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Referendums eyed on county term limits

A bill is heading to the full Florida Senate that would lead to local referendums in November about whether voters want to impose eight-year term limits on county commissioners. The Senate Rules Committee on Monday voted 18-2 to approve the measure (SB 438), sponsored by Sen. Blaise Ingoglia, R-Spring Hill. Previous versions of the bill would have led to term limits for county commissioners without referendums. Eight of Florida’s 67 counties have eight-year term limits for county commissioners. Three counties have 12-year term limits, while the rest have none. Supporters of the legislation say term limits help get new people and fresh ideas into the political process. “The current posture of this bill is asking the voters do they want term limits?” Ingoglia said. “The voter input that everyone has been asking for is accomplished in this bill.” But opponents, such as Putnam County Commissioner Larry Harvey, said term limits are not needed. “We have elections every time. People can vote me out. I’ve been through three. All we are trying to do now is disrupt the system for no reason at all. We are trying to take good people out of office. I can be removed anytime, for any reason, right now. It is not a problem,” Harvey said. A House version of the bill (HB 57) has moved through committees and is ready to go to the full House. But it differs from the Senate bill, and the two chambers would need to reach agreement on a final version.

News Service of Florida