- The Washington Times - Wednesday, December 27, 2006

RICHMOND (AP) — Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat, and Republican lawmakers are discussing a compromise to change the state constitution so that future Virginia governors can seek re-election.

Virginia is the only state that bars its governors from serving two consecutive terms.

Supporters of a constitutional amendment to allow back-to-back terms say it would help the state make long-term plans and negotiate with businesses that want to move to Virginia.

Opponents say the change would give governors too much power.

House Majority Leader H. Morgan Griffith, Salem Republican, said a compromise could be approved in next month’s General Assembly session because Mr. Kaine has indicated he is willing to give lawmakers more appointment powers.

“The chances are better than they’ve been for the past few years,” Mr. Griffith told the Virginian-Pilot newspaper of Norfolk.

He said that he and Bill Leighty, Mr. Kaine’s chief of staff, have had several discussions on the issue.

Kaine spokesman Kevin Hall said in an e-mail that the governor is willing to discuss changes to the appointment powers as part of a constitutional amendment that would allow consecutive terms.

If the legislature approves a compromise during the 2007 session and again in the 2008 session, the voters would decide in November 2008 whether to amend the constitution.

If the change is approved, the governor elected in 2009 would be allowed to seek a second term in 2013.

Delegate Harry R. Purkey, Virginia Beach Republican, has sponsored for years constitutional amendments that would allow back-to-back terms.

Mr. Purkey has filed several bills for the upcoming session, some that would allow two consecutive four-year terms and others that would create a single six-year term for governors.

In exchange, Mr. Purkey has proposed that governors allow the General Assembly to name five of the nine members on the state’s Board of Education.

Currently, the governor makes all nine appointments.

Mr. Purkey said the legislature also would ask to make appointments to the Commonwealth Transportation Board and the State Council of Higher Education.

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