Sen. Mike Schulz, R-Altus, has won approval for a proposed constitutional amendment allowing most statewide office holders to remain in office 12 years, the amount legislators can serve, before being term limited. The measure was approved by the full Senate Wednesday on a vote of 32 to 12.
“Ours was the first state in the nation to approve legislative term limits, and Oklahomans still support them strongly,” Schulz said. “The 12 year limit for legislators has worked well, and I think extending that to other statewide offices will benefit the agencies they administer and our citizens.”
Schulz said in 2010, term limits of eight years were approved for the lieutenant governor, state auditor and inspector, attorney general, state treasurer, labor commissioner, insurance commissioner and superintendent of public instruction. The proposed constitutional amendment would give those office holders the ability to serve an additional four years. The governor would still be limited to eight years.
“Allowing 12 years of service would give statewide office holders the opportunity to increase their expertise and improve the administration of their agencies, but still keeps term limits in place, in keeping with the will of the people,” Schulz said.
A recent poll examining the issue of modifying term limits for statewide offices supports Schulz’s proposal. The survey by SoonerPoll showed 71 percent of Oklahomans would like to see standardized term limits for all state elected officials of no more than 12 years with the exception of the governor.
SJR 45 now moves to the House of Representatives for further consideration. If approved, the proposal would be placed on the November 2016 general election ballot for voters to decide.