Term Limits

Oklahoma voters in 1990 approved State Question 632, which limited any member of the Legislature elected after the measure’s effective date to a maximum of 12 years of legislative service. The 12-year term limit applies to service in either legislative chamber and is a lifetime limit. SQ 632 was a citizen-led initiative petition that passed with 67.3 percent of the vote. The 12-year maximum term took effect with the election of 1992, which meant that the first legislators subject to term limits reached their limits in 2004 (Senators elected in 1990 were able to serve until 2006).

Oklahoma was the first state in the nation to approve term limits. Currently 15 states have term limits ranging from six to 16 years, although some states only limit years of consecutive service and some impose limits on time served in each chamber. An additional six states have had term limits struck down by the Courts or repealed by the legislature.