State senator Jim Maddox loses bid to finish Senate term

Tuesday, June 29th 2004, 5:49 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- The Oklahoma Supreme Court unanimously rejected a Lawton Democrat's bid to complete his term in the state Senate despite reaching the 12-year legislative term limit.

The Supreme Court ruled 8-0 Monday that Sen. Jim Maddox would be ineligible to serve in the office in November, when he reaches the 12-year limit. Instead, a special election will be held to fill the remaining two years on Maddox's term.

Maddox argued that voters in 2000 elected him to serve four years in the Senate and a proclamation by Gov. Brad Henry setting a special election in Senate District 32 was unconstitutional. He did not argue that the term limit, which was approved by voters in 1990 and took effect in 1992, was unconstitutional.

Although the term of a senator is four years, it is subject to the years-of-service limit set out by the constitutional amendment setting the 12-year term limit, the Supreme Court said.

The constitutional amendment declares "members who have reached the 12-year mark ineligible for continued or additional service," the court said. "No legislation, executive proclamation, judicial decree or agency decision is necessary to give effect to this mandate. Its terms are therefore self-executing."

A special election to fill Maddox's seat is planned for November. Two Democrats and two Republicans have filed for the seat.