Measure 45

Argument in Opposition

Words here in the Voters' Pamphlet cost a little over $1.53 each, so the conventional wisdom is to use as close to your full allotment of 325 as possible.

But sometimes, saying less is worth more.

We are AFSCME, the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. We think Ballot Measure 45 is a bad idea, and we'd like you to vote "No." In fact, at AFSCME we believe in term limits-two years for a state representative, and four years for a state senator.

Now, we could easily use up the rest of our words. We could explain that we have lobbyists at the state capitol who see first hand how term limits actually create legislative gridlock—how with the clock always ticking, legislators are less likely to compromise because they're too busy pushing their own agenda. And on and on.

Instead, we'll say this. We're a public employee labor union, and by the way, we're proud of it. But maybe you don't like unions, so what we have to say isn't likely to sway you. So all we ask is this … please scan through all of the other arguments against Measure 45 here in the Voters' Pamphlet and note the wide variety of business, labor and other interests who are all united on this issue. We are certainly not the only ones who think this is a bad idea.

Vote NO! on Ballot Measure 45!

(This information furnished by Don Loving, Oregon AFSCME Council 75.)

Argument in Opposition

The League of Women Voters of Oregon opposes
constitutional amendment Measure 45

Term limits are poor public policy.
When term limits go into effect, the ability of legislators to make effective long-term policy decisions for the state is decreased. Lawmakers who are elected for short periods of time often come with specific agendas to pass while they are in office, rather than considering the effects of legislation on the future. If this constitutional amendment passes, 50 percent of the current House members and 30 percent of the Senate members would be ineligible for re-election in 2008. This drain on legislative leadership diminishes the Legislature's efficiency and would create the same severe problems experienced by the Oregon Legislature over several legislative sessions following the passage of term limits in 1992.

Out-of-state interests are promoting term limits.
Contributions for the constitutional amendment Measure 45 initiative campaign came largely from U.S. Term Limits, located in New York. This is not a home-grown initiative and comes at a time when other states are either rescinding previously passed term limits laws or courts are striking them down. No state has adopted term limits since 2000.

Term limits take power away from the Legislature.
Term limits result in a shift of power away from the Legislature because special interest lobbyists and bureaucrats may exert more influence on inexperienced legislators. Term limits have created a revolving door to legislative leadership positions and empowered special interests.

We already have term limits. They are called elections.
This constitutional amendment would take away the voters' ability to elect candidates of their choice. Responsible and respected decision-makers are forced out of office by term limits despite support of constituents.

Oregon does not need term limits.

The League of Women Voters of Oregon,
a non-partisan political organization,

urges you to vote "No" on
constitutional amendment Measure 45.

(This information furnished by Margaret Noel, League of Women Voters of Oregon.)

Argument in Opposition

BikePAC of Oregon urges you to Vote No on Measure 45

Term limits are a Bad Idea.

The answer to reforming government isn't giving the bureaucracy and the lobbyists more power!

When term limits were first enacted, it took several years for the effects to show. First, more experienced legislators began to run in the opposite house or not run again. The next step was those remaining experienced lawmakers leaving for good, taking their knowledge and experience with them or going to work as lobbyists themselves.

The new legislators now had only paid staff members, state agencies and lobbyists to depend on for the all-important historical perspective needed for effective legislating. We refer to this sense of history as institutional memory.

As a Political Action Committee that is made up of active citizens, not big bank accounts, we value the institutional memory of veteran legislators who have learned the nuances of complex issues. It is crucial for citizens to have the advice, knowledge and support available from experienced Senators and Representatives.

Every two years we have an election at which we can actively say yes or no to keeping legislators in office. We can choose them on their merits. That is the term limits the founders of our democracy envisioned.

Term limits are a bad idea. Vote no on term limits.

BikePAC of Oregon is a nonprofit organization incorporated as a Political Action Committee. BikePAC of Oregon promotes the interests of motorcyclists through education and legislative advocacy.

(This information furnished by Ken Ray, BikePAC of Oregon, Inc.)

Argument in Opposition

Dear Voter:

We want to talk to you about term limits and the contentious Oregon Legislature.

We are a group of individuals who have been examining the Legislature's inability to work efficiently and effectively together. We serve as volunteers on the Public Commission on the Legislature, but we are not writing this on your taxpayer time and we are paying for this page with our own money.

We've been working to understand the problems for a year now. It is glaringly apparent that one huge problem is inexperience, due to loss of experienced legislators during the previous term limit law now thrown out by the courts. This inexperience creates barriers to public access. It prevents knowing how to develop respectful relationships under the immense stress of legislative sessions. It results in too few people who understand how to manage legislative sessions so they are shorter and cost less. It shows up as a lack of knowledge about how to use staff the best way to serve the public. It increases the power of non-elected bureaucrats and lobbyists over voter-elected legislators.

When you hire someone to fix your roof, or repair your car, you most likely want someone with experience who knows how to do the job. Why tell people who know how to do this job that they can't even apply? The voters still hold the hiring decision.

Term limits have caused serious problems with our Legislature for us Oregon citizens.

We ask you to vote NO on Measure 45.

Dave Barrows
Daniel O. Bernstine
Rep. Deborah Boone
Frank E. Brawner
Jane Cease
Kim Duncan
Dave Frohnmayer, Former Attorney General
Sen. Avel Louise Gordly
Rep. Wayne J. Krieger
Ginny Lang
John N. Lattimer
Hans A. Linde
Sen. Frank Morse
Laura M. Pryor

(This information furnished by Dave Barrows.)

Argument in Opposition

Who Benefits from Term Limits- Out of State Special Interests, or the Citizens of Oregon?

This year a multi-millionaire from New York, and private organizations from Illinois and Washington, DC, spent half a million dollars to get Measure 45 on the ballot. Why are they willing to spend so much money to limit your right to vote for the candidate of your choice for the legislature in Oregon?

In 1992 they convinced Oregon voters to limit service in the House and Senate. Most of the leaders of the legislature were forced out and were replaced by new, inexperienced people. Corporate special interests had a field day obtaining huge tax breaks for themselves and their friends while Oregon's ability to fund its schools, healthcare, senior programs, and the state police nosedived. The last three speakers of the Oregon House had only two regular legislative sessions' experience each when elected speaker. That inexperience has hurt Oregon. Partisanship increased, efficiency decreased, and the ability of your legislature to get good things done for Oregon declined.

I have been fighting against powerful special interests and their tax loopholes and for the interest of average Oregonians since I was first elected in 2000. It has been slow going. Like anything really worth doing, this work takes time. We are making progress, but a new term limit law would be devastating to the reform Oregonians desperately need.

That New York multi-millionaire thinks he can convince you to vote away your right to elect those you want to represent you and give more power to bureaucrats and those who can afford high priced lobbyists. Do not make Oregon more vulnerable to wealthy out of state special interests that couldn't care less about you.

Fight with me against out of state special interests. Preserve your voting rights. Vote NO on Measure 45.

This statement was written and personally paid for by Phil Barnhart, State Representative, District 11.

(This information furnished by Phil Barnhart, State Representative, House District 11.)

Argument in Opposition

Oregon's Editorial Writers Say NO to Term Limits

"[E]veryone here ought to know the full costs of writing into the constitution a law that requires a Legislature of novices and requires even the best of lawmakers, after just a few years, to hit the road. We've lived with term limits and seen the results: lousy leadership, more power concentrated among lobbyists and serious civic problems left to fester."

The Oregonian – August 22, 2006

"This fall, Oregon will be a political laboratory. And you'll be a lab rat. Two national groups have already spent more than a million dollars to salt Oregon's November…they'll be eagerly watching from their Illinois and New York headquarters, now and then tossing more money into Oregon, hoping you bite on Election Day. For them, this is just another political experiment. For Oregon, though, it is yet another crossroads in a maze of dead ends."

The Oregonian – July 30, 2006

"What we do know, however, is that term limits have not worked well in numerous states, our own for one…The results were predictable: sessions poorly run and legitimate bills quietly sidetracked. Meanwhile, administrative rules piled higher and higher."

Medford Mail Tribune – July 25, 2006

"[C]onsider in November our past experience with term limits, which were enacted in 1992…The result for much of the 1990s was a revolving door of freshman legislators who quickly dug themselves into partisan ditches with no way to build bridges that brokered compromises or solved problems."

Corvallis Gazette Times – July 24, 2006

"We tried term limits before. It seemed like a good idea when we enacted the limits in 1992. But we should have learned from our mistake. Eventually the limits drove some experienced members out of the Legislature, and no one would say that the quality of legislative work improved as a result."

Albany Democrat-Herald – August 2, 2006

Please join Oregonians for Voter Choice

and a chorus of others in Voting NO on Measure 45

(This information furnished by Pat McCormick, Oregonians for Voter Choice.)

Argument in Opposition

Don't be Used by Out-of-State Special Interest Groups

This fall, Oregon will be a political laboratory.

As voters, we'll be lab rats.

At least that's what The Oregonian said about Measure 45, and I couldn't agree more. As a representative of the Oregon State Fire Fighters Council, my members want Oregonians to know who's behind Measure 45.

A national organization called U.S. Term Limits, a Chicago special interest group, spent about $510,000 on the signature drive to qualify Measure 45. They are committed to a cause and want to promote it, which is their right, but we are the ones who have to live with it if it should happen to pass. You can expect that they'll spend more, hoping to tease Oregonians into taking the bait.

For U.S. Term Limits, this is initiative is political experiment. They're taking advantage of Oregon's initiative system with the hope of spreading the concept elsewhere.

Nothing prevents U.S. Term Limits or anyone else from spending millions of dollars more in the next few months to try to persuade Oregon voters to approve their initiatives. This is a wide-open system, and we Oregonians seem to like it that way.

However, nothing prevents voters from strongly resisting every attempt to use Oregon and other open initiative states as political playgrounds.

The day after the November election, U.S. Term Limits will pick up and go. They'll move on to their next project in another state. Unlike Oregonians, U.S. Term Limits won't have to deal with the consequences if their flawed political experiment becomes Oregon law.

Please vote No on Measure 45 and keep Oregon's initiative system an Oregon system, not a branch of Chicago politics.

(This information furnished by Bob Livingston, Legislative Director, Oregon State Fire Fighters Council.)

Argument in Opposition

Don't Let Outsiders Push Us Around

Oregon voters should not allow our state to be manipulated by special interest activists from Illinois. That's why we're asking voters to join Associated Oregon Loggers in voting NO on Measure 45.

Among the issues Oregonians care most about are public schools, health care and public safety. Few Oregonians believe putting term limits on lawmakers makes sense. So why are Oregonians now stuck with this initiative?

Special interest money out of Chicago…

The signatures that placed Measure 45 on the ballot are not the result of masses of Oregonians waking up one morning and thinking that what we really need are legislative term limits.

They were paid for by an organized drive financed by outside interests.

Almost all the $510,000 spent on the signature drive came from U.S. Term Limits, a group based in a suburb of Chicago.

Oregon tried term limits before. It seemed like a good idea when we enacted the limits in 1992. But we learned from our mistake. Eventually the limits drove some of Oregon's most qualified and experienced members out of the Legislature, and no one would say that the quality of legislative work improved as a result.

Measure 45 is even more extreme then the 1992 law, because it counts prior years of service. Almost all of our most experienced legislators would be out by 2008, and by and by 2011 every current member of the legislature would be termed out. That means U.S. Term Limits from Chicago, not Oregonians, will be dictating who we elect to office.

Don't let out-of-state special interest groups throw their weight around, change the Oregon Constitution and take away our right to vote for whom we please.

Please join Associated Oregon Loggers in voting NO on Measure 45.

(This information furnished by Jim Geisinger, Executive Vice President, Associated Oregon Loggers, Inc.)

Argument in Opposition

Oregon Alliance of Senior and Health Services
Asks Oregonians to Vote NO on Measure 45

The Oregon Alliance of Senior and Health Services believes it is important for Oregonians to know who's behind Measure 45.

A Chicago-based special interest group called U.S. Term Limits financed the effort to place Measure 45 on the Oregon ballot. They are committed to advancing term limits nationally, which is their right, but in the end, should Measure 45 pass Oregonians will be left with term limits' sad legacy

Oregon has a proud tradition of an open initiative system, and nothing stops U.S. Term Limits from spending millions to persuade Oregon voters to approve term limits. However, nothing stops voters from strongly resisting every attempt to use Oregon and other open initiative states as political proving grounds. After all, unlike Oregonians, U.S. Term Limits won't have to deal with the consequences of term limits if their initiative becomes Oregon law.

Oregonians tried term limits once before. They didn't work. They left our state legislature devoid of experience and rife with partisanship.

Moreover, term limits are unnecessary. Voters already have the power to limit a legislator's term every two to four years when legislators are up for re-election. Voter's shouldn't be denied the choice to re-elect talented and experienced legislators.

Please vote No on Measure 45. We don't need term limits and we don't need Chicago special interest groups taking restricting our right to vote.

(This information furnished by Ruth Gulyas, Executive Director, Oregon Alliance of Senior & Health Services.)

Argument in Opposition

The Oregon Medical Association Urges
A NO Vote on Measure 45

Measure 45 would set arbitrary term limits for state legislators. The Oregon Medical Association urges you to vote NO on M45 because:

  1. M45 would create chaos in the state legislature. We need a state government with leaders who know how our system of government works. If M45 passes, many legislators with years of experience would be forced out of office. In 2009, 40 newcomers to the legislature and we would have inexperienced legislators grappling with a multi-billion dollar budget.

  2. M45 does not discriminate between good and bad legislators. Regardless of how effective a legislator is, he or she would be ousted once they reached the limit of their term. We don't throw out good doctors — why would we throw out good legislators?

  3. There is already a process to weed out ineffective legislators. We can vote them out of office when it is time for re-election. The current system allows change to occur naturally and for experienced legislators to mentor inexperienced legislators.

  4. M45 would shift more power to the governor, state agencies, legislative staff, and lobbyists. M45 would turn the Capitol into a revolving door of legislators, thereby giving more decision-making power to stable entities, like lobbyists and special interest groups, who are not affected by the term limit. Legislators would be hindered from forming long-term relationships with constituents and power brokers.

  5. M45 is a simplistic idea that would have a tremendous and disastrous effect on a complex system. Nearly every current legislator would be gone by 2011. This kind of turbulent turnover breeds distrust and increases opportunity for mistakes—if you don't know the history of a problem, it's easy to repeat it.

Please join the Oregon Medical Association and Vote NO on Measure 45.

Andris Antoniskis, M.D.
President, Oregon Medical Association

(This information furnished by Andris Antoniskis, M.D., President, Oregon Medical Association.)

Argument in Opposition

Oregon Schools Need Experienced Legislators

The Oregon School Employees Association asks you to vote NO on Measure 45. This measure would hurt Oregon schools by ousting experienced and knowledgeable legislators with a proven record of supporting our school children.

If Measure 45 passes, it will replace our best and brightest legislators with inexperienced rookies who will be in charge of managing the state's finances, especially complicated school finance issues. Experienced legislators are more familiar with how schools operate and are not as easily influenced by lobbyists or bureaucrats, as some more partisan freshman legislators tend to be.

Oregon has experience with term limits – and it should cause us to send the out-of-state special interest group that paid to put Measure 45 on the ballot, packing. After term limits were adopted in 1992, our best most experienced legislators were booted from office, and legislators started focusing on short-term issues they could tackle during their brief legislative tenures, rather than Oregon's most pressing problems. That's part of the reason the legislature hasn't solved the school-funding crisis.

Unfortunately, Measure 45 is even more extreme than the 1992 law. Measure 45 counts prior years of service, whereas the 1992 law did not. That means virtually all of our legislative leaders would be prevented from running for re-election by 2008, leaving less-experienced legislators to fill the void. If Measure 45 is approved, by 2009, there would be 40 freshman legislators. Twenty-eight legislators, or nearly half of the 60-member Oregon House, would be freshmen; and by 2011 every current member of the legislature would be termed out. That means there would be virtually no experience in the Capitol on issues most important to Oregonians, like quality education.

Term limits received an F grade before and they will again.

Please join Oregon's educators in voting NO on Measure 45.

Merlene Martin, President
Oregon School Employees Association

(This information furnished by Merlene Martin, President, Oregon School Employees Association.)

Argument in Opposition

Oregon's Small Businesses Ask You to
Vote NO on Measure 45

The Oregon Small Business Coalition urges you to send the Illinois-based special interest group that placed Measure 45 on this year's ballot back to Chicago with a resounding NO.

Oregonians don't even have term limits on their radar screen, but a national organization called U.S. Term Limits is attempting to impose strict new term limits on Oregon legislators. As we've already learned, no one wins with term limits.

We tried term limits between 1992 and 2002. They were a complete failure and ultimately the Oregon Supreme Court declared the Oregon law unconstitutional.

Sponsors of the 1992 initiative promised term limits would make state government more responsive. Instead, term limits undermined Oregon's lawmaking process. Partisanship increased, Oregon's best and most experienced legislators were kicked out, and legislative sessions grew longer and more acrimonious. None of the benefits term limit sponsors promised were realized.

The original term limits law blocked a voter's right to choose whom they wanted to represent them. Measure 45 would again strip voters of their right to choose.

Ultimately, Measure 45 proposes to save Oregon voters from themselves. It's insulting. The responsibility for deciding who represents us should lie squarely in the hands of Oregonians, not U.S. Term Limits.

Voters already have the ability to hold their elected officials accountable at the ballot box. Don't let an out-of-state special interest group limit your choices as a voter.

Please join the Oregon Small Business Coalition in voting NO on Measure 45.

(This information furnished by J.L Wilson, Oregon Small Business Coalition.)

Argument in Opposition


The Oregon Association of REALTORS® asks you to please vote NO on Measure 45.

The Oregon Association of REALTORS® is the trade association for Oregon's REALTORS®, real estate professionals who help Oregonians achieve the American Dream of homeownership.

We are concerned about the impact that Measure 45 would have on Oregon's Legislature. Measure 45 would amend the Oregon Constitution to impose term limits on state legislators, forcing Oregon's most experienced legislators to leave office after only a few years.

Legislators face many complicated issues that affect our quality of life. We are concerned that Measure 45 will force good legislators to leave office as soon as they gain enough experience to tackle these issues.

We often hear it said that the State should be run more like a business. Successful businesses keep their management in place for many years because managers gain experience over time. No business could survive if every single manager had to be fired every few years. Investors would not want to own stock in such a company, and it would be doomed to failure.

Yet, that is exactly what Measure 45 would do; it would fire ever single Oregon legislator regardless of how successful they are at solving problems for the State.

That is why it is so important to vote NO on Measure 45.

As the voice for homeownership in Oregon, the Oregon Association of REALTORS® is joining with many other organizations, newspaper editors and concerned citizens in asking you to reject Measure 45.

Please vote NO on Measure 45.

(This information furnished by Jeremy Starr, President, Oregon Association of REALTORS.)

Argument in Opposition

Oregon Health Care Association (OHCA)

Oregon law should not restrict the ability of
voters to elect whomever they think is most qualified.

Term limits prevent the reelection of popular politicians who are doing a good job. Oregonians should not force proven leaders to lose their jobs. When incumbents run for reelection, campaigns tend to focus on the candidate's record. Voters are able to make more informed decisions and can hold incumbents accountable. Term limits take away the accountability of elected leaders and place a high reward on inexperience.

Experience is important in any job.
Term limits would require that our leaders be novices.

You wouldn't want to be operated on by a doctor who had never performed surgery before or to be represented by a lawyer who had never been to trial before. The same rule holds for politicians. Being an effective leader involves more than having opinions on the handful of major issues that decide campaigns. Legislators must understand specific, often complex issues. They learn through experience. But term limits would remove all experienced members from the legislature and disrupt legislative continuity from term to term.

The possibility of reelection compels politicians to serve the people.

Everyone needs an incentive to do his or her job well. For politicians, the incentive is reelection. If campaign promises are not met, then politicians can expect to lose their jobs. Term limits create lame ducks for whom there is no incentive to act as promised. Having leaders who are no longer dependent on the approval of the people who elected them runs contrary to the basic principles of democracy.

(This information furnished by Jim Carlson, Executive Director, Oregon Health Care Association.)

Argument in Opposition

Oregon Needs an Experienced Legislature

Term limits are an ongoing guarantee that most of the people we elect to oversee Oregon will lack the experience to do it well.

Measure 45 would restore the same failed term-limit scheme the Oregon Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional in 2002. By 2011, almost every current legislator would be gone.

The result: Many good legislators would be kicked out and replaced with more partisan newcomers. Experienced veteran legislators – familiar with how state budgets and programs, and who aren't so easily influenced by lobbyists and bureaucrats – would be replaced by rookies still learning the ropes.

Special interest lobbyists have much more influence on newly elected legislators because, to stay in office without an established political base, they must seek financial support from interest groups to help them cover the costs of their next campaigns.

We don't need to guess about Measure 45's consequences. We've already seen what inflexible term limits do. Backers in 1992 promised that term limits would free legislators from fears about their re-election and focus them on the tough issues facing Oregon.

Instead, inexperienced lawmakers focused on issues with short-term payoff because they knew there wasn't time to tackle big issues, like stable funding for Oregon schools. School funding problems worsened, while short-term lawmakers gave voters the chance to lock the personal and corporate income tax kickers into the state Constitution.

Politics became more paramount. Majority and minority caucuses in the House and Senate became more dominant, producing a more partisan legislature. Gridlock evident in the legislature today has its roots in legislative term limits, when leaders of both parties worried more about how their caucus would fare in the next election than about individual members who were destined to quickly come and go.

As education and health care professionals, we ask you to vote NO on Measure 45. Our state simply cannot afford a legislature known perpetually for its inexperience.

(This information furnished by Mark Schwebke, President, American Federation of Teachers-Oregon.)

Argument in Opposition

The Oregon Business Association Asks You to
Vote NO on Measure 45

Oregon has a history with term limits, and it's not pretty.

Sponsors of the original term limits initiative promised restricting the number of terms a legislator could serve would improve our state legislature. The exact opposite occurred. Term limits left Oregon's legislature in a state of upheaval. During the 10 years they were in effect, partisanship increased and productivity decreased.

Term limits pushed out our best and brightest legislators and replaced them with novice law makers who knew little of state government and were easily influenced by special interests groups and state government bureaucrats. Today, with the benefit of hindsight, it is clear that none of the benefits term limit sponsors promised were delivered.

Once more, term limits are unnecessary. Oregonians can fire their state legislators each time they run for re-election. But term limits forces Oregonians to get rid of all legislators, not just the bad ones. It blocks a voter's right to choose whom they want to represent them in Salem simply because their time ran out.

Not one of the Oregon Business Association's members would contemplate firing all their best employees. It would drive their businesses into the ground, just as term limits drove the state legislature into the ground. Today, Oregon is still suffering from the after effects of term limits despite the fact the Oregon Supreme Court ruled term limits unconstitutional in 2002.

We are asking you to join the member businesses and employees of the Oregon Business Association in rejecting term limits. We believe it is each citizen's duty to hold their elected officials accountable by exercising their right to vote. Every election we can fire the bad and re-elect the good. Let Oregonians decide for ourselves whom we send to Salem, not an Illinois special interest group that funded this shortsighted proposal.

Please Vote NO on Measure 45.

(This information furnished by Lynn Lundquist, President, Oregon Business Association.)

Argument in Opposition

Oregon's Family Farmers and Foresters
Urge a NO Vote on Measure 45

Family farmers and foresters of Oregonians for Food and Shelter are asking all voters to say "NO" to Measure 45.

Here's why:

CHOICE: Taking away a voter's right to choose their representation is anti-democratic.

EXPERIENCE: Forcing legislators out of office based on years of service rather than performance weakens Oregon's legislature. Legislative experience and historical perspective result in better decisions and fewer repeat mistakes.

ACCOUNTABILITY: Politicians must remain accountable to voters. Those that perform well deserve to be voted back to office – and those that don't need to go. This keeps legislators on their toes. Legislators facing term limits don't have the same incentive to listen to constituents.

NECESSITY: There is none! Voters can "fire" incumbents every election cycle.

HISTORY: Oregon had a term limits law during the 1990s. The benefits term limits proponents claimed would happen -- never did. Legislators tended to focus more on goals with short-term payoff, knowing they'd be termed out soon. State budget spiraled out of control and key, long term issues like schools were left unresolved.

Term limits take away the voice of the voter. It strips the legislature of the experience and leaders needed to tackle important Oregon problems. Term limits are unnecessary, as we can vote poor legislators out while keeping excellent performers. Oregon tried term limits before and they didn't work.

For all of these reasons please join Oregon's family farmers and foresters in voting NO on Measure 45.

(This information furnished by Terry Witt, Oregonians for Food and Shelter.)

Argument in Opposition

Oregon Restaurant Association

Please vote no on Measure 45. Here are six reasons why:

FIRST, taking away the right of voters to choose who will represent them is at best, misguided, and at worst, destructive of democracy.

SECOND, with experience comes greater skill. A first-term legislator is less likely to be able to "get things done" in Salem. Permanent committee staffers become more knowledgeable and powerful than the members themselves. The same is true of agency staff and special interest lobbyists who grow more powerful as they "help" inexperienced members.

THIRD, the very fact that politicians are accountable to voters who can reelect them keeps legislators responsive. With term limits, a lame duck legislator no longer has any motivation to continue serving the concerns of constituents.

FOURTH, term limits are unnecessary. The electorate should be allowed to do its job holding poor legislators accountable. Voters can always limit a legislator's term at every election.

FIFTH, the current system already provides the results term limit proponent say they want. Voters can fire incumbents every election. Term limits simply invite disaster, loosing large amounts of local representatives every election.

FINALLY, when term limits were implemented in Oregon, the benefits promised by proponents never happened. Politicians serving as city council members and county commissioners ran for the legislature, and Legislators ran for local office, not ordinary citizens. And term-limited legislators turned elections into a version of political musical chairs.

Oregonians have seen term limits and watched them fail. Many of the budget issues were created because you eliminated legislators that understood the complex state budget process and replaced them with inexperienced legislators that have to rely on staff and lobbyists for assistance.

Please join Oregon's restaurants in voting no on Measure 45.

(This information furnished by Bill Perry, Oregon Restaurant Association.)

Argument in Opposition

Associated General Contractors Urge You to
Vote NO on Measure 45

There's a good reason for Oregonians to wonder why an Illinois-based special interest group is pushing Measure 45 on Oregon's ballot to impose strict new term limits on Oregon legislators. It's because out-of-state special interests – not Oregon voters – stand to gain if Measure 45 passes.

In 2002, the Oregon Supreme Court declared Oregon's decade-old term limits law unconstitutional.

Sponsors of the 1992 initiative promised term limits would make state government better and more responsive to the people. Instead, the limits played havoc with Oregon's lawmaking process. During the 10 years they were in effect, partisanship in Salem got worse, not better. Reliable legislators that local voters trusted were kicked out, replaced by partisan newcomers eager to please special interests in order to solicit their financial support for the next election. None of the benefits term limit sponsors promised were achieved.

Term limits just made things worse. Trust in government went down, not up. Why?

Because term limits blocked voters right to choose whom they wanted to represent them in Salem. Now Measure 45 would put the same handcuffs on voters, telling us who we CAN'T have represent our interests in the Capitol.

One of our founding fathers, James Madison of Virginia, had a better idea when he wrote the U.S. Constitution. He put responsibility for deciding who would represent us in making laws squarely in the hands of the people. The framers of our Constitution debated and rejected term limits.

We are asking you to join the businesses and employees that make up Oregon's construction industry in rejecting term limits. We believe it is each citizen's duty to hold their elected officials accountable by participating in the elections – fire bad ones, re-elect good ones. Let us decide for ourselves whom we send to Salem.

Please join us in voting NO on Measure 45.

(This information furnished by Craig Honeyman, Associated General Contractors Oregon-Columbia Chapter.)

Argument in Opposition

Term Limits Don't Work

Term limits are a failure. We tried them in Oregon, and the state is still reeling from the aftereffects.

A term limits initiative approved by Oregon voters in 1992 resulted in the ouster of numerous legislators, including most of the leadership. That initiative was eventually overturned by the courts, but not before Oregonians had a chance to see its effects.

The effects were not pretty. The partisanship, record-long sessions and inability to tackle the issues most important to Oregonians were term limits' legacy. This time around, the members of the Oregon Home Builders Association are urging Oregon voters to give Measure 45, and the out of state money behind it, a resounding thumbs down.

As term limits kicked in, Oregon's Legislature began a downward spiral of partisan bickering from which it has yet to emerge. Part of that was the result of inexperienced leadership. The bulk of legislators who were term-limited after the 1992 vote were the most experienced members. When leadership is removed, power slides to those who are most familiar with how the game is played. The veterans who stepped in to fill the vacuum were not legislators, but rather lobbyists and state government bureaucrats.

Measure 45 will produce the same effect. If approved, it will prematurely evict some of the best and brightest now serving in Salem. By 2009, there would be 40 freshman legislators. Twenty-eight legislators, or nearly half of the 60-member Oregon House, would be freshmen. By 2011 every current member of the legislature would be termed out. That means, outside of special interests and bureaucrats, there would be virtually no experience in the capitol.

It takes time to learn how to be a good legislator, just like carpentry or painting or roofing. No one would fire an employee just when they learned their job, but that's what this measure would do. It's a bad idea in business, and it's a bad idea for the state.

(This information furnished by Jon Chandler, CEO, Oregon Home Builders Association.)

Argument in Opposition

Oregon Transit Association

"The wheels on the bus go round and round, all day long."

While that may be a great theme song for members of the Oregon Transit Association, it is not a good theme for our state legislature. The last thing we need is a bunch of inexperienced state legislators spinning their wheels in Salem.

But that's exactly what the Illinois-based special interest group, U.S. Term Limits, would have you do - toss out our most experienced legislators to make room for inexperience. That is why Oregon's transit systems are urging a No vote on Measure 45.

There are a multitude of complex issues new legislators must tackle. Some of them, like our school finance system, our health care system and our transportation system are incredibly detail-oriented and require significant training and experience to make educated decisions.

While legislative turnover is inevitable, if Measure 45 passes, the busses will be lining up outside the capitol to take legislators home. That's because by 2008, nearly half of the Oregon House of Representatives will be first-time legislators. By 2011, the entire legislature will be filled with inexperience. That's why it is so important that Oregonians vote No on Measure 45.

While a "throw them out" mentality might sound good at first blush, that's not what leads to effective governance. Instead, term limits lead to excessive partisanship. That's exactly what happened while term limits were implemented in Oregon between 1992 and 2002. During that time, partisanship stifled the legislature's ability to tackle key issues like health care and school funding, yet produced consecutive record-long legislative sessions.

Oregonians deserve elected officials with the experience and expertise necessary to promote positive change. Oregonians don't need term limits. We already have the ability to fire poor legislators, every two years at the ballot box.

Please join the Oregon Transit Association in Voting NO on Measure 45.

(This information furnished by Roger E. Martin, Oregon Transit Association.)

Argument in Opposition

Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Term limits have a proven record of failure in Oregon. They don't merit a comeback. We suggest you say NO to renewing term limits for those who serve in the Oregon legislature. It's a bad idea.

The Illinois-based special interest group, U.S. Term Limits, paid more than half a million dollars to put Measure 45 on the ballot. It would re-impose limits overturned by the State Supreme Court in 2002 and would prohibit voters from electing anyone to the Oregon House for more than three terms and two terms in the Senate.

Term limits are unnecessary. Voters already have the power to limit a legislator's term every time they run for re-election. Voters shouldn't be denied the choice of keeping a good legislator representing them.

Oregon learned what term limits can do. During much of the 1990s Salem was a revolving door of freshman legislators who quickly dug themselves into partisan ditches with no way to build bridges, broker compromises or solve problems. Inexperienced legislators spent public tax money in a wild fashion, greatly increasing the state budget with no thought about the future.

What if corporations announced a policy of routinely firing employees who had been on the job 12 years? We imagine most people would defend the importance of experience and institutional memory. If reliable employees deserve better than that, so do our citizen legislators.

Please join the Oregon Beer and Wine Distributors in voting No on Measure 45.

(This information furnished by Paul Romain, Executive Director, Oregon Beer & Wine Distributors Association.)

Argument in Opposition

Stand for Children Urges a No Vote on Measure 45

Our Children Need an Experienced Legislature

Vote out ineffective legislators and don't give up your right to keep the good ones!

Well-informed voters vote out bad legislators and reelect strong champions for children and schools – not rely on term limits, which get rid of the most experienced, able legislators.

Oregon experimented with term limits from 1992 to 2002, before they were overturned by the courts. The result was "lousy leadership, more power concentrated among lobbyists and serious civic problems left to fester." (The Oregonian, August 22, 2006)

"Term limits in state legislatures have not accomplished many of the changes proponents promised—greater social, gender and racial diversity in legislatures and a decrease in political careerism. Instead they have given rise to inexperienced lawmakers and polarized legislatures. And they have tipped the balance of power away from legislatures and toward governors' offices and the executive branch."

-- From a report on the first comprehensive, multi-state study of the effects of term limits, National Conference of State Legislatures News, August 15, 2006

Term limits only increase the power of the paid professional lobby. Before term limits were thrown out by the courts, only one of the 16 Ways and Means members determining our state's multi-billion dollar budget had ever served on the committee before.

Don't leave the fate of our children and schools
in the hands of inexperienced legislators and
unelected lobbyists and legislative staff.

Keep your rights as a voter to vote out bad legislators and reelect good ones!
Vote No on Measure 45.

(This information furnished by Holly Pruett, Stand for Children.)

Argument in Opposition


Our 90,000 members -- including firefighters, teachers, steelworkers, nurses, construction workers, longshoremen and more -- work together to make sure that Oregon families have good jobs and strong communities. For us, that means that we have a healthy, active democracy where voters are informed and empowered.

Our member representatives have studied the ballot measures and voted to say "No on Measure 45."

This Measure Has Already Failed Oregon Once

The Oregonian said, "Oregon has tried term limits before, in a brief experiment from 1992 to 2002. …Looking back, the state got exactly what you would expect from term limits: inexperienced leaders in the House of Representatives who generally were unequipped and unprepared for their responsibilities, and record-long acrimonious, unproductive sessions in Salem. Why would Oregonians deliberately choose to go through that again?" (8/22/06)

Measure 45 Empowers the Pharmaceutical,
Tobacco, and Health Insurance Lobbies

After term limits kick in, our experienced elected officials are kicked out – but the seasoned special interests stick around, know the ropes, and get more and more power for big industry lobbies at our expense.

Measure 45 Takes Away Voters' Choices

If someone is doing a bad job, we can just vote them out. Term limits force out even the ones who are doing the right thing.

Measure 45 is Another Out-of-State Intrusion

This isn't even an Oregon idea. Measure 45 was nearly entirely paid for by wealthy out-of-state interests. The initiative process is for Oregonians – not for rich guys back east to mess with our Constitution.

Let's learn from our mistakes.

Let's support a healthy democracy.

Vote NO on Measure 45

Tom Chamberlain, President
Oregon AFL-CIO

(This information furnished by Tom Chamberlain, President, Oregon AFL-CIO.)

Argument in Opposition


Measure 45 takes away power from voters.

Once term limits are adopted, voters can no longer choose to keep or remove elected officials who represent them.

Measure 45 keeps elected officials from working for you.

With term limits, representatives must leave office often just as they finally know how the legislative process works. Would you want hospitals to only be staffed by first-year doctors?

Measure 45 destroys accountability to the people.

Once a politician faces term limits in their existing position, there is no longer any accountability to the people. Their final term is more likely to be spent setting up their career or next campaign for higher office instead of serving your interests.

Measure 45 is the wrong solution.

We need to restrain the power of big money corporate lobbyists, not give up the power to choose who represents us. If voters don't like who represents them, they should impose real term limits and vote them out of office.


(This information furnished by Larry Wolf, President, Oregon Education Association.)


Elections Division, Oregon Secretary of State • 136 State Capitol • Salem, OR 97310-0722