LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Eight former Michigan lawmakers filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging the state’s legislative term limits law, alleging that they are unconstitutionally blocked from running again by restrictions that prevent voters from backing candidates of their choice.
The lawsuit, filed in Grand Rapids federal court, seeks a permanent injunction against a portion of a 1992 voter-passed constitutional amendment. It only pertains to the legislative branch — not limits for the governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general and secretary of state.
The plaintiffs include three Republicans — Joseph Haveman, Roger Kahn, Paul Opsommer — and five Democrats — Scott Dianda, Clark Harder, David Nathan, Douglas Spade and Mary Valentine.
They said term limits have increased the power of lobbyists, unelected “bureaucrats” in the executive branch and political dynasties.
Michigan voters enacted term limits that allow legislators to serve 14 years, including three two-year House terms and two four-term Senate terms. They are viewed as the most restrictive among the 15 states with consecutive or lifetime legislative term limits.
The suit was brought about a month after Republican legislative leaders privately briefed their caucuses about talks with the Voters Not Politicians ballot committee and the Michigan Chamber of Commerce to ease legislative term limits through a constitutional amendment.
A past legal challenge to Michigan’s legislative term limits failed about 20 years ago.
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