Bipartisan legislation seeks term limits for Washington governor

OLYMPIA, Wash. -- A Republican running for governor and a Democrat who's the longest serving lawmaker in Washington are proposing term limits for the governor's office.

State Sen. Phil Fortunato, R-Auburn, and state Sen. Tim Sheldon, D-Potlatch, have proposed a Constitutional amendment that would set a two-term limit on the governor's office. Currently, the governor is elected every four years but there's no limits to how many times he or she can run for reelection.

As The Kitsap Sun reported, Sheldon, a Democrat who most often votes with Republicans, has been a state lawmaker since 1990 and is the longest serving state legislator.

The amendment would need a 2/3 majority vote in both the state House of Representatives and the state Senate, then it would be put on the ballot for voters to decide.

It would apply to future governors and would not prevent Gov. Jay Inslee from seeking a third term.

Inslee would be only the second governor in history to win a third term if he's reelected.

The proposal being floated by the two lawmakers would also affect a governor who fills in for an unexpired term. For example, if a Democrat wins the 2020 presidential election and Inslee gets a Cabinet position, the person who's selected to replace Inslee as Washington governor would only be able to run for one full term as governor.

The 2020 Washington state legislative session begins Jan. 14.