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House Speaker William Batchelder: Voters Should Consider Changing Term Limits

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A key state lawmaker says a poll on term limits is pushing him toward a goal he has on that issue. Statehouse correspondent Andy Chow talked to Ohio’s Speaker of the House to get his take on the poll.

Thursday, May 29, 2014 at 5:24 pm

House Speaker Bill Batchelder says he’d like to see the voters of Ohio take on the issue of term limits as early as this year. Term limits require a legislator to leave a chamber after eight consecutive years.

Batchelder was forced out of the legislature when the term limits law passed in the 90s, and he returned in 2007. He’s leaving at the end of this year because he is, once again, term limited in the House.

A new poll from the University of Akron shows a majority would accept extending term limits to 12 years. This is encouraging to Batchelder, who says lawmakers must approach the situation with caution.

“I’d love to see it on the ballot in November," Batchelder said. "I don’t know what the governor would like and haven’t talked to him about it. Obviously we could put it on in August -- that’s a much lighter turnout. I think that might be harmful. For one thing, anybody who’s in favor of term limits would say, ‘Well look at that, they don’t even want to have it with a heavy turnout decide it.’”

In order to put the issue on the ballot, the General Assembly would have to pass a resolution. That would most likely mean reconvening during summer recess. Batchelder says he’ll have to talk to more leaders about the issue first.

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