This is the first comprehensive look at the long-term effect of the 1990s wave of term limits legislation. The term limits adopted in the 1990s are in effect in fifteen states today, and together constitute arguably the most significant single institutional change in American government of recent decades. The legislatures in these fifteen states have by now experienced a complete turnover of their membership; hundreds of experienced lawmakers have become ineligible for re-election, and their replacements must learn and perform their jobs in as few as six years. Now that term limits have been in effect long enough for both their electoral and institutional effects to become apparent, their consequences can be gauged fully. In the first study of its kind, renowned scholars Kurtz, Cain, and Niemi offer a broad evaluation of the effects these term limits have had on the national political landscape.
Karl T. Kurtz is director of the National Conference of State Legislatures' Trust for Representative Democracy. Bruce Cain is Heller Professor of Political Science and Director of the Institute of Governmental Studies at the University of California at Berkeley, and Director of the University of California's Washington Center. Richard G. Niemi is Don Alonzo Watson Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester.