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32 U. Tol. L. Rev. 539 (2000-2001)
The Hidden Effects of Term Limits: Losing the Voices of Experience and Diversity

handle is hein.journals/utol32 and id is 549 raw text is: THE HIDDEN EFFECTS OF TERM LIMITS: LOSING THE
Rhine L. McLin
IN 1992 Ohioans voted that [n]o person shall hold the office of State Senator
for a period longer than two successive terms of four years. No person shall
hold the office of State Representative for a period longer than four consecutive
terms of two years.' Term limits were presented to the voters as a way to increase
the general responsiveness of the government and the overall representation of
women and minorities. As Jane Campbell notes, [p]eople wanted more responsive
governments, and term limits were presented as a mechanism for that.2 However,
term limits do not achieve government responsiveness.
Term limits adversely affect the quality of legislation. One of the clearest ways
in which term limits affect the quality of legislation is through the loss of
experienced legislators in the house and senate chambers. Members with legislative
experience are vital to producing quality legislation because they help to ensure
continuity in leadership, they develop relationships across party lines, they are a
means through which long-term legislation can be pursued, and they retain the
institutional memory.
Term limits also affect the quality of legislation by limiting the voice of women
and minorities. Term limits force women and minorities out of office without
ensuring that their seats will be replaced by other women or minorities. Finally,
term limits limit the mentoring capabilities of women and minorities.
Of the ninety-nine members of the Ohio House of Representatives, thirty-six were
term limited in 2000. In addition, thirteen members ended their terms early to
accept other positions and appointments. In the thirty-three-member Senate, six
legislators were term limited in 2000 and three others left early. The leadership
posts in the Ohio legislature are the first to experience the effects of term limits:
The wrenching effect, similar to that experienced in other statehouses with term
* Ohio State Senator for the 5th Senate District since 1994; minority whip since 1998. Senator
McLin also served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1988-1994. She has received an
associate degree in mortuary science, Cincinnati College of Mortuary Science; B.A., Parson College;
M.Ed., Xavier University.
I would like to extend special recognition to my staff, who worked diligently to assist me on this
project. My legislative aide, Jaime Jones, spearheaded the project and enlisted the assistance of our
Legislative Service Commission Intem, Cara Greene, to complete what was clearly a wonderful
collaborative effort.
1. O1o CONST. art. II, § 2 (amended 1992).
2. Karen Hansen, Living Within the Limits, STATE LEGISLATURES, June 1997, at 14.

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