House Bill 2215, proposed by State Representative Sean Roberts, intends to set the term limit for county officials, ranging from sheriffs to district attorneys, to 24 years. Currently, there are no term limits for county officials. Each county official’s term lasts for four years. Through this bill, politicians cannot stay in office through consecutive terms as long as before.
Recently, House Bill 2215 has come under fire for clerical errors that negatively impacted how people view the bill. In the first draft of the bill, it stated that county officials would be elected for a term of 24 years. In response to this error, Representative Roberts claimed “This was an obvious mistake. The bill was never meant to be written in its current form. It will be corrected before the bill moves forward.” A claim being held against both versions of the bill is that it is an unnecessary bill to put forward when there are more important problems in Oklahoma than county term limits. These more important problems include education, budgetary issues and corrections. This term limit is higher than what is allowed for state legislators because they are limited to only 12 years of service between the house and the senate.
However, some may argue that in smaller districts, there are not enough people qualified and able to take these county official positions. With this legislation, the positions could eventually be filled after their term limit expires with less qualified applicants instead of the current members. This could be problematic with a county such as Cimarron County. According to a 2013 census, Cimarron County’s population is only 2,335 people.
Term limits are important because they provide a chance for different people to be elected rather than a solitary figure in one position. Even in small counties, there needs to be an eventual shift of power because it is fundamental to a democratic republic. After a potential length of 24 years, it is possible that the county officials’ beliefs have been set in stone unchanging to potential new ideas. In response to this problem, a fresh set of ideas and opinions are useful so that the county does not stagnate. Term limits have been set for both state and city officials. These term limits have allowed more variety in the state. County officials should be included in this measure.