Houston Term Limits To Be On November Ballot

Aug. 12, 2015Houston Public Media

There have been many tries over the years.

Now the Houston City Council has voted 12 to 5 for asking voters to amend the City Charter and change term limits to two four-year terms.

Currently, the mayor, council members and the city controller serve two years for up to three times.

The change would go into effect next year.

Mayor Annise Parker voted for it, though hesitantly, waiting several seconds before saying “yes” when the city secretary called her name.

Parker has long said she supports four-year terms, but with the equal rights ordinance also on the ballot this November, she said she won’t spend any energy campaigning for the term limit change.

In addition, she had favored the change to go into effect in 2020 to avoid the perception that any incumbents are benefitting.

Council member Jerry Davis, who is in his first term, asked for the change in 2016. He said longer terms ensure projects in the different council districts are finished.

“Because we’ve seen this thousands of times, or hundreds of times, where one district council member (goes) out and things are changed after that person,” Davis said.

The four-year terms would bring Houston in line with most other major U.S. cities.