House passes school board term limits

by | Feb 20, 2020

 

The Florida House unanimously passed a school board term limits bill that will put 8-year school board term limits on the November ballot.

The constitutional amendment (HJR 157). which passed in the Republican-led House on Wednesday with 79-39 vote, would impose eight-year term limits on school board members.

The resolution was introduced by State Representative Anthony Sabatini, a Howey-in-the-Hills Republican. Sabatini, who represents Florida’s 32nd District, says the referendum is a bi-partisan way to drain the swamp.

“There is no better way to create limited-government than enacting term limits for ever elected official,” Sabatini said.

Today’s passage would implement longstanding term limits on school board members similar to the ones imposed on state lawmakers.

Florida-based U.S. Term Limits, the nation’s oldest and largest pro-term limits group, applauded today’s vote in the Florida House.

“This vote is a tremendous step forward,” said Nick Tomboulides, Executive Director of USTL. “School board term limits will elevate new voices and ideas to give all students the great education they deserve. Now that the House has done its job, we encourage the State Senate to move swiftly, put this on the ballot and let the people decide.”

The measure also has the support of Governor Ron DeSantis, who endorsed Sabatini’s bill in 2019 and did so again in when the lawmaker refiled the bill for 2020.

“The benefits of term limits are clear,” DeSantis said. “When an elected official is first seated, he or she comes in with a reformer spirit and desire to deliver change. But perpetual re-election tends to erode that public service outlook and replace it with one of entitlement. Long tenure in office tends to make people forget they work for us, and not the other way around.”

The bill now has one final stop in the Senate before reaching the November ballot. The Senate companion (SJR 1216) is being carried by Senator Joe Gruters. It will next be debated in the Senate Rules Committee.

If approved in Senate, the proposal would go on the 2020 ballot, where 60 percent voter support would be required for passage.

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