Week Three at the General Assembly: Approaching the Legislative Crossover
Each Friday during Virginia’s General Assembly session, we’ll be bringing you a round-up of the week’s lawmaking headlines. RADIO IQ host Luke Church spoke with reporter Michael Pope, and has this week’s debrief, as we approach the halfway point of the session.
Church: Halfway point; I guess that means its downhill from here. It's been a week that had lawmakers at each other's throats. What the heck is going on in Richmond?
Pope: It's the halfway point of the session; all the House bills go to the Senate, all the Senate bills go to the House and there's essentially nothing new which means that the stakes are even higher. Floating on top of all of this is a controversy with Republican Delegate Rick Morris who is facing assault and battery chargesfor hurting his wife and 11-year old step-son; and this actually came up during a House floor session this week where they were discussing kind of a ho-hum bill on assault and battery charge when Democratic Delegate Marcus Simon made a parliamentary inquiry that few people saw coming: "Somebody in this body is was actually facing an active charge of assault and battery against a family or household member. Would they have a personal interest in this bill such that they should abstain under Rule 69?"
After that, the tone changed very significantly and every single one of the Democratic delegates' bills that were going to be on the floor that day were postponed.
Church: I understand that wasn't the only time this week that lawmakers were at each other's throats.
Pope: More than two dozen Constitutional amendments were killed in a block vote this week. Delegate Randy Minchew is chairman of the panel that was looking into those amendments and ended up killing all of them in a block vote. I asked him about exactly what happened in that committee where they killed all of those bills: "Then Delegate Hugo made a motion to put the rest of them into a block because the chairman had given us a rather direct directive that we should report no more than three. Had a motion been made to vote on all of the remaining 25 bills separately, I would have done so."