Ballot Measure 7
Term Limits Pledge For Candidates


BALLOT LANGUAGE

This bill would require the lieutenant governor to allow candidates for the United States Congress or Alaska Legislature to make a term limits pledge. A candidate would pledge to limit service to three terms in the U.S. House and two in the Senate or to eight out of 16 years in the Alaska Legislature. The bill would require printing "signed term limits pledge" next to the pledging candidate's name on the ballot and other state election material. It would similarly require printing "broke term limits pledge" if a pledging candidate seeks a term exceeding the term limits in the pledge.

SHOULD THIS INITIATIVE BECOME LAW?
Yes [ ]
No [ ]


LEGISLATIVE AFFAIRS AGENCY SUMMARY

This measure would allow, but not require, candidates for the U.S. Congress and the state legislature to submit a term limits pledge. Candidates for the U.S. House of Representatives could pledge not to serve in that body for more than 3 terms after the measure becomes law. Candidates for the U.S. Senate could pledge not to serve in that body for more than 2 terms after the measure becomes law. Candidates for the state legislature could pledge not to serve in the state legislature for more than 8 years in any 16 year period after the measure becomes law.

The lieutenant governor would print certain information next to a pledged candidate's name on every election ballot and in all state sponsored voter education material in which the candidate's name appears as a candidate for the office to which the pledge referred. If a candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives submitted a pledge, the phrase "Signed TERM LIMITS pledge: Will serve no more than 3 terms" would appear. If a candidate for the U.S. Senate submitted a pledge, the phrase "Signed TERM LIMITS pledge: Will serve no more than 2 terms" would appear. If a candidate for the state legislature submitted a pledge, the phrase "Signed TERM LIMITS pledge: Will serve no more than 8 years" would appear. However, if a candidate submitted a term limits pledge and any time thereafter qualifies as a candidate for a term that would exceed the number of terms or years set forth in the pledge, the phrase "Broke TERM LIMITS pledge" would appear. To be timely, a pledge must be submitted to the Lieutenant Governor at a time up until 15 days prior to the Lieutenant Governor's certification of the ballot. Service in office for more than one-half of a term would be deemed service for a term.

The measure would be severable. If any portion is held invalid, the remaining portion to the fullest extent possible would be given the fullest force and application. The state-recognized proponents and sponsors of the measure would be given standing to defend it. Findings, declarations, purpose, and intent language is included in the measure.


FULL TEXT OF PROPOSED LAW

Be it enacted by the people of the State of Alaska:

SECTION 1. TITLE.
This act shall be known as and may be cited as "The Term Limits Pledge Act of 1998".

SECTION 2. FINDINGS AND DECLARATIONS.
The people of the State of Alaska find and declare as follows: (a) Polls of the People of Alaska indicated that a clear majority favor Federal and State legislators serving only a limited number of terms.
(b) The United States Congress and the Alaska Legislature have a clear conflict of interest in proposing term limits on themselves and have consistently refused to limit their own terms.
(c) The voters of Alaska want to elect Federal and State legislators that pledge to limit their own terms.
(d) The voters of Alaska want to know which candidates for the United States Congress and the Alaska Legislature support term limits and the concept of a citizen legislature.

SECTION 3. PURPOSE AND INTENT.
The purpose and intent in enacting this legislation is to require the Lieutenant Governor to permit but not require any candidate for the United States Congress and the Alaska State Legislature to submit to the Lieutenant Governor an executed copy of the applicable Term Limits Pledge set forth in Section 4 of this Act up until 15 days prior to the Lieutenant Governor's certification of the ballot in order for the ballot information set forth in subsections (a), (b) and (c) of Section 5 of this Act to be included on that ballot.

SECTION 4. TERM LIMITS PLEDGE.
(a) The Lieutenant Governor shall permit but not require any candidate for the United States Congress and the Alaska Legislature to submit to the Lieutenant Governor an executed copy of the Term Limits Pledge set forth in subsection (b) of this section up until 15 days prior to the Lieutenant Governor's certification of the ballot in order for the ballot information set forth in subsections (a), (b) and (c) of Section 5 of this Act to be included on that ballot.
(b) The Term Limits Pledge will be as set forth herein and will incorporate the applicable language in [ ] for the office the candidate seeks:

Term Limits Pledge for Candidates for the United States Congress:

I voluntarily pledge not to serve in the United States [House of Representatives more than 3 terms] [Senate more than 2 terms] after the effective date of this provision and authorize the Lieutenant Governor to notify the voters of this action by placing the applicable ballot information, "Signed TERM LIMITS pledge: Will serve no more than [3 terms] [2 terms]" or "Broke TERM LIMITS pledge" next to my name on every election ballot and in all state sponsored voter education material in which my name appears as a candidate for the office for which the pledge refers.
_____________________________ _________
Signature Date

Term Limits Pledge for Candidates for the Alaska Legislature:

I voluntarily pledge not to serve in the Alaska Legislature for more than 8 years in any 16 year period after the effective date of this provision and authorize the Lieutenant Governor to notify the voters of this action by placing the applicable ballot information, "Signed TERM LIMITS pledge: Will serve no more than 8 years" or "Broke TERM LIMITS pledge" next to my name on every election ballot and in all state sponsored voter education material in which my name appears as a candidate for the office for which the pledge refers.
_____________________________ _________
Signature Date

SECTION 5. BALLOT INFORMATION AND IMPLEMENTATION.
(a) The Lieutenant Governor shall place on every election ballot and in all state sponsored voter education material the applicable ballot information, "Signed TERM LIMITS pledge: Will serve no more than [3 terms] [2 terms]" next to the name of any candidate for the office of United States Representative and United States Senator who has ever executed the Term Limits Pledge except when subsection (c) of this section applies.
(b) The Lieutenant Governor shall place on every election ballot and in all state sponsored voter education material the ballot information, "Signed TERM LIMITS pledge: Will serve no more than 8 years" next to the name of any candidate for the Alaska Legislature who has ever executed the Term Limits Pledge except when subsection (c) of this section applies.
(c) The Lieutenant Governor shall place on every election ballot and in all state sponsored voter education material the ballot information, "Broke TERM LIMITS pledge" next to the name of any candidate who at any time executes the applicable Term Limits Pledge and thereafter qualifies as a candidate for a term that would exceed the number of terms or years set forth in the applicable Term Limits Pledge.
(d) For the purpose of this section, service in office for more than one-half of a term shall be deemed service for a term.
(e) The state-recognized proponent(s) and sponsor(s) of this initiative shall have the standing to defend it.
(f) The Lieutenant Governor shall implement this section by rule as long as that rule does not alter the intent of this section.

SECTION 6. SEVERABILITY.
If any portion of this section is held invalid for any reason, the remaining portion to the fullest extent possible shall be severed from the void portion and given the fullest force and application.


STATEMENT IN SUPPORT

Medical Doctor and U.S. Congressman Tom Coburn (Oklahoma), in announcing that he would not serve beyond a third term said, "I believe more than ever that our nation's problems have been created because career politicians have set themselves apart as an elite class of people trying to dictate to us how we run our lives."

That's why we, the people of Alaska, voted overwhelmingly for mandatory term limits in 1994 and 1996, only to have those votes struck down by the courts. We felt that career politicians really don't represent us.

Only citizen legislators who have limited their terms have the independence to buck leadership and do the right thing for the people of Alaska and all Americans. The perks and privileges that career politicians get are so great that their number one priority becomes reelection, not doing what is right for our state and country.

A YES vote on Ballot Measure 7 will improve communication between candidates and voters. Voters have a vital interest in knowing if their state and federal representatives intend to limit their terms or not. Many citizens want to vote for candidates who will limit their time in office. Some citizens prefer those who do not. The declaration will give all voters the information they need to make more informed decisions.

Career politicians have given us out-of-control government. They have given themselves perks, privileges and million-dollar pensions. The best way to change our bloated and intrusive government is Term Limits.

Term Limits encourage greater citizen participation in government by ensuring regular turnover in office. Citizens of all professions and backgrounds will run for office. Any citizen, rich, poor or from any walk of life has an opportunity to win an election without an incumbent running.

Term Limits decrease the influence of unelected people with too much power in our present system. With regular turnover, lobbyists will not be able to exploit the cozy relationships they presently have with career politicians. Lobbyists, bureaucrats and special interests will lose power with Term Limits in effect. That's why they oppose Term Limits, and why we need Term Limits in Washington and Juneau!

Term Limits ensure greater fiscal responsibility and lower taxes. The longer politicians stay in office, the more they spend our tax dollars.

Term Limits reduce corruption and open our government to new people with new ideas.

The people of Alaska have a right to provide candidates the opportunity to voluntarily speak their intentions either to serve a limited time in Congress or the state legislature or to pursue a career in politics. Vote YES on Ballot Measure 7 - the Term Limits Pledge for Candidates.

Alaskans for Legislative Reform
F. Robert Bell
(907) 274-5257


STATEMENT IN OPPOSITION

Protect Alaska's Interest. Uphold Alaska's Constitution. Protect Your Right To A Fair Ballot. Vote NO on 7! If you care about Alaska and your right to vote - Vote NO on this phony proposition.

This term limit measure would do three things against Alaskans' interests, and this is why you should Vote NO on 7:

1. Term limits weaken Alaska's power in Congress. Alaskans wanted statehood to have representation in Congress. We now have two powerful U.S. Senators, Stevens and Murkowski. Congressional committee chairmanships come with longevity. Not having term limits allows Alaska's Senators to have far more influence than the Senators from California, the most populous state. Don't undercut Alaska's power -- Vote NO on 7.

2. Term limits would undermine the balance of power established under the Alaska State Constitution, strengthening the state bureaucracy at the expense of the State Legislature.

Alaska's Constitutional Convention acted specifically to not limit legislative terms to strengthen the Legislative Branch in the face of the Executive Branch's permanent state bureaucracy. Alaska's Constitution has worked effectively since the first state legislature was elected 40 years ago. NO 7.

3. Messing up the ballot with biased language is against the First Amendment -- it is plain WRONG!

Ballot Measure 7 would be bad law. It would undermine our free election system by adding remarks next to a candidate's name to make him or her look bad.

The public has a right to receive a clean ballot. The time for campaigning on election issues is before voters step into the voting booth, not while reading candidates' names on the ballot.

Candidates should not be judged by one issue, such as term limits, that someone paid to get on the ballot. They should not be coerced by whatever political party is in power that may want to use the ballot as propaganda on abortion, school prayer, wolf control, or other controversial subjects.

Our ballots will no longer be neutral slates of names, but will be cluttered with derogatory messages on particular issues pushed by special interests. To keep our election process free, fair and neutral, Vote NO on 7.

Limiting politicians' terms sounds great on the surface, but 7 is not in the interest of Alaska. It is part of a continuing national strategy of U.S. Term Limits, a Washington, D.C., group that has provided funds for the initiative efforts in Alaska and other states. Alaska supporters of this idea may be well-meaning, but they are being used by outside interests against Alaska.

Our state and federal election systems are the finest in the world. We must not tamper with those systems by enacting gimmicks like Ballot Measure 7. We can hold our representatives to constitutional standards only if we are free to vote in a fair and unbiased election system. To keep our election process free, vote NO.

Protect Alaska's Interest. Uphold Alaska's Constitution. Protect Your Right to a Fair Ballot. Vote NO on 7!

Vic Fischer, Delegate
Alaska Constitutional Convention
(907) 276-7626


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