Tuesday, February 17, 2009

That Wacky General Assembly-Part Deux

House Speaker William Howell (left) with Salem Del. Morgan Griffith: Two principal House blockages>

It is simply astonishing that four addle-brained Republicans in Virginia's House of Delegates can trump the entire Senate and, no doubt, a huge majority of people in the House with simple bull-headed, partisan ignorance. But we have a prime example of it for you today, troops.

After the Senate voted 39-0 to create a bi-partisan commission to create new districts based on the changing census, a house committee voted 4 Republicans to 2 Democrats to kill the bill without even sending it to the House floor. That's a 4-41 victory for partisan stalemate.

Gerrymandering is and has been a disgrace in Virginia. Two examples will do: former Republican Gov. George Allen was drawn right out of his district by Democrats when he was in the General Assembly. He ran for governor. The rest is a sad part of history. Later, after the Republicans took over the House they put two of the most effective representatives this region has ever had--Dick Cranwell and Chip Woodrum--in the same district. Cranwell didn't run again. Woodrum, having been thoroughly marginalized by vengence-motivated leadership and stripped of his committee memberships, decided he'd had enough. We all lost with that.

My guess is that Salem's Morgan Griffith, who strongly supported killing the Senate's vote, saying he had issues with who'd pick the panel, is likely to be a victim of gerrymandering from the Democratic-controlled Senate when re-districting takes place. Nothing would please me more.

Meanwhile, another House subcommittee is hell-bent on weakening a bill that would severely restrict smoking in restaurants. Republicans again. I didn't need to tell you that, though.

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