Another major bill had a less thrilling outcome today, setting the stage for a showdown in Senate Finance Wednesday. The Senate Courts of Justice Committee referred HB 652, the property rights bill, to the Senate Finance Committee on a 15-0 vote. It will be heard there Wednesday morning. Ever since the middle of last week when COJ yanked the bill from its Civil sub-committee for a full hearing committee hearing, rumors have bounced off every wall and ceiling on every floor of the GAB: It's going to pass because of this. It's going to die, because of that. These guys are for it. Those guys are against it. Who's to know what's true? Oh, if I could say what I know.
Here's what we do know: Big government forces continue to lobby against it and pressure senators (see video here). Their lobbyists have been in every committee room HB 652 has been heard in, waiting to ounce. In fact, the lobbyist for the Virginia Association of Counties and the Virginia Municipal League, begged Committee Chairman Henry Marsh (D-16, Richmond) to let him and other opponents to speak today. Senator marsh told him to save it for Finance.
Think this is all stuff of a conspiracy? Check out the case of the mystery memo posted on Tertium Quids: A set of unattributed talking points opposed to the bill was found, apparently being dropped off at certain senators' offices. Lobbying information is supposed to be identified, sort of like campaign mailers. Hmmmmmmm.
On the other hand, the good guys have an expanding coalition for the bill and three major editorial pages, of different political philosophies, have endorsed it since Thursday: The Richmond Times-Dispatch, The Fredericksburg Free Lance-Star and the Norfolk Virginian-Pilot.
In the meantime, do your part to protect property rights. Contact members of the Senate Finance Committee and ask them to pass HB 652 Wednesday morning.