Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Virginia Politics 2009 -- Open Government

Va. subcommittee votes to be recorded

At the urging of Democrats and members of his own party, Speaker William J. Howell, R-Stafford, said he has directed the clerk of the House of Delegates to start recording votes taken in House subcommittees.

Valentine claims some credit for recorded subcommittee votes in Assembly

Subcommittee votes in Virginia’s House of Delegates apparently will be a matter of public record in 2009, after House Speaker William Howell, R-Stafford, signaled his support of the concept.

Del. Shannon Valentine, D-Lynchburg, claimed some of the credit Monday. She has supported the recorded votes for the past two years in legislation she co-sponsored with Del. Kenneth Plum, D-Reston.

House GOP accedes to recorded subcommittee votes

House Democrats are claiming victory in a decision by the Republican majority in the lower chamber of the Virginia General Assembly to record subcommittee votes in the upcoming legislative session. Me, I’m wondering if this change in approach from the GOP might be a setup for some election-year gimmickry.

“When citizens learn that votes are not recorded in subcommittees of the House of Delegates, they are surprised and disappointed,” Del. Shannon Valentine, D-Lynchburg, said in response to the news regarding subcommittee votes.

House GOP Agrees to Recorded Votes

In 2006, the Republican-controlled House changed the rules to allow subcommittees to kill legislation on unrecorded votes. Before that, subommittees did not record votes but they could only make recommendations and not kill a bill outright. Democrats fought the rule in 2007 and 2008 but were unsuccessful.

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