LANSING (MIRS News) – U.S. Term Limits is aware of the term limit reform coalition of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, Voters Not Politicians (VNP), Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey (R-Clarklake) and House Speaker Lee Chatfield (R-Levering), even though it only became known to the public when MIRS broke the story a few days ago.
“We’ve seen some articles about it this week,” said Scott Tillman, of U.S. Term Limits, the national organization that promotes term limits and steps in to defend existing term limit laws. “There isn’t any bill, yet — except the one put in by the lawmaker from Iron Mountain [HJR H, sponsored by Rep. Beau LeFave (R-Iron Mountain)]. But that’s nothing new, somebody puts one in nearly every session.”
“The Michigan Chamber wanting to get rid of or change term limits isn’t new either,” Tillman, who lives in Kentwood, continued. “The Chamber’s been wanting and trying to do something about term limits for 20 years.”
MIRS asked what U.S. Limits is going to do about what’s taking place now?
“Right now, we’ll ask them to keep their hands off it,” Tillman said. “We’re not interested in compromising on Michigan’s term limits. We’re also always working at the grassroots level. If you ask the voters about term limits; you’ll find out that if they want anything done to them, it’s to make them shorter.
“The story in Michigan is the same as in other states,” Tillman continued. “Term limit opponents blame term limits for everything that goes wrong and claim their government can’t function as it should under term limits. What they can’t explain is why there are as many or even worse problems where there aren’t term limits. How do they explain the government shutdowns in New York and Illinois? And of course, there’s also the example of what goes on at the national level.”
MIRS asked at what point U.S. Term Limits would really step up its activity against term limit reform efforts in Michigan: When a term limit reform plan reaches a certain stage of development? When a bill is introduced that seems to have serious momentum? When?
“There’s no set time,” Tillman said. “We do talk to legislators. We stepped in in 2002, 2004 and 2008. In June, we became more active in Shirkey’s district after reading what he’d said on Mackinac Island.”
The power of U.S. Term Limits isn’t lost on Public Policy Associates CEO Sam Singh, the former House Minority Leader, who spoke to MIRS Monday today. He specifically mentioned the Washington D.C. group as being historically willing to drop money into Michigan to stop a term limits reform movement.
“They will come in and blanket the state with a lot of money so you’re going to need people on the ground and that’s where Voters Not Politicians can be a very powerful ally in this conversation,” Singh said.
MIRS asked Tillman about the “cash register” radio ads that ran in the autumn of 2001, claiming the Michigan Legislature was scheming to get rid of term limits even though no such bill had even been introduced.
He said he didn’t remember it.
Here’s why: that ad was actually paid for by Americans for Limited Terms (ALT) which in 2002 changed from being a single-issue organization and was renamed “Americans for Limited Government.”
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