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Term limit proposal defeated in the House

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The House has rejected a proposed Constitutional amendment that would have imposed term limits on the Governor and the Legislature.

Under HCR 3036, a Governor would be limited to two terms, or 8 years, and a Legislator could serve four terms, or 16 years. The measure would have been retroactive.

It came out of committee on a 7-6 "do not pass" recommendation.

"What we did was recognize the value that we have in our long-term legislators," said Rep. Shannon Roers-Jones (R-Fargo). "We have elections every four years, and that is the voters' opportunity to retire legislators who they feel are ineffective."

The amendment’s author – Rep.  Jeff Magrum (R-Hazelton) – told the House he had been a supporter of term limits before he was elected – and he believes in them more than ever, especially after what he termed the “debacle” last Thursday, when the House voted to expel Rep. Luke Simons (R-Dickinson).

"Seventy-five percent of the members that would be terming out voted against the rule of law," Magrum said. "Is that what they always believed, or has that changed since they got here? It makes us look like a good ol' boys' club, when you don't honor the rule of law and due process."

At that point, House Speaker Kim Koppelman (R-West Fargo) banged his gavel.

"Representative Magrum, you're getting close to disparaging other members, which is against our rules of decorum, so I will ask you to stick to the resolution before us."

Magrum apologized.

The measure failed on a 78 to 12 vote.

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