Bullock: Break for candidates under term limits based on when term is served, not filing date
In a formal opinion released Wednesday, Attorney General Steve Bullock has concluded that a candidate may file for an elected office if, at the time the candidate begins to serve in that office, he or she will have had an eight-year break in service over a 16-year period.
Secretary of State Linda McCulloch requested the opinion following passage of SB 311 in the 2011 Legislature. That bill attempted to change how term limits are calculated by redefining the phrase “current term.”
Bullock’s opinion concluded that SB 311 did what legislators intended: it clarified that “current term” means the term served after regular election to a full term in an elected office.
Based on that wording, the opinion concluded that a candidate could file for an elected office prior to the full 8-year break in service, provided the required break in service would be met on the date the candidate would begin serving in that office.
Opinions of the attorney general carry the weight of law unless a court overturns them or the legislature modifies the laws involved.