As for why the ballot title doesn’t explain that the amendment would extend term limits, Meeks said that ultimately it’s up to each voter to become informed and read the full amendment personally.”
This is one my “flaws”. I tend to trust the voter maybe a little too much. Yes, I realize that not everyone is going to take time to read the whole amendment or even found out what is in the amendment. They will just read the title and vote based on what it says. To that end, I am willing to support a change in the title to reflect that there is a term limits extension in there.
There was also some debate at the meeting over how much the amendment would extend term limits.
He makes good points in this section.
Parenthetical Pause here:
(because two year terms in the Senate don’t count against a members’ terms, some members may serve up to 10 years) (that should be “serve up to 12 years”).
Look, I get it: legislators don’t like term limits.
Actually, I am ok with term limits. I just think that the ones Arkansas have are too strict and are partly responsible for a fast growing state government as well as some of the major issues that have cropped up. Let’s focus the discussion on what is best for Arkansas when it comes to the length of term limits.
As an aside, our founding fathers also discussed the term limits issue and didn’t include them in the Constitution. They made many of the same arguments both for and against as we do today.
I hope this helps to clear up some things surrounding term limits. As always, if you have any questions or need something clarified, feel free to contact me at: email@example.com.
Editor’s note: Rep. David Meeks asked us to run his response to our Monday post on term limits, an issue about which he has every right to disagree with us. We are happy to do this, but we disagree with his suggestion that our post contained inaccuracies. When we asked him what inaccuracies he had identified, he told us that it was inaccurate for us to write that legislators don’t like term limits. Our view, in contrast, is that a five-word general statement about legislators’ views is clearly a matter of opinion or judgment; matters of opinion or judgment can’t really be inaccurate, although they can be well grounded or poorly grounded. To be frank: anybody who thinks it’s false that legislators, as a class, generally don’t like term limits has not spent much time listening to legislators.
Meeks also states that he is willing to support a change in Issue No. 3’s ballot title so as to disclose that it extends term limits. We see this willingness as an empty promise, because we believe, as a matter of law, Meeks can’t do anything about the ballot title at all. Issue No. 3, now that the legislature has approved it, is like a bullet fired from a gun: it will go before the people in its current form in November 2014 — with its misleading claim of “establishing term limits” — and neither Meeks nor any other legislator can change its content or its trajectory at this point.