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North Dakota conservatives seek term limits for lawmakers

July 1, 2021 GMT

BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) — A group of ultraconservative North Dakota lawmakers and Republican Party leaders have proposed a ballot measure to place term limits on the governor and members of the Legislature.

If Secretary of State Al Jaeger approves the petition, which he received Thursday, petitioners would have one year to gather 31,164 signatures to put the measure to voters next year.

The initiative would add a new article to the state constitution, effective Jan. 1, 2023, imposing term limits of eight cumulative years each in the House and Senate. The governor could not be elected more than twice. Term limits would not be retroactive, which means the service of current officeholders would not count against them.

The measure’s 42-member sponsoring committee includes several state lawmakers linked to the ultraconservative Bastiat Caucus, as well as multiple new GOP district chairmen, The Bismarck Tribune reported.

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North Dakota has no term limits for state elected officials or lawmakers. The governor and lawmakers each serve four-year terms.

More than 60 current lawmakers have served eight or more years. Two Republicans, Sen. Ray Holmberg, of Grand Forks, and Rep. Bob Martinson, of Bismarck, have each served more than 40 years.