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TERM LIMITS FOR LEGISLATORS

Prepared by House Research
Missouri House of Representatives

Since the admission of Missouri to the Union in 1821, members of the state House of Representatives have served two-year terms and members of the state Senate have served four-year terms, with half of the Senate being elected every two years. Until 1992 there was no limit on the number of terms that a person could be elected to the House or Senate.

In November of 1992, an amendment to the Missouri Constitution was approved to limit total service in the House to eight years and total service in the Senate to eight years, with total legislative service limited to sixteen years. Service prior to the effective date of the amendment is not counted in calculation of the limit. (Article III, Section 8, Missouri Constitution)

The amendment applied to all persons elected to the legislature after November 3, 1992. For most state legislators, this meant that service begun as the result of election in November of 1994 counted against their limit. There were, however, a few senators and representatives elected in special elections between November 1992 and November 1994. Until the adoption of an amendment to Section 8 in November 2002, there was no provision for partial terms; so, because they could not serve their full terms if elected in 2000, there were eight House members who could not run again for the House in 2000, even though they had served less than eight years. And a state senator who had been elected to fill out one year of a term could not run for the Senate in 1998, even though he had served only five years in the Senate.

The initial effect of the term limits amendment occurred in the 2002 election, when 73 House members and 12 Senate members were not eligible to run for re-election.

As of September 10, 2014 assuming continuous re-election, the number of members of the House who will not be eligible to run for re-election in a particular year are:

for the 2014 election, 9 members will not be eligible to run again for the House;

for the 2016 election, 30 members will not be eligible to run again for the House;

for the 2018 election, 64 members will not be eligible to run again for the House;

for the 2020 election, 55 members will not be eligible to run again for the House; and

for the 2022 election, 3 members will not be eligible to run again for the House.

These numbers will go down as members retire, resign, are defeated, or otherwise leave the House.

Site of interest:

List of Representatives

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