House Courts of Justice

Moment Of The Day

We've had Quotes of the Day. We've had Bills of the Day. Now, for the first time ever, we have a Moment of the Day! Here's what happened:

In the House Courts of Justice Civil Sub-Committee a couple hours ago Delegates David Toscano (D-57, Charlottesville) and Rob Bell (R-58, Charlottesville) each had a bill dealing with mortgage re-financing, HB 1682 and HB 2061, respectively, each in the exact same language. Delegate Bell was not in the room to present his bill, but Delegate Toscano, a sub-committee member, was. So he introduced his bill and had witnesses as well. Delegate Bell then arrived and pitched in the conversation as well. When the sub-committee seemed inclined to report the bill, the question remained — whose version would get "rolled" into whose version?

Pride of authorship was at stake. Sometimes the more senior member gets the honor, or the lawmaker who filed the bill first. If a committee chair is involved, he or she is given deference. Many times, it is a matter of partisanship: the member of the majority is going to get the credit. That simple. But in a rare General Assembly moment, when humility reigned supreme . . .

They decision was decided by a . . . coin flip! Delegate Toscano called heads and won. A great moment for our very first Moment of the Day!

Property Rights Win Big In House Sub-Committee Tonight!

A couple of hours ago, Virginia property owners won a big victory over government bureaucrats when the House Courts of Justice Civil Sub-committee voted unanimously to report a bill to the full committee that would allow Virginians whose property is taken by eminent domain to present to juries a case for just compensation that would include property no longer accessible because of the taking. If the bill becomes law, a property owner who had 25 yards taken, but which rendered another 50 yards unusable, could then present that evidence to a jury and seek compensation for the entire 75 yards, rather than just the 25 yards. Although the vote was unanimous on HB 652, patroned by Delegate Ward Armstrong (D-10, Martinsville), lobbyists representing taxpayer funded government entities such as VDOT and local governments (Virginia Association of Counties and the Virginia Municipal League) tried to take it to their bosses, the taxpayers, as they do every year. However, after closely considering an amendment to water down the bill, property rights members of the committee, such as Delegates Sal Iaquinto (R-84, Virginia Beach), Manoli Loupassi (R-68, Richmond) and sub-committee Chairman Clay Athey (R-18, Front Royal), brought "the temperature of the committee" (a phrase used a lot around here) back to "hot" for the taxpayers. 

The bill now goes to the full committee on Friday! Please contact members of the House Courts of Justice Committee (click here) and ask them to report the bill to the House floor.