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Senator Considers Legal Challenge to Finish Term

Sen. Maddox feels he has grounds to finish his four-year term.

State Sen. Jim Maddox said he disagreed with an interpretation of the law on term limits that could force him to leave office in mid-term. The Democrat from Lawton said he was considering a legal challenge in an effort to finish the four-year term he was elected to serve.

Just this week the legislature approved a bill outlining the procedure for filling such seats by special election. House Bill 2663 was approved by the Senate on Tuesday after being approved in the House on Monday.

Maddox argued the constitutional amendment originally approved by voters never actually addressed the issue of members who, because of previous service in the House, would hit the 12-year limit in the middle of their Senate terms.

“But it should be pointed out that because of a 1991 Attorney General’s opinion, Senators in mid-term in 1992 were given another two years before the clock started ticking for them. That means consideration was given that will allow 7 of my colleagues to serve until 2006, 14 years after the original clock started ticking.”

Sen. Maddox said he believed the Senate had the option of making similar allowances for members who would hit the 12-year limit in mid-term because of previous service in the House.

“I’m simply seeking the same consideration that was given to the 7 Senate members who have been allowed to finish their terms. More than that, my constituents voted to send me here for another four years. I have an obligation to complete the term I was elected to serve,” Maddox said.

“As for this week’s vote, I understand the legislature was simply trying to provide an orderly transition to fill vacancies caused by term limits. But I strongly disagree with the premise that no allowances can be made for those hit in mid-term,” said Maddox.

“However, in no way am I contesting the term limit legislation. The people have voted on that issue. If I am able to complete my last two years, I plan on leaving after the remainder of my term is finished as my fellow Senators will in 2006.”

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