Marjorie Sarbaugh-Thompson, PhD
Professor, Department of Political Science, Wayne State University
September 12, 2019
Legislative “Term Limits”: What Now or Where Do We Go From Here?
More than two decades ago, proponents of term limits persuaded Michigan’s voters that limiting legislators’ tenure in office would reduce gridlock, sever cozy ties between legislators and lobbyists, and introduce a merit-based system for selecting the leaders of the state’s legislative chambers. Not surprisingly, voters jumped at the chance to, as the saying goes, “drain the swamp.” Based on 13 years of research and 460 interviews with Michigan’s state representatives and state senators, we can provide evidence of many effects which term limits have had on Michigan’s government. Often we find that term limits failed to deliver on the promises made to voters. But more importantly, we find that term limits alter the relationships among legislators and between legislators and lobbyists and legislators and their constituents.
Professor Marjorie Sarbaugh-Thompson received her Ph.D. in Public Policy from the University of Michigan in 1992. Her primary research and teaching interests revolve around public policy making and institutional change in public sector organizations. As the principal investigator of the term limits research project, Dr. Sarbaugh-Thompson worked with WSU colleagues for more than a decade to produce a comprehensive study of institutional change in Michigan’s legislature. She is the principal author of two books on term limits based on 13 years of research including more than 400 face-to-face interviews with elected officials. Currently she is investigating state legislative oversight in the 50 states.
Room 103 Kellogg Center
1:30-2:30 -- 1:00 pm Coffee and Parking Passes.
Michigan State University Faculty Emeriti Association Lectures are open to all interested individuals.