In Michigan
11:48 am
Thu October 29, 2009

Survey: Michigan Voters May Be Ready To Relax Term Limits

LANSING, MI –

A Michigan State University survey suggests voters may be ready to relax term limits for legislators. The survey of 1,036 Michigan residents over 18 was conducted by the MSU Institute for Public Policy and Social Research.

The survey found that most Michigan residents don't know the details of the state's term limits amendment. It limits House members to six years in office and senators to eight years.

MSU professor Charles Ballard directs the survey. He says a slim majority of people appear to favor allowing lawmakers to serve their entire time, 14 years, in the House or the Senate with no other restrictions. He says a larger majority would allow lawmakers to return to the Legislature after a four-year hiatus.

"There seems to be support for the idea of some sort of term limits," Ballard says, "but our results suggest that people are not wedded to the very restrictive term limits that we have, and it may be possible that there's a lot of public support for the modest incremental reforms to make those more relaxed."

Ballard says future surveys will ask whether people would favor extending the number of years legislators may serve.

Changing term limits would require voters to approve an amendment to the state constitution.