A Louisiana House panel Wednesday endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment that would eliminate a mandatory age 70 retirement age for state judges.

The Judiciary Committee voted 14-3 for the proposal contained in Senate Bill 5. The bill now moves to the House floor where it must gain a two-thirds favorable vote for passage.

“Why should a judge be forced at age 70 to retire? Certainly today people work to 70 and way beyond 70,” said state Sen. Eric LaFleur, D-Ville Platte, who sponsored SB5.

State Rep. Greg Miller, R-Norco, said there are protections in place for the removal of judges if they are not doing their job. He also noted that retired judges today serve as ad hoc judges at age 70-plus.

“The voters can decide if age is an issue,” said state Rep. John Bel Edwards, D-Amite. “This arbitrary limit is anti-democratic,” Edwards said.