Virginia still clings onto one-term limit policy for Governors

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August 23, 2010

By Kyle Maichle

RICHMOND, Virginia: A term limits battle of a different kind is brewing in Virginia. The battle is over the current one-term limit imposed on the Governor[1].

Since 1851, the state constitution has banned Governors from serving consecutive terms in office. Virginia is the only state in the nation to limit Governors to one term[1]. Previous Governors and current Governor Bob McDonnell have asked the General Assembly to approve a constitutional amendment aimed at repealing term limits[1].

Delegate Bob Purkey (R-Virginia Beach) has introduced a constitutional amendment to end gubernatorial term limits in each session of the General Assembly since 1992. Purkey supports putting the issue of gubernatorial term limits on the ballot by stating: "let it go to referendum. Shouldn't the voters have a chance?"[1]

Other supporters including the Virginia Chamber of Commerce said that eliminating gubernatorial term limits would promote better continuity of state government. Opponents in the General Assembly feel that the one-term limit helps check and balance the Governor's power to appoint agency heads along with members to state boards and commissions[1].

There have been over 50 attempts since 1971 to get a constitutional amendment qualified on the ballot to end gubernatorial term limits. In order to qualify a constitutional amendment in Virginia, both houses of the General Assembly must approve the amendment for two consecutive sessions[1].

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