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Results tagged “Power Sharing”

Worst of the Week - The Power Grab

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January 13, 2012

Despite conservatives in Richmond attempting to pass laws that would ban abortion and discriminate against minority voters, neither was the most offensive act of the week. ProgressVA's Worst of the Week occurred on the very first day of the legislative session when conservatives executed their brazen power grab--disrespecting Virginia voters who cast their ballots for power sharing and an even split in the State Senate.

Progressive Point: Virginia's voters elected 20 Republican and 20 Democratic State Senators, but conservatives in Richmond disregarded that choice in their brazen power grab. And in their very first act after disrespecting the people's desire for power sharing, conservatives re-wrote the rules of the Senate. Right-wing Senators decided that they didn't like the rule requiring Senate committee assignments to be proportional to the number of elected Senators in each party--so they threw it out.

Richmond isn't Washington, D.C., and Virginians deserve better than blatantly partisan political games. But conservatives in our Capitol are bent on twisting our democracy to their will, and throwing out the rules when they don't like them. This divisiveness is not what we the voters want or what our Commonwealth deserves.

Get the Facts:

  • On Wednesday, conservative Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling voted to give his party and himself control of the State Senate's organization, despite the equal split in Democratic and Republican Senators. (Richmond Times-Dispatch)

  • Also on the first day of the General Assembly Session, conservatives threw out rules that require the number of Senate committee assignment for each party reflect the ratio of elected State Senators from each party. However conservatives are giving Republicans 93 committee seats and the Democrats just 74. (Washington Post, January 12, 2012)

Tweet it: Worst of the Week: http://bit.ly/xAQHFw via @ProgressVA

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Stop the power grab and get to work

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January 10, 2012

Virginia's part-time legislature will begin its short session tomorrow. Sadly, the Daily Press reports, "Republicans and Democrats will be at each other's throats from the opening gavel over whether Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling can use his tie-breaking vote as president of the Senate to organize the chamber and give the GOP control. As a result of last November's elections, the Senate is evenly divided with each party holding 20 seats."

Progressive Point: The conservative power grab in the State Senate ignores the will of the voters and distracts focus from the pressing issues facing Virginians. Virginians have real concerns about our economy, creating jobs, fixing our roads, and strengthening our families. Instead of tackling bipartisan solutions, conservatives continue to push their extreme agenda.

Virginians don't want the same political games in Richmond that the politicians play in Washington, D.C. Our legislators should be working for us, not an extreme Tea Party agenda. Virginia families are facing very real problems that our representatives can all agree on. It is their duty to respect the will of the voters, share power and serve all Virginians. Conservatives should stop their partisan power grab and get to work.

Get the Facts:

  • Research from Public Policy Polling show that the majority of voting Virginians support power sharing in the State Senate: "On one hand only 31% of voters think the Republicans should have full control of the chamber, while 55% think there should be some sort of power sharing arrangement. Predictably Republicans think they should have all the power and Democrats think it should be shared. Independents tip the balance by siding with the Democrats in support of power sharing by a 53/28 margin."

In the mid-90s, when the shoe was on the other foot, Virginia Republicans argued for the exact opposite for what they are saying today. Here are a couple of their quotes:

  • "There are 20 of them -- there are 20 of us... We are going to be equal partners." Sen. John Chichester, The Richmond Times Dispatch, November 30, 2011
  • "We've got parity we're entitled to 50 percent of the committee chairmanships and 75 of the 150 committee assignments." Sen. Joe Benedetti (R-Richmond), The Washington Times, December 13, 1995
  • "[the power-sharing pact] is consistent with what [voters] decided on during the election which was a 20-20 split" Gov. George Allen, The Washington Times, January 13, 1996
  • "I thought in 1996 that the power-sharing arrangement, which was good for four years, made for greater harmony in doing the business of the Senate... I think such would be true today if a sharing agreement could be worked out." Rep. Virgil Goode, The Richmond Times Dispatch, November 30, 2011

Tweet it: Stop the power grab and get to work http://bit.ly/wrrND7 via @ProgressVA

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The Republican Power Grab

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December 6, 2011

Conservatives in Virginia's State Senate are continuing to ignore the voice of voters, who chose a balanced legislature, in their attempt to grab power and establish one-party rule in Richmond so that they can push through their radical agenda. But yesterday, the Free Lance-Star reported, "Virginia Senate Democrats filed suit yesterday to stop Republicans from taking power in the state Senate. The lawsuit was filed by Sen. Don McEachin, D-Richmond, the caucus chairman, in Richmond Circuit Court. It seeks an injunction to stop Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling from voting with Republican senators to organize the Senate when it convenes next month and asks the judge to rule on whether Bolling has authority to vote on certain matters."

Progressive Point: Twenty equals twenty, despite conservatives' continued attempts to overreach. Virginia has a history of sharing power when there is an equal partisan split in the State Senate and agreeing to share power for the good of the Commonwealth. Virginia voters should expect no less of their leaders now. This conservative power grab is a blatant attempt institute one-party rule in Virginia so they can enact a radical agenda, including ending a woman's right to choose in Virginia, redoing redistricting, enacting anti-environment legislation, and many other bills that they would not be able to pass in a balanced legislative body. Virginians expect their leaders to respect their votes and respect their voice and come to a bipartisan solution in the Senate.

Tweet it: VA's leaders must respect the voice of the voters and stop the conservative power grab #vafightback http://bit.ly/s1Sm2x via @ProgressVA

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The Republican Power Grab

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November 22, 2011

Note: The Progressive Point will be on Thanksgiving vacation until Monday, November 28th, in order to consume large amounts of turkey and properly prepare for Saturday's UVA-VT game. Happy Thanksgiving to our readers!

The Senate Democratic Caucus yesterday asserted the 20-20 partisan split in the State Senate should result in a power sharing agreement and announced their intention to file suit to prevent Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling from voting on the organization of the Senate.

The Progressive Point: On November 8th, Virginia voters elected equal numbers of Democrats and Republican to the State Senate. Now, Republicans are attempting to ignore the voters and seize power in order to force through their extreme ideological agenda. This power grab is an appalling overreach that ignores Virginia tradition and law. Republicans are trying to overrule the will of the people and claim a majority they did not earn. Virginia's leaders must respect the rule of law and the decision of the voters and establish power sharing in the State Senate.

What the conservative power grab would mean for Virginia:

  • Senate Republican leader Tommy Norment declared his intention to reopen legislative redistricting in order to redraw his district to his own liking and punish a neighboring Democratic Senator. (The Virginia Gazette)
  • The State Senate has been the last line of defense for Virginians against bizarre and extreme conservative legislation. A Senate led by an illegitimate Republican majority would likely approve the radical legislation coming from the House of Delegates. Already, Delegate Bob Marshall has prefiled legislation that would:
    • establish legal protections for fertilized eggs a la Mississippi's rejected "personhood" amendment (The Washington Post)
    • eliminate state funding for the Dulles Rail extension if the project includes a project labor agreement (See our fact check on PLAs here)

Tweet it: No majority? No problem! Republicans in the State Senate plan to ignore your vote. http://bit.ly/rMefdw via @ProgressVA

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Twenty is not more than twenty

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November 18, 2011

On November 8th, Virginia voters chose to elect equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans to the State Senate. Now, Republican Senators are circumventing the voters' decision and Virginia's Constitution to declare a majority in order to push through their extreme agenda. Senator Tommy Norment, who has been selected to lead the Republican Senate Caucus, demonstrated his poor grasp of math yesterday when he declared "the people of Virginia voted to have Republicans lead the Senate of Virginia."

Progressive Point: Respect for the rule of law and the decisions made by voters are fundamental to our democracy. Republicans in the State Senate have chosen to disregard the Virginia Constitution, the verdict delivered by voters on November 8th, and apparently the basic rules of math. Ask any first grader whether 20 is greater than 20 and they will tell you no. This blatant power grab is an insult to Virginians. Republicans in the State Senate must respect the laws of our Commonwealth and establish power-sharing in the Senate. Running roughshod over the will of Virginia voters to push through their extreme agenda threatens our future and subverts our democratic traditions.

Get the Facts:

20 is not greater than 20. (Source: 1st grade math, Wolfram Alpha)

The Virginia Constitution states that "members elected" may vote on the rules and organization of the Senate. The Leiutenant Governor is not a member of the State Senate. (Source: Constitution of Virginia, Senator John Edwards)

Tweet it: Twenty is not more than twenty http://bit.ly/tRm0Te via @ProgressVA

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November 10, 2011

Tuesday's election resulted in the Democratic Party holding 20 seats in the State Senate, the Republican Party holding 19, and one race that is too close to call but will likely go to the Republicans. This will result in a 20 to 20 tie in the Senate, with Republican Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling in the position to cast tie breaking votes.

Progressive Point: On Tuesday, you voted. On Wednesday, Bill Bolling and Bob McDonnell decided it didn't matter. In a blatant power grab, the far right of Virginia, under McDonnell and Bolling's leadership, is attempting to seize control of the State Senate despite voters choosing to split power evenly between the parties.

McDonnell, Bolling and the radical right are trying to grab control while they only have 19 seats in the State Senate, with their own possible 20th State Senator refusing to declare victory. These brazenly partisan attempts, the first day after the election, signal a scary future for our Commonwealth if the Tea Party is allowed to take total control. Virginia needs leaders who will work together to secure a better future for our families, not supercede election results to push their own agenda.

Get the Facts:

"Virginia Republicans, who appear to have eked out a partisan 20-20 split in the 40-seat Senate in Tuesday's election, said Wednesday they will not share power with Democrats, who have held a two-seat majority the past four years... That's contingent, however, on Republican newcomer Bryce Reeves' narrow lead over 7-term Democratic Sen. R. Edward Houck surviving Wednesday's vote canvass in six localities that are part of the 17th Senate District, then a possible recount." (Washington Post)

"Republicans declared victory in the race between challenger Bryce Reeves and longtime Sen. Edd Houck, D-Spotsylvania, despite a mere 86 votes separating the two candidates and more ballots left to count -- not to mention the likelihood of a recount. But don't include Reeves among those already assuming victory. Campaign manager Chris Leavitt said they're going to wait before they anoint themselves the winner." (Washington Examiner)

"In one of their first moves since Tuesday's election, Republicans said Wednesday they would wait until January when they are in power in both the House and Senate to redraw the state's 11 congressional districts... The decision virtually ensures the state would keep its 8-3 split of Republican vs. Democratic congressmen... The Democratic-led Senate passed a competing map which would create a new district in which black voters are a sizeable minority, in addition to another district in which they hold a majority. The House plan, like Virginia's current map, includes one minority-minority district." (Washington Post)

Tweet it: On Tuesday, you voted. On Wednesday, Bill Bolling and Bob McDonnell decided it didn't matter. http://bit.ly/sQz3zs via @ProgressVA

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November 8, 2011

Progressive voter turnout yesterday was better than the Tea Party expected and resulted in a likely 20 to 20 seat split between Democrats and Republicans in the State Senate. If this scenario is confirmed by the State Board of Elections, control of the State Senate will be divided, but conservative Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling will be able to cast tie breaking votes.

Progressive Point: Despite spending much more money, Governor Bob McDonnell and the Tea Party were not able to buy an unstoppable majority in the Virginia State Senate. Virginians across the Commonwealth did not want to hand him and his party a blank check when it comes to our social and fiscal future. Despite how hard the Tea Party tried to take over our government, many more progressives showed up at the polls to say no and reject their radical agenda. While it will often be an uphill battle for average Virginians, today we are beginning a new fight for our shared future and values. Today the future of the State Senate is foggy, one thing is clear: McDonnell's money couldn't buy support for his terrible policies.

Tweet it: McDonnell's money couldn't buy support for his terrible policies http://bit.ly/rAdC7L via @ProgressVA

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November 7, 2011

Today is Election Day across Virginia and your vote matters more than ever. No less than the control of our State Senate and the future of our Commonwealth are at stake.

Progressive Point: With the control of the Virginia State Senate and the future of our families on the line, every vote today is extremely important.  Please forward this message to all of your family members and friends who live in Virginia to remind them how important today's election is. Tell them what issue is personally important to you and why it matters that they get out and vote. Tell them you care about women's rights, that you want our legislature to stand up to discrimination of every kind, or that you want responsible approaches to Virginia's environmental and transportation future for our families.

On Election Day, polls are open from 6 AM to 7 PM. Look up your polling place and driving directions on the Virginia State Board of Election's website.

Tweet it: Today is Election Day. Did your family vote?http://bit.ly/rtFCYg via @ProgressVA

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