Voters in Missouri will decide a constitutional amendment to limit state executive officials to two terms in office. The constitutional amendment will be on the ballot for November 3, 2020, unless the governor calls a special election for an earlier date.
As of 2019, the state constitution limited the governor and state treasurer to two terms of office but not the other executive offices. The constitutional amendment would add the limit to the lieutenant governor, secretary of state, state auditor, and attorney general. None of the current officeholders have been in office for more than two terms.
In Missouri, referring a constitutional amendment to the ballot requires a simple majority vote in each chamber of the Missouri State Legislature during one legislative session. The constitutional amendment was the only one passed by the Missouri State Legislature during its 2019 legislative session, which adjourned on May 17.
State legislators are also limited in the number of terms they can serve in Missouri. In 1992, voters adopted a constitutional amendment, titled Amendment 12, to enact term limits on state legislators. Amendment 12 received 75 percent of the vote. The constitutional amendment prohibited a person from serving more than eight years in either the state House or state Senate, or a total of sixteen years in both legislative chambers.
Noting the limits on state legislators and the governor, Sen. Tony Luetkemeyer (R-34), the 2020 amendment’s legislative sponsor, said, ”The voters of Missouri have made it clear they emphatically support term limits. This measure will bring consistency to our term limits for all state officials and prevent them from becoming career politicians.” Sen. Ed Emery (R-31), who voted against the amendment in the legislature, said certain executive offices, like the auditor and attorney general, require experience and shouldn’t be term limited like other offices. He said, “We want people in there who are experienced and know the job and know what they’re doing. I do think that those are a little different categorically and functionally than those top executive positions.”