CARSON CITY -- The controversy over whether term limits begins this year or in 2010 continued Monday as a candidate filed to have Assembly Speaker Barbara Buckley's name removed from election ballots.
Republican Kevin Child asked the Supreme Court to stop Buckley, D-Las Vegas, from seeking another term as the Assembly District 8 representative.
Child, a real estate agent, said Buckley cannot seek another term because of the constitutional amendment that limits legislators to serving no more than 12 years in one house. Child is one of two Republicans challenging Buckley for the District 8 seat.
The term limits amendment was approved by voters in the 1994 and 1996 elections.
But three months before the final approval, then Attorney General Frankie Sue Del Papa issued an opinion that the term limits would not begin to apply to legislators until the election in 1998.
Las Vegas political consultant Sig Rogich, who put the term limits proposal on the ballot, did not contest her ruling.
Buckley first was elected in 1994. But under Del Papa's ruling, she can run again this year, but not in 2010.
"Buckley should be termed out," said Child, who lost in a landslide to Buckley in a 2000 race for the Assembly. "Term limits should be completely retroactive. That is what voters backed. They weren't thinking it didn't apply until some later time."
But Buckley expects the Supreme Court will dismiss Child's request. The court will hold a meeting Friday on term limits matters.
"Constitutional amendments are not retroactive," Buckley said. "Legislators take office the day after the election. If you perform the math correctly, it should be clear term limits do not apply to legislators for two more years. Unlike with other elected officials, it has been a very clear issue as it applies to legislators."
Child has asked that Clark County Registrar of Voters Larry Lomax be forced to remove Buckley's name from the election ballot. He also seeks a ruling to force Secretary of State Ross Miller to include Buckley in his lawsuit challenging the rights of local elected officials to seek new terms.
Miller has challenged the right of Clark County Commissioner Bruce Woodbury, regents Thalia Dondero and Howard Rosenberg and 18 other local politicians to seek additional terms.
Local district attorneys refused to accept to Miller's challenges, so last week Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto asked the Supreme Court to force them to do so.
Legislative lawyers also on Monday asked the Supreme Court to allow them to weigh in on the term limits case brought against the local government officials.
Their motion to intervene cites the potential impact of term limits on legislators as justification to present a brief in the case.
"This case involves an extremely important question of law -- the interpretation and application of the term limits amendment -- whose resolution may have a substantial impact on the official interests of the Legislature and its members," the motion filed by Legislative Counsel Brenda Erdoes says.
The Legislature's view of term limits as they apply to lawmakers coincides with the view expressed by Del Papa that they did not take effect until the 1998 election.
Masto and Miller have not challenged that startup date for term limits for lawmakers.