Let's see how consistent the Utah Legislature is. Then let's see how sensible it is.

If the Legislature is merely consistent, it will impose on the people who make Utah's laws a restraint it has advocated for the people who make the nation's laws.But if the Legislature is wise, it will resist any efforts to impose these shackles on Utah legislators and back off from its endorsement of them for federal legislators.

A few years ago, the Utah Legislature foolishly went on record favoring a constitutional amendment that would let members of Congress serve no longer than 12 years.

Now, what about a similar limit on service in the Legislature?

The question arises after voters in Oklahoma, by a 2-1 margin, approved a constitutional amendment this week to put a lifetime cap of 12 years on legislative service.

Similar amendments are on the Nov. 6 ballot in California and Colorado. Likewise, such proposals are under active consideration in Florida and New York.

If they haven't already done so, eventually someone is going to wonder if the same sort of limit might not be a good idea for the Utah Legislature, too.

Actually, it is anything but a good idea at either the state or federal level.

The main argument for limiting how long a politician may serve in Congress or a state legislature is to keep lawmakers from becoming so entrenched in office that they pay more attention to special interests than to the public.

But there's more reason for being concerned about that problem in Congress than in most state legislatures, where members often serve only a few days a year rather than full time and careers seldom last nearly as long as they do in Congress.

The trouble with an artificial limit on tenure in office is that as government at all levels gets bigger and issues become more complex, it takes longer than it once did for elected officials to become expert in various subjects.

Consequently, such limits on tenure would deprive the public of the services of many outstanding officials whose experience and wisdom have accumulated over long years in office.

Instead of rushing to climb aboard this new bandwagon, Utah and other states should at the very least wait to see how the limit on legislators' terms works out in Oklahoma. It seems likely to turn out badly.