PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – A citizen’s initiative, which would allow punishment for state legislators who walk out of a session, has received enough signatures to make it onto the ballot for Oregon voters in November.
Initiative Petition 14 says if a state lawmaker has 10 unexcused absences, they will be barred from running for re-election.
Oregon is one of only a few states that requires two-thirds of lawmakers to be on the floor to conduct business.
Lawmakers from both Republican and Democratic parties have used the tactic of not showing up in mass on the floor of the State Capitol for voting when they are trying to block a vote on a bill.
In the past few years, Republicans who are in the minority have walked out in protest to block votes on bills such as capping greenhouse gas emissions and gun control.
The backers of the initiative say it is a way to force lawmakers to find a compromise, rather than try to sink a bill they don’t like.
The measure is backed by Democratic unions in Oregon as well as the state’s teacher’s union and public employees union.
If the measure is passed by voters in November, it would change the state constitution to bar legislators from holding office in the term after their current service has ended.
It is up to the leaders of the House and Senate to decide if an absence is excused, which could be an issue brought up in campaigns against the measure.