Lt. Governor bill opposition
January 25, 2012 ·
There’s been little action in either chamber of the Legislature concerning whether West Virginians should elect a Lieutenant Governor.
. A constitutional
amendment has been proposed allowing voters to decide the issue this November. But
the proposal may not make it to the ballot
The measure is part of Gov. Tomblin’s legislative
initiative and comes a year and a half after some constitutional
uncertainties. When Gov. Manchin
vacated the office to run for the United States Senate and Tomblin became
acting governor, there were questions about succession and length of term.
The new proposal would make the lieutenant
governor the political running mate of future gubernatorial candidates and
provide that he or she also serve as a cabinet secretary. The current lieutenant governor, senate
president Jeff Kessler says the crisis was resolved last year.
“I think most of that is water under the bridge. Let the
legislation go forward and see if there’s an appetite for it. The people of the
state will have to consider and vote upon it. But I think the process we had
has served us well for 150 years,” he concluded.
One of the backers of the measure is judiciary chairman
Senator Corey Palumbo, who feels constitutional clarity is important.
“There’s a certain amount of confusion last
year when Sen. Manchin ran for the Senate and vacated the office of governor. I
think we looked around and see that 40-some states have a lieutenant governor.
It would make for a more transparent and smooth process if we have a vacancy
for governor,” he said.
At issue is this phrase under the bill
that defines eligibility to hold the office of governor. The bills reads “if the total continuous time exercising the duties of
governor would exceed ten years.”
Ordinarily, two consecutive terms would add
up to eight years. Gov. Tomblin’s bill seems to add a two year term to the definition.