HB 1721, which would make Urban Development Areas optional rather than mandatory, was defeated in the Senate today, but not without a lot of drama!
First a quick history. The bill passed the House subcommittee by a vote of 7-4, then the House Committee by a vote of 12-10, and then, finally, the full House by a vote of 61-38.
The bill was then sent to the Senate Local Government Committee. The committee was comprised of 8 Democrats and 7 Republicans and was chaired by Senator Louise Lucas who clearly did not want the bill to come to a vote. Senator Lucas produced a letter signed by Senate Finance Committee Chair, Senator Colgan, and the letter said that Senator Colgan wanted this bill and two others sent to the Finance Committee. Delegate Bob Marshall, the patron, stated that the impact statement indicated there was no financial impact associated with this bill, so it was inappropriate to send it to the Finance Committee. Senator Lucas insisted that she had no choice in the matter, even though she was questioned by Senator Obenshain and others.
Then, about 15 of us accompanied Delegate Marshall to Senator Colgan’s office to determine why he had made the request. Some of the discussion between Delegate Marshall and Senator Colgan took place in private, but the result is that we left Senator Colgan’s office with him in tow, to bring a new letter to Senator Lucas. After a 5 minute recess while Senators Lucas and Colgan engaged in a private discussion, the bill was back on the agenda!
After all of that fun, the bill failed to obtain enough votes to be reported out of committee. The votes were cast strictly along party lines.
Even though we did not get a bill passed that we very much supported, we DID get 8 Democrat’s votes on record – something they were trying to avoid by hoping the bill would die in the Finance Committee. The following all voted NO!
- Louise Lucas (18th)
- Henry Marsh (16th)
- Patsy Ticer (30th)
- Roscoe Reynolds (20th)
- Toddy Puller (36th)
- Mark Herring (33rd)
- Mamie Locke (2nd)
- David Marsden (37th)
What is stopping you from running for Virginia Senate? Isn’t it time we took these seats away from such dreadful political hacks?
This just illustrates how important it is going to be to flip the Virginia Senate in 2011.
Just one vote cast differently would have advanced this bill to the full Senate.