By Bob Katzen

The Senate 32-6, approved an amendment that would repeal a current rule that limits the Senate president to eight years in that position.

Sponsor Sen. Mike Rodrigues (D-Westport) said there are negative restrictions the term limit provision places on the Senate. “The governor’s office has no such limitation, the House removed term limits for the speaker’s office almost ten years ago and both minority leaders in the House and Senate are not subject to any limit on their term in office,” said Rodrigues. “You could say, in real terms, that we have de-facto term limits in place, as any candidate for Senate president must win re-election by their peers. With the commonwealth now finally emerging from three years of the COVID-19 pandemic, stability and continuity are paramount for the passage of pressing and long-overdue legislation stalled by three years of uncertainty.”

“I just think it’s good to have that opportunity for change,” said Sen. John Keenan (D-Quincy). “We have it every two years when we elect the Senate president, but to know that every eight years, there’ll be a change and people can move to different committees, develop different areas of expertise—I think that’s quite valuable.”

“The integrity of the Senate has always been my top priority as Senate president, and it is my honor to lead this body,” said Senate President Karen Spilka (D-Ashland). “The adoption of this amendment means that the Senate will be on equal footing with all the other branches of our government.”

“Each elected official should be equally empowered to ensure everyday citizens have a voice in their Republic,” said Sen. Ryan Fattman (R-Sutton). “Term limits for the Senate President was passed in 1993 as a reform to prevent the centralization and homogenization of power after one Senate president held his position over the course of three different decades. Reversing this rule isn’t a step towards progress, it’s an unfortunate step back in time.”

“By eliminating the term limit protection, the senate is allowing Sen. Karen Spilka to remain Senate President for life,” said Paul Craney, spokesman for the Mass Fiscal Alliance. “This type of absolute power will lead to corruption in the Massachusetts Legislature, it’s just a matter of time.”

(A “Yes” vote is for repealing the 8-year term limit. A “No” vote is for the keeping the 8-year term limit.)

Sen. Patricia Jehlen Yes

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