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Public gets hurt the most by term limits

Oregon's experiment with legislative term limits proved detrimental to this state before. Voters ought to learn from that experience and reject Measure 45 in the November election.

Measure 45 would restore term limits originally installed by Oregon voters when they overwhelmingly approved Measure 3 in 1992. The courts ultimately overturned that law, however, saying the original ballot measure violated the state constitution's single-subject rule for such measures.

Now, a group largely backed by out-of-state money is trying to persuade Oregonians again that legislators should be allowed to serve no more than six years in the Oregon House and eight years in the Oregon Senate - or a total of 14 years altogether.

Usually, when considering ballot measures, Oregonians can only guess at potential consequences. In this case, we know what to expect. Term limits will sweep away those legislators who have the greatest knowledge of how to set policy and run state government and replace them with novices.

In other words, we will be tossing out those who give Oregon the best hope of a better functioning Legislature and state government and install newcomers who must learn legislative basics before they can even aspire to statesmanship.

Oregonians don't need ballot Measure 45 in the first place.

In every election, voters have the right to toss out an incumbent legislator who is poorly representing their district. The decision, however, ought to be made district by district, not imposed statewide by term limits. Don't succumb to an illusion that this measure allows us 'to throw all the rascals out.'

We tried that once. The end result was a more partisan, less informed and less effective Legislature. Oregon just now is emerging from that unhealthy period. Let's not go back there again.