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Senate Executive Committee debates proposal to set term limits for lawmakers

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s Senate considered a bill that would create term limits for members of the General Assembly Wednesday.

State Sen. Eric Buckson (R-Dover) made term limits a core talking point during his primary campaign against former Sen. Colin Bonini, who served in the General Assembly for nearly three decades before his resounding loss to Buckson last year.

Buckson is now proposing a constitutional amendment that would set a cap of seven terms for state Representatives and four terms for state Senators, albeit while allowing lawmakers to change chambers.

During a Senate Executive Committee hearing Wednesday, Senate President Pro Tem David Sokola (D-Newark) was skeptical, arguing voters should determine how many terms their lawmakers serve.

Buckson responded that the state should strike a balance between leaving it to voters and preventing the legislature from stagnating.

“It is fair to say, ‘let the voters decide but then max out and move on," he said. "Do your thing, let fresh blood and fresh ideas present themselves.”

Other committee members worried that term limits would limit the legislature's institutional knowledge.

The committee has not yet released its decision on whether to move forward with the constitutional amendment.

Paul Kiefer comes to Delaware from Seattle, where he covered policing, prisons and public safety for the local news site PubliCola.