ARKADELPHIA, Ar – Findings from a long-term study by Ouachita Baptist University’s political science department shows that the average state legislator IQ has dropped over 30 points since legislative term limits were enacted in Arkansas.
The 20 year study took the average IQ of each legislative session from 1993, a year after term limits were enacted by Arkansas voters, to the recent 2013 session. According to the survey the average IQ of state legislators in 1993 was 103.2, in the most recent session the average IQ dropped to 72.9, for a total of 30.3 points.
“The drop is staggering. Yes we may have had mild corruption amongst lifetime representatives and senators, but at least they were smart,” former OBU Dean of Social Science, and long time Political Science professor Hal Bass tells us. “At the current rate our average state legislator will be considered intellectually disabled by 2016. We are simply running out of smart people who are willing to represent their districts.”
Under the current term limit rules state representatives are limited to serving in the position for six years, and state senators are restricted to eight years. Representatives and senators are allowed to hold other state positions within that position’s term limits.
A select few state legislators managed to score significantly higher than the average, keeping the past session above the critical 70 IQ mark. Outgoing house speaker Davy Carter tested at 129 IQ, Hillcrest representative Warwick Sabin showed an IQ of 127. Most surprising was Mena representative Nate Bell showed a IQ of 125 despite setting a mark of 8 out of 70 in a new section measuring the ability to not engage in pointless arguments on social media.
Others, however, weighed the average down significantly. “There were a hand full of legislators who tested between 40-50 IQ. We are not ready to release those names at the moment, but most are from Faulkner County,” Bass tells us.
Following the findings, Governor Beebe announced plans to hold a closed-door summit in July with a number of adult education leaders in the state to create a plan to educate incoming legislators in an effort to reverse the trend. The Governor’s office says they are looking for suggestions from the public to solve the legislative intellectual deficiency issue. Individuals can submit any suggestions using the Governor’s office contact form.