New GOP House Speaker Says Term Limits Bad for Arkansas


Excerpts from three article included below:  One on GOP House Speaker Davy Carter & Term Limits,  one from Jonesboro Sun Article opposing term limits; and one on the Arkansas Term Limit Constitutional Amendment


Evidently our new GOP House Speaker Davy Carter has begun a PR campaign to do away with term limits.  A Democrat from Jonesboro, Rep Butch Wilkins D-Bono, is proposing a bill that allows state lawmakers to serve up to 14 years in the House or Senate.    Many of us remember how hard we worked to get this Term Limit amendment passed.  If we ever needed term limits,  it is now so we can vote out those legislators that are not true conservatives and win through primaries the real conservatives and still win the November election in Arkansas since the Democrat stronghold has been broken - that is unless these Republicans turn into Democrats, and the public refuses to support them as well.  GOP speaker Davy Carter also refuses to get behind a movement to require recording committee votes so people will know how legislators voted in committee.


I don't know how Democrat Butch Wilkins thinks he can get a bill passed on term limits since Arkansas added, through a constitutional ballot initiative, an amendment setting forth the terms for this.  See end of email for information about the Amendment to Arkansas Constitution and how it passed 60% to 40%.  Term limits is not perfect, but is so much better than what we had before. 


Excerpts from Jason Tolbert's article entitled

Term limits weaken state Legislature

(You can read the full article at this link:

or type in the name of the article in a search engine,  and it is printed several places. It is also in the Jonesboro Sun online but you have to have a subscription to access it.

40 percent of our state legislators are considered freshmen.


This young Legislature is a product of the Arkansas law on term limits, passed overwhelmingly by voters in 1992. By the election of 1998, the state’s most seasoned lawmakers began terming out. Now, every legislator in office has been elected during the term-limits era.


The result is a Legislature with a lot of newcomers but one with very little experience. That is especially true in the House, where the average legislative experience among members is less than two years. House Speaker Davy Carter, the chamber’s elected leader, took office for the first time in 2009. Unsurprisingly, he is not a fan of term limits.


“Term limits are not working,” said Carter, speaking at the Clinton School of Public Service last week. “It looks pretty self- serving for a guy like me to tell you that, but its true. They don’t work.”


Carter described the impossible task of a representative elected in November having to become an expert on issues ranging from Medicaid to higher education or state budgetary issues by January. It’s not like they can lean on a bunch of experienced lawmakers to be their guides.


The original constitutional amendment was drawn up by a small group of citizens organized by Tim Jacob, a copy machine salesman in Arkansas whose brother, Paul, is a libertarian-minded activist who has spearheaded the term limits movement nationwide. In an interview with the Arkansas Policy Foundation, Tim Jacob said his motivation was to create “more choices at the ballot box.”


In that respect, term limits has been successful. With few incumbents and more open seats, there have been many more contested races both in primaries and in general elections. Forced-out incumbents have been replaced by fresh faces.

The result is that we have a constitutional mandate for an inexperienced state Legislature. And as the House speaker [Davy Carter] put it, Arkansans are being done a disservice.


Jason Tolbert is an accountant and conservative political blogger. His blog — The Tolbert Report — is linked at His email is Full article can be found at this link:


Excerpts from Chris Wessel Editorial (Editor of Jonesboro Sun) Jan 17, 2013  Tile of article: Keep minimum wage, term limits status quo


As for restructuring term limits in the Arkansas Legislature that would allow lawmakers to serve up to 14 years in either chamber, we think that would have a negative effect on state government.


As it stands now, a state constitutional amendment — passed by the voters — allows lawmakers to serve three, two-year terms in the House and two four-year terms in the Senate. If you can't get done what you want to accomplish in six years in the House and eight years in the Senate, you need to go back to civilian life.


If it takes that long to become an expert on how state government works and how it needs to be changed to work better, you've taken far too long to do it.


Term limits are designed to keep popular folks from serving term after term and getting little done except become a celebrity. Term limits tell elected politicians : “You've got this much time to make a difference. Go do it.”

It's exactly what we need in Washington, D.C.


As for the belief that such short term limits lead to nonelected bureaucrats running the state, that would happen no matter the length of service. The bureaucrats are the experts in state government, and they are paid well to be so.


Arkansas Term Limits Initiative, Amendment 4 (1992)


At this link:,_Amendment_4_(1992)



Amendment 4, also known as the Arkansas Term Limits Initiative, appeared as an initiated constitutional amendment on the November 3, 1992 statewide ballot in Arkansas, where it was approved.[1] It became Amendment 73 of the Arkansas Constitution.

Election results

Term Limits Initiative




Approveda Yes






Text of measure

This amendment provides a limit of two terms for the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Auditor, Attorney General and Commissioner of State Lands. It provides a limit of three terms for State Representatives, and a limit of two terms for State Senators. It also provides that persons having been elected to three or more terms as a member of the United States House of Representatives from Arkansas shall not be eligible to appear on the ballot for election to the United States House of Representatives from Arkansas. Lastly, it provides that any person having been elected to two or more terms as a member of the United States Senate from Arkansas shall not be eligible to appear on the ballot for election to the United States Senate from Arkansas.


In 1995, the United States Supreme Court ruled that the part of Amendment 73 that placed limits on members of the U.S. Congress from Arkansas was unconstitutional; however, the part of the law that placed limits on the Arkansas State Legislature were left intact.

See also


Posted January 18, 2013 by Women Action Group