SALEM, Ore. - Dr. Bud Pierce, the Republican nominee for governor in 2016, and his wife Selma said Tuesday they have filed an initiative petition to put into place term limits for Oregon legislators.
Modeled after Oregon’s existing term limits law for governor, secretary of state and attorney general, Pierce said the new measure is expected to pass constitutional scrutiny, unlike a predecessor in the '90s, which was overturned by the Oregon Supreme Court due to having too many subjects.
A total of 1,170 pre-verified signatures were delivered to the secretary of state’s office on Friday, That office has 10 days to review the signatures for verification before the petition is sent to the attorney general’s office for a ballot title.
The secretary of state will do a random sample of 450 to determine the validity rate of the signatures received. 1,000 valid signatures are required to qualify the petition for review and ballot title adoption.
“It is time we change the pattern of electing career politicians in our state and get back to a true citizen legislature,” Pierce said in a news release.
“Our current system is failing the citizens of the state," he said. "We continue to have one of the poorest graduation rates in the nation, our infrastructure is crumbling and our roads are overcrowded, the Department of Human Resources is a mess and failing our children, PERS liabilities continue to be ignored.
"Something must be done to get Oregon back on track. Changing our leaders is necessary if we want to make progress in our state,” Pierce said.
The proposed ballot measure filed by the Pierce’s is a statutory measure, not constitutional, which means the Legislature would have the ability to make modifications to it, if they felt they were necessary.
Pierce told NewsChannel 21 the proposal, matching the term limits for statewide office, is that people could serve a total of eight years in the House and/or Senate, then be required to take four years off before seeking legislative office again. House terms are for two years and senators serve four-year terms.
The measure would take effect in 2018, he said but current legislators would be able to finish out their terms.
If lawmakers wished to revise the term limits plan, they could smooth out the transition period, if voters approve the measure, Pierce said.
"The idea is that they get in for eight years, get their work done, make an effort to improve society, then go home," Pierce said. "Some can come back after four years away, but in reality, that's doubtful -- most will be done."
"The idea is to give new people a chance, and for them to know they have eight years to get something done and make the tough decisions," he said.