Alaska Official Election Pamphlet

BALLOT MEASURE NO. 4: Candidates' Positions on Congressional Term Limits



BALLOT LANGUAGE:
Proposition: This initiative encourages support of an amendment to the U.S. Constitution limiting U.S. Senators to two terms and U.S. Representatives to three terms. State legislators failing to take actions to support the amendment would have printed on the ballot next to their names "VIOLATED VOTER INSTRUCTION ON TERM LIMITS". Members of Congress failing to take such actions would also have this phrase printed next to their names. Non-incumbent candidates for Congress and the state legislature could take a "terms limits" pledge. If they decline, "DECLINED TO TAKE PLEDGE TO SUPPORT TERM LIMITS" would be printed next to their names.

Should this initiative become law?

Yes [ ]
No [ ]

LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS AGENCY SUMMARY:
This measure sets out requirements for term limits. It also amends state law to require that state ballots give information to voters about candidates who fail to support term limits.

Term limits would affect only persons serving in the United States Congress. The requirement to give information about support of term limits would apply to persons running for both federal and state legislative offices.

The measure first instructs candidates for both the state legislature and U.S. Congress to support an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to set term limits. It instructs the state legislature to apply to Congress for a constitutional convention. The limits would be set at three two-year terms for members of the House of Representatives and two six-year terms for members of the Senate.

The measure also amends law relating to candidates both for the state legislature and for Congress. The change would give information on the ballot about a person's support of term limits. For a candidate for re-election who has acted or voted in a way that does not support the term limits amendment, the ballot would state that the candidate violated voter instructions on term limits. For a candidate for election for the first time, the candidate would have a chance to sign a pledge to support term limits. If the person did not sign the pledge, the ballot would state that the person has declined to take the pledge to support term limits. The measure says that support of term limits shall not appear on the ballot if the term limits amendment has reached certain steps toward becoming law.


FULL TEXT OF PROPOSED LAW:
Be it enacted by the people of the State of Alaska
Sec 1. TITLE. This act shall be known as and may be cited as "The Congressional Term Limits Act of 1996".

Sec. 2. FINDINGS AND DECLARATIONS. The People of the State of Alaska find and declare as follows:
(a) The People of Alaska voted by more than 62 percent to limit the terms of U.S. Representatives to three terms and limit U.S. Senators to two terms.
(b) The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that an amendment to the U.S. Constitution is necessary to limit terms of members of Congress.
(c) There are two methods to propose amendments to the U.S. Constitution that must then be ratified by three-fourths of the States, or 38. These methods are
(1) for two-thirds of both houses of the United States Congress to so vote or
(2) for 34 states to apply for an amendment convention to so vote.
(d) The Congress has refused to propose such an amendment, and by a clear majority defeated the same term limits passed by over 62 percent of the Voters of Alaska in 1994.
(e) The Congress has a clear conflict of interest in proposing term limits on themselves.
Sec. 3. PURPOSE AND INTENT. The purpose and intent in enacting this legislation is to secure the following amendment under the provisions of Article V of the United States Constitution by informing voters of acts and omissions by candidates for congressional and legislative office with respect to said constitutional amendment:

CONGRESSIONAL TERM LIMITS AMENDMENT
Sec. A. No person shall serve in the office of the United States Senator for more than two terms, but upon ratification, no person who has held the office of the United States Senator or who then holds the office shall serve in the office for more than one additional term.

Sec. B. No person shall serve in the office of United States Representative for more than three terms, but upon ratification no person who has held the office of United States Representative or who then holds the office shall serve for more than two additional terms.

Sec. C. This article shall have no time limit within which it must be ratified to become operative upon the ratification of the legislatures of three-fourths of the States.

It is the further purpose and intent of this act to instruct all candidates, including incumbents running for retention of office, to use all of his or her delegated powers to secure the amendment to the United States Constitution, as set forth above, and further to specifically instruct the legislature of the State of Alaska to support the following proposed application to Congress:

We, the people, and legislature of the State of Alaska, due to our desire to establish term limits on the Congress of the United States, hereby make application to Congress, pursuant to our power under Article V of the United States Constitution, to call an Article V Convention.

Sec. 4. BALLOT INFORMATION FOR STATE LEGISLATORS. (a) All primary, special and general election ballots shall have "VIOLATED VOTER INSTRUCTION ON TERM LIMITS" printed adjacent to the name of any respective state senator or representative who during the preceding term of office:
(1) fails to vote in favor of the application set forth above when brought to a vote or;
(2) fails to second the application set forth above if it lacks for a second or;
(3) fails to vote in favor of bringing the application set forth above before any committee or subcommittee upon which he or she serves in the respective house or;
(4) fails to propose or otherwise bring to a vote of the full legislative body the application set forth above if it otherwise lacks a legislator who so proposes or brings to a vote of the full legislative body the application set forth above or;
(5) fails to vote against any attempt to delay, table or otherwise prevent a vote by the full legislative body of the application set forth above or;
(6) fails in any way to ensure that all votes on the application set forth above are recorded and made available to the public or;
(7) fails to vote against any change, addition or modification to the application set forth above or;
(8) fails to vote in favor of the amendment set forth above if it is sent to the states for ratification or;
(9) fails to vote against any amendment with longer limits if such an amendment is sent to the states for ratification.
(b) The language "VIOLATED VOTER INSTRUCTION ON TERM LIMITS" when required by any of subsections (1) through (7) shall not appear adjacent to the names of candidates for state legislature if the State of Alaska has made an application to Congress for an Article V convention pursuant to the Act and such application has not been withdrawn, or if a Congressional Term Limits Amendment has been submitted to the States for ratification.
(1) the State of Alaska has made an application to Congress for an Article V amendment pursuant to the Act and such application has not been withdrawn or;
(2) the Congressional Term Limits Amendment set forth above has been submitted to the states for ratification and has been ratified by this state or the Amendment set forth above has become part of the United States Constitution.
(c) The language "VIOLATED VOTER INSTRUCTION ON TERM LIMITS" when required by subsection (8) or (9) shall not appear adjacent to the names of candidates for state legislature if the State of Alaska has ratified the proposed Congressional Term Limits Amendment set forth above.

(d) The language "VIOLATED VOTER INSTRUCTION ON TERM LIMITS" when required by any of subsections (1) through (9) shall not appear adjacent to the names of candidates for state legislature if the proposed congressional Term Limits Amendment set forth above has become part of the United States Constitution.

Sec. 5. BALLOT INFORMATION FOR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS. (a) All primary, special and general election ballots shall have "VIOLATED VOTER INSTRUCTION ON TERM LIMITS" printed adjacent to the name of any United States Senator or Representative who during the preceding term of office:
(1) fails to vote in favor of the proposed Congressional Term Limits Amendment set forth above when brought to a vote or;
(2) fails to second the proposed Congressional Term Limits Amendment set forth above if it lacks for a second before any proceeding of the legislative body or;
(3) fails to propose or otherwise bring to a vote of the full legislative body the proposed Congressional Term Limits Amendment set forth above if it otherwise lacks a legislator who so proposes or brings to a vote of the full legislative body the proposed Congressional Term Limits Amendment set forth above or;
(4) fails to vote in favor of all votes bringing the Congressional Term Limits Amendment set forth above before any committee or subcommittee of the respective house upon which he or she serves or;
(5) fails to reject any attempt to delay, table or otherwise prevent a vote by the full legislative body of the proposed Congressional Term Limits Amendment set forth above or;
(6) fails to abstain or vote against any proposed constitutional amendment that would increase term limits beyond those in the proposed Congressional Term Limits Amendment set forth above regardless of any other actions in support of the proposed Congressional Term Limits Amendment set forth above or;
(7) sponsors or cosponsors any proposed constitutional amendment or law that would increase term limits beyond those in the proposed Congressional Term Limits Amendment set forth above or;
(8) fails in any way to ensure that all votes on the proposed Congressional Term Limits Amendment set forth above are recorded and made available to the public.
(b) The language "VIOLATED VOTER INSTRUCTION ON TERM LIMITS" shall not appear adjacent to the names of candidates for Congress if the Congressional Term Limits Amendment set forth above is before the states for ratification or has become part of the United States Constitution.

Sec. 6. BALLOT INFORMATION ON TERM LIMIT PLEDGE FOR NON-INCUMBENTS. (a) Non-incumbent candidates for United States Senator and Representative, and state senator and representative shall be given an opportunity to take a "Term Limits" pledge regarding Term Limits each time they file to run for such office. Those who decline to take the "Term Limits" pledge shall have "DECLINED TO TAKE PLEDGE TO SUPPORT TERM LIMITS" printed adjacent to their name on every primary and general election ballot.
(b) The "Term Limits" pledge shall be offered to non-incumbent candidates for United States Senator and Representative, and to non-incumbent candidates for state senator and representative until a Constitutional Amendment which limits the number of terms of United States Senators to no more than two and United States Representatives to no more than three shall have become part of our United States Constitution.
(c) The "Term Limits" pledge that each non-incumbent candidate, set forth above, shall be offered is as follows:
I support term limits and pledge to use all my legislative powers to enact the proposed Constitutional Amendment set forth in the Congressional Term Limits Act of 1996. If elected, I pledge to vote in such a way that the designation "VIOLATED VOTER INSTRUCTION ON TERM LIMITS" will not appear adjacent to my name.

_________________________
Signature of Candidate
(d) The language "DECLINED TO TAKE PLEDGE TO SUPPORT TERM LIMITS" shall not appear adjacent to the names of non-incumbent candidates for congress or the legislature if the Congressional Term Limits Amendment set forth above has become part of the United States Constitution.

Sec. 7. DESIGNATION. (a) The Lieutenant Governor and state election officials shall be responsible for making a determination as to whether state and federal legislators and non-incumbent candidates shall have placed adjacent to their name on the election ballot "VIOLATED VOTER INSTRUCTION ON TERM LIMITS" or "DECLINED TO TAKE PLEDGE TO SUPPORT TERM LIMITS".
(b) The determination as to whether or not "VIOLATED VOTER INSTRUCTION ON TERM LIMITS" or "DECLINED TO TAKE PLEDGE TO SUPPORT TERM LIMITS" shall be placed adjacent to a candidate's name shall be made at a time necessary to ensure placement of that designation on the ballot after a forty-five (45) day public comment period.
(c) If the official(s) with the authority to determine whether or not the designation "VIOLATED VOTER INSTRUCTION ON TERM LIMITS" or "DECLINED TO TAKE PLEDGE TO SUPPORT TERM LIMITS" shall be placed adjacent to a candidate's name choose(s) not to place such designation adjacent to the name of a senator or representative for state or federal office, any citizen may sue within the 45 day public comment period to have such a designation made. Upon the filing of a suit, such a designation shall be made unless the candidate or the official(s) responsible for determining whether or not the designation shall appear adjacent to the candidate's name can show by clear and convincing evidence that the candidate has met the requirements set forth in this amendment and therefore should not have the designation adjacent to the candidate's name.

Sec. 8. SEVERABILITY. If any portion, clause, or phrase of this initiative is, for any reason, held to be invalid or unconstitutional by a court of competent jurisdiction, the remaining portions, clauses, and phrases shall not be affected, but shall remain in full force and effect.


STATEMENT IN SUPPORT:
Voting yes on Proposition #4 will be the first thing you can do to put term limits on members of Congress and help end business as usual in Washington, D.C. Proposition #4 puts you back in charge of your government. Two years ago the citizens of Alaska passed congressional term limits with 63 percent of the vote only to be thwarted by arrogant judges and ignored by career politicians. This year we are back and you can make congressional term limits a reality by voting "Yes" on Proposition #4.

Proposition #4 will impose term limits on all members of Congress, and not single out Alaska's delegation.

Today's election process heavily favors incumbents. Through a list of advantages available only to incumbents paid for by you, such as taxpayer financed bulk mailings, highly paid and trained political staffs, pork barrel politics and special interest money. Simply put, a member of congress can have a job for life if they play their cards right - and most of them do.

A yes vote on Proposition #4 is the only way to level the playing field and let fresh ideas and new faces into the system of entrenched career politicians. A yes vote on Proposition #4 is about cleaning out the system of seniority and power accumulation and replacing it with citizen legislators who know what it is like to live outside of government. Citizen legislators are more likely to work for the good of the country instead of the good of the special interests that fuel the perpetual reelection campaigns of the career politician.

We need citizen legislators in this country, not masters of parliamentary games and backroom deals. For all of their experience, all they have to show is skyrocketing debt and inefficient programs that do more harm than good. We need the kind of common sense in government that comes from people who know what it is like to run a private business, to teach children in schools or any number of other fields in the private sector.

Proposition #4 will lead to greater citizen participation in government. More open seats will allow more people than ever before to run for and win seats in Congress.

Since 1990, 23 million Americans have voted for congressional term limits in 23 states. Instead of listening to the people, the career politicians looked to the Courts for protection. In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court sided with the politicians over the people. Proposition #4 gives the power back to the people. The President, 40 governors, including Alaska's, and 20 state legislators, as well as thousands of cities, including Anchorage, have term limits for elected officials. Congress has a clear conflict of interest on term limits. We hold the key to real reform and Proposition #4 moves toward the day when all of Congress will serve under term limits. Vote YES on Proposition #4.

Edward Burke, Chairman
ALASKA TERM LIMIT COALITION
(907) 277-7424


STATEMENT IN OPPOSITION:
This ballot measure calls for holding a CONSTITUTIONAL CONVENTION. Had this measure been fully explained, Alaska voters would never have signed petitions to get it on the ballot. Under the banner of term limits, petitioners have induced voters to sign a document to force our state legislators to call the first constitutional convention since our Founding Fathers met in Philadelphia in 1787.

An Article V constitutional convention is a process for making amendments (in the plural) to the United States Constitution. America's top legal scholars believe that it is dangerous because it could adopt changes in the entire Constitution and Bill of Rights.

Chief Justice of the United States Warren Burger: "After a Convention is convened it will be too late to stop the Convention if we don't like its agenda...A new Convention could plunge our nation into constitutional confusion and confrontation at every turn..."

Supreme Court Associate Justice Arthur Goldberg: "..one of the most serious problems Article V poses is a runaway convention. There is no enforceable mechanism to prevent a convention from reporting out wholesale changes in our Constitution and Bill of Rights."

Gerald Gunther, Professor of Law, Stanford University: "The fear that a constitutional convention could become a 'runaway' convention and propose wholesale changes in our Constitution is by no means unfounded. Rather, this broad view of the authority of a convention reflects the consensus of most constitutional scholars who have commented on the issue...I have developed lengthy arguments, legal and practical, that support the case that there is no effective way to limit the agenda of a convention, as have many other scholars."

No matter what else Ballot Measure 4 may contain, the application to Congress to call a convention with power to make fundamental, structural changes in the whole Constitution fatally infects it with power to do irreparable harm.

Our Constitution already contains checks and balances that limit the power of our federal government. Would a new constitutional convention be more likely to further limit the federal government's power or to expand its power? Do you want today's politicians making "wholesale changes" to our Constitution? Our Constitution is not flawed, it only needs to be followed and it is up to the voters to ensure that it is.

Additionally, state legislators who oppose this measure would have wording placed beside their names on future ballots accusing them of failure to support term limits. This misrepresents the motives of the legislators who honored their oaths of office by refusing to endanger the Constitution in an Article V convention. An identical ballot measure in Idaho was declared unconstitutional by the Attorney General. This negative notation on ballots results in the government taking a side on an issue and using the power of government to influence the outcome of elections.

We would be foolish indeed to endanger our entire system of government to expel those members of Congress whom the voters can retire any time they decide to do so.

Bill Spearman
Alaska TRIM Committee
(907) 248-0792



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