Boston: Massachusetts House Nixes Speaker Term Limit

The Massachusetts House struck down a term limit that would have forced Speaker Robert DeLeo to step down in 2017. (Steven Senne/AP)

The Massachusetts House struck down a term limit that would have forced Speaker Robert DeLeo to step down in 2017. (Steven Senne/AP)

The eight-year term limit set for the state’s House Speaker has been eliminated after the House voted 110-45 during Thursday’s House Caucus.

The change was pushed by current Speaker Robert DeLeo, who under the original rule, would have been forced to step down in 2017.

State Representative James Murphy of Weymouth voted in favor of removing the cap.

“I have always felt that there have been term limits;  we are limited by the people who vote for us. And the speaker is the same way. The Speaker runs for office as a state representative every two years, if he is re-elected by the town of Winthrop, he returns to the State House. And every two years we elect a House Speaker. And, in my opinion, if Speaker DeLeo wasn’t doing a good job we would vote against him,” Murphy said during an interview at the State House.

But Senator Vinny deMacedo of Plymouth, who served in the House for 15 years, stands by the term limits adding that it fosters new ideas.

“I think there is something to be said for the fact that when you are in a position of such influence, eight years is a good number, I think there was a reason behind that,” deMacedo said on Thursday.

DeLeo was instrumental in getting the rule passed back in 2009 after his predecessors Sal DiMasi and Thomas Finneran were convicted of corruption charges related to their leadership positions.

After six years DeLeo says his views have “evolved,” adding that term limits get in the way of steady leadership.

But State Representative Matthew Muratore who took deMacedo’s old seat in Plymouth says four terms is more than enough.

“I think he did it because he needed to restore some trust in the State House, but I think he has done that and he has done a terrific job with that, but I think taking that away now, belittles that a little bit,” Muratore said right before the vote Thursday.

Muratore commends former Senate President Therese Murray of Plymouth, who left office this month after her eight years were up, saying Murray understood she needed to make room for someone new to take over.


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About Paige Sutherland

Paige Sutherland was a State House reporter for WATD, and left WATD full-time in March, 2015. She will continue to update WATD time-to-time on relevant New Hampshire news.