The petition comes more than a decade after a similar measure was overturned by the United States Supreme Court in 2002 for violating the "single subject rule for constitutional amendments."
That effort, Ballot Measure 3, would have prohibited elected or appointed officials from serving for more than 12 years in a lifetime and was approved by approximately 69.6 percent of voters.
The Pierces hope to model their initiative after Oregon's current terms limits law for governor, secretary of state and attorney general.
If passed, the measure would limit members of the Oregon State Senate and State House of Representatives to 8 years out of any 12 years of service. Currently, there are no limits for those positions.
"It is time we change the pattern of electing career politicians in our state and get back to a true citizen legislature,” Pierce said. "Our current system is failing the citizens of the state... something must be done to get Oregon back on track, changing our leaders is necessary if we want to make progress our state."
Sen. Jackie Winters, R-Salem, said she talked with Pierce after learning of the petition.
“I was surprised and suggested it wasn’t good public policy,” said Winters, who has served 18 years in the Legislature. “I believe voters already have the ability to term limit our elected officials with their votes if they are not happy.”
When Oregon had term limits, she said “it depleted the Legislature of experience” needed to deal with “knotty and complicated issues.”
Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem, said he was saddened by the filing of the petition.
“It is an attempt to destroy the Legislature,” said Courtney, “and turn power over to lobbyists, bureaucrats and the governor."
Courtney also stressed the importance of having long-time members of the Legislature.
"The legislative process very much values experience," he said. "And it’s hard to come by in the Legislature."
He went on to echo Winters in saying there is already a process in place to limit service - elections.
"You don't get a lifetime contract to serve in the Legislature," he said.
At total of 1,170 pre-verified signatures supporting the measure were delivered to Oregon Secretary of State Dennis Richardson’s office on Friday.
Richardson has 10 days to verify the signatures before the petition is sent to the attorney general’s office for review.
Pierce expects his measure to be approved for the November ballot because it is a statutory measure, not a constitutional measure, which allows the Legislature to make modifications if necessary.
"Term limits will allow legislators to step away from the Legislature, to re-connect with Oregon regular citizens as non-politicians, and to still stand for re-election," Pierce said in a blog post. “This will allow new people to step forward to be elected to legislative office and new opportunities to solve our intractable problems.”
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