The Lincoln Chamber of Commerce has come out against the proposal for mayoral term limits that will be on the city's November ballot.
Lincoln voters will be asked whether they want to impose a three-term limit on the mayor. The limit would be applied retroactively, meaning it would affect Mayor Chris Beutler’s ability to run for a fourth term next spring.
The Chamber said its opposition is not based on the merits of term limits but on the proposal's retroactive nature.
“We oppose this ballot measure because it offends our sense of fair play,” says Chamber President Wendy Birdsall in a news release. “The retroactive feature simply set off our fairness meter.
“Lincoln citizens really need to give this serious consideration, especially since this would be placed in our Charter,” she says.
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When term limits were imposed on members of the state Legislature, state senators were allowed to start with what amounted to a fresh clock before the limits were imposed. The mayoral term limits being considered in Lincoln would "without precedent, apply retroactively," the release said.
“The retroactive application of the proposal is an affront to democratic principles,” says the Chamber release, which urges voters to reject the change.
The Chamber and its board unanimously approved the opposition position, according to the release.
The release made no mention of the origin of the petition drive, which was started by three prominent Republicans.
Beutler, a Democrat, has announced he intends to run for a fourth term in the 2019 city election.
Another local business group, the Lincoln Independent Business Association, hasn't taken a position on the term-limits proposal, said LIBA President Coby Mach. However, he said, the organization hosted a debate on the issue last month "so that business leaders could make their own informed decision."