Michigan Term Limits Amendment, Proposal B (1992)

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The Michigan State Office Amendment, also known as Proposal B, was a initiated constitutional amendment on the November 1992 ballot in Michigan, where it was approved.

Proposal B restricted the number of times a person can be elected to state executive and state legislative offices.It limited the number of times a person could be elected as governor, attorney general, and secretary of state to two times each. It also limited the number of times a person could be elected to the state house of representatives to three times, and to the state senate two times. A provision governing partial terms was also included. These provisions became Article IV, section 54 and Article V, section 30 of the Michigan Constitution.

It also restricted the number of times a person could be elected to a Michigan congressional office, although this provision was written as a restriction on being elected no more than three times during any twelve-year time period. Finally, it "instructed" Michigan's congressional delegation to work to adopt a national term limit amendment applying to all of Congress. These latter provisions were included in Article II, section 10.

[1] [2]

The principal author of the amendment was Patrick L. Anderson, a Michigan economist who was working at the time for Richard Headlee, who had sponsored the 1978 "Headlee" tax limitation amendment. The petition drive was organized by Glenn Steil, a Grand Rapids-area businessman, and Dick Jacobs, a Libertarian leader in the State. After submitting sufficient petitions to qualify for the ballot, a new ballot campaign was organized under the leadership of Richard Headlee, Glenn Steil, and Allan Schmid, with Steve Mitchell as the Executive Director. [3]


The provision in a state Constitution limiting federal office holders, which appeared in Michigan's and a handful of other state term limit amendments, was challenged in court as unconstitutional. In 1995, in U.S. Term Limits vs. Thornton, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that states could not restrict federal offices through state constitutions.

In February 2010 Former Michigan Govs. James Blanchard and John Engler spoke out against the 1992 voter-approved term limit measure. Engler, who initially supported the amendment, said term limits had been "disatrous" and added,"I wish it was undone." Blanchard reiterated Engler's point, he said lawmakers "are not in Lansing long enough to build up relationships of trust."[4][5]

A recurring debate over the amendment often pitted "insiders" against "outsiders." [6]

Election results

Proposal B (Term Limits Amendment)
Approveda Yes 2,295,904 58.7%

Text of measure

Constitutional changes

Proposal B created Section 54 of Article IV of the Michigan Constitution, which says:

Limitations on Terms of Office of State Legislators

No person shall be elected to the office of state representative more than three times. No person shall be elected to the office of state senate more than two times. Any person appointed or elected to fill a vacancy in the house of representatives or the state senate for a period greater than one half of a term of such office, shall be considered to have been elected to serve one time in that office for purposes of this section. This limitation on the number of times a person shall be elected to office shall apply to terms of office beginning on or after January 1, 1993.

This section shall be self-executing. Legislation may be enacted to facilitate operation of this section, but no law shall limit or restrict the application of this section. If any part of this section is held to be invalid or unconstitutional, the remaining parts of this section shall not be affected but will remain in full force and effect.

The amendment also added other sections as described above.

See also

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