State Senator Zach Whiting (District 1) has introduced SJR4 the U.S. Term Limits (USTL) Article V application for Iowa to join other states in calling for a convention for proposing a congressional term limits amendment to the U.S. Constitution.
Seven other members of the senate cosponsored the legislation: Dan Dawson (District 8), Mark Lofgren (District 46), Dennis Guth (District 4), Ken Rozenboom (District 40), Tom Shipley (District 11), Brad Zaun (District 20), and Mike Klimesh (District 28).
“Term limits are an important tool that can be used to help bring greater accountability to elected officials at the federal level. Our focus as elected officials should be on service before self, not perpetuity in elected office,” says Whiting. He continued, “Accordingly, I am proud to sponsor the resolution calling for the states to propose a congressional term limits amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
On the federal level, 34 state legislatures can team up for a convention to propose a congressional term limits amendment to the Constitution. The term limits convention effort is being shepherded by the nonpartisan, nonprofit advocacy organization U.S. Term Limits.
According to Nick Tomboulides, Executive Director of U.S. Term Limits, “There are two ways to propose an amendment for term limits: through the Congress or through the states at a national convention. That is why it is important to get support from state legislators, and sponsors like Senator Whiting, to call for a convention to discuss the details of the amendment.”
Tomboulides notes, “More than 79% of Americans have rejected the career politician model and want to replace it with citizen leadership. The way to achieve that goal is through a congressional term limits amendment. Whiting knows this and is willing to work to make sure we reach our goal.”
A poll conducted by McLaughlin & Associates shows that 75% of likely voters in Iowa support term limits on Congress, including strong support across party lines. 80% of Republicans, 69% of Democrats, and 77% of independents in the poll support this important election reform.
If passed in both the house and senate this session, Iowa will join other states in the call for an Article V convention for the exclusive purpose of proposing term limits on the U.S. Congress. Once 34 state legislatures pass similar resolutions on the topic and approve the term limits amendment, it must be ratified by three-fourths (38) of the states to become part of the U.S. Constitution.
In 1995, the Supreme Court ruled in US Term Limits Inc. v. Thornton that states may not impose qualifications for members of Congress that are stricter than those written in the Constitution. Therefore, the only way to impose term limits on Congress would be through a constitutional amendment.