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Bill Would Create Term Limits for State Lawmakers

A delegate says the Maryland General Assembly is broken with a lack of transparency and one tax increase after another.
FREDERICK, Md. - A delegate says the Maryland General Assembly is broken with a lack of transparency and one tax increase after another.

Term limits apply for the U.S. president but that's not the case in the Maryland State House. Delegate Michael Hough says he hopes to do something about it.

"I'm introducing a bill that would say you can't serve more than 12 years, which would be three terms in the Maryland House or in the Maryland Senate," said Hough, (R) - Frederick/Washington Counties.

Hough says Maryland has the longest-serving senate president and house speaker in the entire nation, and the current house committee chairs have a combined 181 years in office.

"I think what happens is people get down there, and they lose touch," Hough said. "You see it time and time again with all this legislation. They can put themselves in a position where they can gerrymander their districts. They can reassure their reelection. PACs and other insiders in Annapolis support them, so what they're doing is they constantly increase spending and increase taxes."

Hough says he thinks the bill would make it harder for career politicians to cut backroom deals and better represent their constituents, but Senator Ron Young says something else could stop legislators from serving too many terms.

"We already have term limits. It's called an election every four years," said Young, (D) - Frederick/Washington Counties.

Young, whose political career began in 1970, says experience is an important thing to have.

"About the time somebody learns what they're really doing, they could be out of office," Young said. "I have a problem with term limits, particular in local government because there's a real strong learning curve, and leadership makes a difference there."

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, 15 states have term limits.

"My hope is to get back to what our founding fathers wanted," Hough said. "George Washington was the model. George Washington served his eight years and returned back to Mount Vernon and became a private citizen."

It's a decision your lawmakers will make when session begins on January 8, 2014. 

Hough will introduce three other government reform bills this session. The  bills include a two-thirds majority vote to raise taxes, cameras in the state  house, and lobbying reform.
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