Citizen Initiative 8


Initiative 8 Ballot Title as written by the Tacoma City Attorney
Initiative 8 Ballot Title as written by the Tacoma City Attorney

Citizen Initiative 8 text:

WHEREAS, the City of Tacoma Charter allows for the citizens to amend the city charter and to be placed before the voters during odd year elections;

WHEREAS, the “10-consecutive years term limit” language has a loophole that allows for elected council members and or / mayor to resign their seat on the council to avoid the intent of the term limit law of 10-consecutive years;

WHEREAS, the “10-consecutive years term limit” language lacks language defining break in service;

WHEREAS, the “10-consecutive years term limit” language provides a loophole allowing Council Members and or Mayor to resign from office, creating an appointment process which results in providing an advantage to the appointed person when they run as an incumbent for the position they were appointed to;

WHEREAS, “10-consecutive years term limit” language is unique compared with other term limit laws where the word “term” is used in place of the word “years”;

WHEREAS, the City of Tacoma was the first city in the state to limit the terms of law-making council members;

WHEREAS, since 1973, the “10-consecutive years term limit” language has been in place;

WHEREAS, since 1980, the Pierce County Council Members are limited to two 4-year terms;

WHEREAS, this proposed charter amendment is modeled after the language used in the Pierce County Charter regarding limiting terms of office for lawmakers;

WHEREAS, since 1991, when the term limit movement swept the nation, the standard language used for limiting terms of office is two 4-year terms;

WHEREAS, the people, when voting on term limits, overwhelmingly support limiting lawmakers to eight consecutive years in office;

WHEREAS, in 2008, a majority of Tacoma voters rejected a proposal by politicians that deleted term limits altogether;

WHEREAS, in 2014, 61% of Tacoma voters rejected extending term limits when the politicians put forth a proposal that would have allowed for 18 years on the Tacoma City Council;

WHEREAS, this citizen-sponsored 2017 term limit charter amendment proposal removes the term limit loophole, clarifies and standardizes the language for limiting the terms in office for members of the Tacoma City Council Members and Mayor;

Therefore be it ordained by the voters in the City of Tacoma the enactment of Citizen Initiative 8 entitled:

“Term Limit Loophole Ended”

Tacoma City Charter Section 2.35 – No person shall be allowed to serve on the Council for more than ten (10) consecutive years, either as a Council Member, Mayor, or combination thereof. No person shall be allowed to serve in City elective office for more than two consecutive 4-year terms, complete or partial as a Council Member and/or Mayor but shall be allowed to serve again after an 8-year break in service. Establishment of residency in an alternate district will not circumvent this two-term restriction.

SEVERABILITY. Invalidity or unenforceability of one or more provisions of this charter amendment shall not affect any other provision of this charter amendment. If possible, any unenforceable provision within this charter change will be modified to reflect the sponsor’s original intention.

Effective Date. This charter amendment shall take effect fifteen (15) days after; either adoption or election certification.