Jerry Kopel

They range from Sen. Tilman Bishop, R-Mesa, with 28 years in the legislature to Rep. Vi June, D-Westminster, with eight years in the House. They are two of 27 House and Senate members who will run smack into Colorado's term limit barrier in 1998.

But not all 27 members plan to end their legislative life. Rumors have Sen. Don Ament, R-Iliff (who STARTED in the House) with 12 years service running again for the House, and six-termer Rep. Norma Anderson, R-Lakewood, and seven-termer Rep. Tony Grampsas, R-Evergreen, running for the Senate. And there may be a lot more switchovers.

Of the 18 House members, only four are "true" term limits of eight years: Rep. June, Rep. Vickie Agler, R-Littleton, Rep. Mike Salaz, R-Cheraw, and Rep. Carol Snyder, D-Adams. The only true term limit senator is Sen. Joan Johnson, D-Adams, with eight years service.

One interesting statistic about the 27 legislators: Once elected to the House or Senate, they never lost a legislative race. All their years served are consecutive.

Among those whose terms expire in 1998 who are seeking other offices: Sen. Jeff Wells, R-Colorado Springs, with 16 years service, and Sen. Dick Mutzebaugh, R-Highlands Ranch, with 15 years service, contesting for their party's nomination for attorney general. Rep. Chuck Berry, R-Colorado Springs, with 14 years service and Sen. Tom Norton, R-Greeley, with 12 years service, each want to be the Republican candidate for governor.

Rep. Jeanne Adkins, R-Parker, with 10 years service, and Rep. Paul Schauer, R-Littleton, with 20 years service, are both mentioned as potential Republican candidates for state treasurer.

Democrats consider 1998 as their year to pick up some seats. Twenty of the 27 seats vacated by term limits are now held by Republicans, 15 in the House and five in the Senate. In the year 2000, assuming incumbent legislators remain in their present House and Senate seats, another 16 Republicans and another eight Democrats will be out of office, thanks to term limits.

When the state legislature reconvenes in January of 1999 following the 1998 elections, no member of the House will have served more than six years unless one or more of the state senators is elected to the House. Any long term experience in 1999 will nest in the state senate.

The four most senior senators who are presently there and who are expected to still be there in January of 1999 all began their legislative service in the House. They are:

Sen. Ray Powers, R-Colo. Springs, elected to the House in 1979; Sen. Bob Martinez, D-Commerce City, elected to the House is 1981; Sen. Maryanne Tebedo, R-Colo. Springs, elected to the House in 1983; Sen. Dave Wattenberg, R-Walden, elected to the House in 1983.

Unless Sen. Bishop decides to run for the House for four terms and then return to the Senate, there isn't much chance that present legislative record holders will ever be challenged on the total numbers of years served.

They are: Sen. Casimiro Barela, who served two years in the Colorado territorial legislature and 40 years (1876-1916) in the state senate. Sen. Barela began his legislative duties at age 25 and died four years after retiring. Sen. Sam Taylor, who served 40 years in the state senate (1935-75). Rep. Wayne Knox, who served 32 years in the Colorado House over a 36 year period (1961-97).


Limits On Terms of Office Beginning Jan. 1, 1991

Article 5, Section 3, Subsection 2 of the Colorado Constitution:

"... no senator shall serve more than two consecutive terms in the senate, and no representative shall serve more than four consecutive terms in the house of representatives.

"...Any person appointed or elected to fill a vacancy in the General Assembly and who serves at least one-half of a term of office shall be considered to have served a term in that office for purposes of this subsection (2). Terms are considered consecutive unless they are at least four years apart."

Legislator Party Years of Service

Sen. Tilman Bishop R 28

Rep. Jeanne Faatz R 20

Rep. Paul Schauer R 20

Rep. Lewis Entz R 16

Rep. Phil Pankey R 16

Sen. Jim Rizzuto D 16

Sen. Jeff Wells R 16

Sen. Dick Mutzebaugh R 15

Rep. Chuck Berry R 14

Rep. Tony Grampsas R 14

Rep. Jeannie Reeser D 14

Rep. Gil Romero D 14

Sen. Don Ament R 12

Rep. Norma Anderson R 12

Rep. Jim Dyer D 12

Rep. Mary Ellen Epps R 12

Sen. Sally Hopper R 12

Sen. Tom Norton R 12

Sen. Bill Schroeder R 12

Rep. Shirleen Tucker R 12

Rep. David Owen R 11

Rep. Jeanne Adkins R 10

Rep. Vickie Agler R 8

Sen. Joan Johnson D 8

Rep. Vi June D 8

Rep. Mike Salaz R 8

Rep. Carol Snyder D 8


Total: 20 Republicans, 7 Democrats. 360 years

Chart compiled by Jerry Kopel

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