The House floor was quite the place to be yesterday when Republicans forced a vote on a Democrat bill that the Dems, all of a sudden, did not want to vote for. Imagine that! In a signal that Republicans were no longer going to let Dems campaign as pragmatists while introducing wacky legislation to appease their leftist base, the majority forced a vote on HB 852 by Delegate Adam Ebbin (D-49, Arlington) which would grant public employees the right to unionize and strike in Virginia. (Funny, don't remember any Virginia Dem campaigning on that issue last fall.) Since all but 17 Democrats refused to vote on the bill (and those 17 simply voted "present") — they were in quite the bind: vote "nay" and steam off their Big Labor Boss money men; vote "yea" and reveal their true stripes — you could feel them squirm. When the vote was concluded and only Republicans had voted to kill the bill, House Majority Leader, Delegate Morgan Griffith (R-8, Salem) made a motion under House rules to cast the votes for the non-voting members! (A member may demand that members on the floor vote). To do so, he had to mention an individual member was present, had not voted, then cast that member's vote; then repeat and cast the next non-voting member's vote. Each time he voted "no" for them. Thus, the vote was unanimous, 82-0! Virginia still stands tall against public employee unions. Somewhere, Teddy Roosevelt is smiling.
Which all leads to yesterday's quote of the day:
"Mr. Speaker, I note that the gentleman is present in his seat and has not voted, and ask that his vote be counted in the negative . . . ."