Tom Steyer’s push for term limits is a truly awful idea

“A 2006 report from the National Conference of State Legislatures examined states with term-limited lawmakers. It determined that term limits tend to increase the influence of lobbyists and lead to a “decline in civility” that “reduced legislators’ willingness and ability to compromise and engage in consensus building.”

Term-limited lawmakers, the NCSL explained, “have less time to get to know and trust one another” and “are less collegial and less likely to bond with their peers, particularly those from across the aisle.”

Such lawmakers often do not have enough time to learn how the legislature works or to master difficult policy issues. And they can’t turn to senior colleagues to give them this information because there are no senior colleagues. That “forces term-limited legislators to rely on lobbyists for information,” because lobbyists are able to spend years mastering legislative process and developing institutional memory about recurring policy debates.”

“term limits may foster laziness in lawmakers because, as Nyhan writes, “incumbents who lack a reelection incentive can reduce the effort they devote to their jobs.” He cites an empirical study showing that term-limited lawmakers sponsor fewer bills and are more likely to miss votes.”

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