RALEIGH — State Rep. G.L. Pridgen, the only Republican in Robeson County’s legislative delegation, introduced a bill in the House on Wednesday calling for term limits for members of the state General Assembly.
House Bill 1220 calls for legislators, both in the House and Senate, to be limited to three consecutive four-year terms. Legislators now serve two-year terms.
The bill, which would require a voter referendum to amend the state constitution, has been forwarded to a House judiciary committee for review.
Pridgen, who represents Robeson, Hoke and Scotland counties, is serving the final year of his first two-year term. He has publicly stated on numerous occasions that he will serve no more than six years as an elected official.
“People shouldn’t be getting elected to office and then spending a lifetime in Raleigh,” Pridgen said. “I think that’s important.”
Pridgen said that a bill last year that called for legislators to serve no more than eight years died in committee.
“I tried to draw this bill so it is favorable to legislators who have served in the General Assembly for several years,” he said. “I need their support to get this bill passed.”
Pridgen told The Robesonian late Wednesday that the two significant parts of his bill that should be palatable to most legislators include increasing terms from the current two years to four years, and providing for veteran legislators to continue to serve up to an additional 12 years once the limit of three consecutive four-year terms terms goes into effect.
Pridgen said that “technically” his bill could be approved during the General Assembly’s current short session, and be placed on the Nov. 6 general election ballot as a referendum for a constitutional amendment.
“Because it’s a constitutional amendment the people will have to vote on it,” he said. “According to numbers reported by the Civitas Institute, polls show that more than 70 percent of state voters support term limits for state legislators.”
Pridgen said that his bill appears to be getting a warm reception from his fellow legislators in the House. Although several legislators have already signed on as bill co-sponsors, more — both Republicans and Democrats — are expected to sign on by today’s deadline of 5 p.m., he said.
“We’ll just have to see how this goes,” Pridgen said. “I put a lot of thought into this bill.”
— Reach staff writer Bob Shiles at 910-272-6117 or firstname.lastname@example.org.