I was wondering why Legislative Information Services sent me an update on HB 570, a bill to give homeowners a level playing field when appealing their property assessments. After all, it was killed in the Senate Finance Committee about two weeks ago. I was so unconcerned, I didn't even look at it. Then, because of totally unrelated events, a fellow blogger told me one of her readers was concerned because he heard his senator voted "no" on the bill — and was trying to find verification. I thought the senator in question voted correctly, but thought I'd double check. Simple enough. I'll just e-mail her the link to the committee vote. I went to the bill page and — better than David Copperfield — the vote had disappeared! Instead of the vote to "Pass By Indefinitely," (a polite phrase for killing a bill), the last action now says, "Left In Committee." In a way, that's worse, because it looks like the committee shirked its responsibility to give all bills a fair hearing. Regardless, the Senate Finance Committee literally expunged its vote (see here)! What cowardice and disregard for representative government!
What's really dumbfounding is that whoever made the decision to expunge the vote should've known that an LIS update would go out. That alone would send up a red flag. But most of all, they should remember this:
The Finance Committee thought it could expunge its deplorable vote in favor of government rights over taxpayer rights. But we have the video evidence here!
We recorded that committee hearing (and wrote about it here)! No escaping it liberal senators. Here it is, live and in color. Sound is pretty good, too. Simply fast forward to the end and see hear the vote. They're all there: Saslaw, Whipple, Miller, et al, the Who's Who of Big Government voting for government prosperity over individual rights.
This has not been a distinguished time for the Virginia Senate. First, it changed the ratio of committee assignments way out of proportion; then, it tried to re-refer bills out of committees without a vote; then, it changed the rules in mid-stream, to let sub-committees kill bills; followed by setting up a special Courts of Justice sub-committee the last week of session solely to kill particular bills the rest of the committee supports; and now, it's expunging vote records! Your lawmakers at work.