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Wednesday, February 4, 2015

PALM BEACH, Fla. — U.S. Term Limits (USTL), the nation’s oldest and largest term limits advocacy group, called it "imperative" for the New York Legislature to approve a constitutional amendment limiting Assembly and Senate members to eight years in office.

“With the recent arrest of Speaker Sheldon Silver, a member of the Assembly for nearly four decades, New Yorkers are seeing firsthand the pitfalls of an unchecked incumbency,” said USTL President Philip Blumel. “Now is the time to stand up against corrupt Albany insiders and demand that legislators vote to term-limit themselves to eight years in office.”

Blumel noted that Silver’s rap sheet is one New York residents are familiar with, having watched 31 current or former state officeholders be convicted of crimes, sanctioned or accused of wrongdoing in the last decade. The most high-profile case was that of former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, who was hauled away on similar charges to Silver’s in 2010.

“Neither of these men arrived in Albany with a penchant for corrupt behavior,” he said. “Only after spending decades amassing power inside a political bubble – working with lobbyists and special interests – did they start to focus less on constituents and more on building their own empires.”

According to 2013 polling by the Siena College Research Institute, 82 percent of New York voters support limiting the terms of Assembly and Senate members. The poll also found no partisan divide, with 77 percent of Democrats and 86 percent of Republicans voicing approval for term limits.

Three amendment bills for eight-year term limits have already been filed in the Assembly this year: A02861, A03783 and A02568.

In order for a term limits amendment to become a part of the New York Constitution, it must pass by majority vote in two successive legislatures before being submitted for voter approval. Legislative term limits at the state level across America have historically passed with an average vote share of 70 percent, according to U.S. Term Limits records.

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