There was always going to be major turnover in the Louisiana Legislature a year from now. That much was determined way back in 1995, when voters adopted term limits.
All lawmakers were given the opportunity to serve three four-year terms starting then, which meant that the first wave of forced departures struck in 2007. The second wave is due this fall and will hit the Senate particularly hard. Thirty-two of 105 current House members can’t run for reelection, along with 16 of 39 sitting senators.
BATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — The Louisiana Legislature has been shedding members at a high rate, with 15 percent of lawmakers leaving their elected…
Still more haven’t waited for term limits to kick in, according to a recent analysis by the Associated Press’s Melinda Deslatte. She did the math and found that 15 percent of the lawmakers elected in 2015 to the term that ends next January have already moved on.
The contests to replace them have featured one more sign of the Legislature’s waning appeal: Several open seats went to candidates who faced no opposition, a privilege usually reserved for incumbents.
It’s not hard to count the reasons why the job might not be so enticing anymore. Lawmakers facing term limits have incentive to jump at opportunities elsewhere no matter when they arise. The constant special sessions are grueling, as is the ever-growing partisan tension. Tough fiscal times mean that legislators can’t always deliver for constituents back home.
So does anyone still want to serve in the Legislature? Of course, and now that we’re in an election year, the candidate announcements are already starting.
As for whether these jobs attract as many applicants as they used to, we’ll soon find out.