After all the reporting we've done this week on SB 504, Senator Ralph Smith's (R-22, Roanoke) coerced abortion bill, and the Senate's mischief with it, the in-box has been flooded and the phone lines burned up with questions. We are grateful for your interest and for your desire to get involved. With all the interest, we decided to compile a FAQ list, of sorts. Here goes:
Who hires the Clerk of the Senate?
Mrs. Susan Schaar is the Clerk of the Senate and has held that office since 1990. According to Senate Rule 8a:
A Clerk of the Senate shall be elected by the Senate for a term of four years and shall thereafter continue in office until another is chosen.
Among the Clerk’s duties are the maintenance of all Senate records and the referral of bills to committees. In different circumstances, we would provide you with Mrs. Schaar’s contact information and ask for you to contact her to encourage judicious bill referrals. However, since Mrs. Schaar is not elected by the populace and instead is elected by the Senate — and instructed to strictly follow its rules — contacting her to encourage changes to bill referrals is not the most appropriate course of action.
When can "the rule" be changed?
According to Rule 54 of the Senate, the Senate rules are adopted at the beginning of the first General Assembly session upon the election of the Senate. The Rules were last adopted in January 2008. Amendments can be made any year; however, January 2012 is the next year rules will be adopted.
What can I do?
Contacting legislators really does make a difference. In the past, we’ve seen that even as few as two or three e-mails or calls from constituents can cause a legislator to reconsider his or her vote. Concerning this bill, there are two things you can do:
1. Contact the Senate Courts of Justice Committee members (see below). Thank those who supported SB 504 for their principled stand for life. For those who opposed SB 504, let them know that you were monitoring this bill and that you were disappointed with their vote.
2. Contact the Senate Education and Health Committee members (click here) and encourage them to support SB 504.
How can I express thanks/disappointment to senators on their SB 504 vote?
Below are the names and contact information for the Senators on the full Senate Courts of Justice committee. E-mailing or calling is the best way to contact these senators to express your thanks or disappointment.
Senators to thank for voting to add penalties for coerced abortion:
Fred Quayle (R-13, Suffolk), firstname.lastname@example.org, 804-698-7513
Tommy Norment (R-3, Williamsburg), email@example.com, 804-698-7503
Roscoe Reynolds (D-20, Martinsville), firstname.lastname@example.org, 804-698-7520
Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg), email@example.com, 804-698-7526
Ryan McDougle (R-4, Mechanicsville), firstname.lastname@example.org, 804-698-7504
Robert Hurt (R-19, Chatham), email@example.com, 804-698-7519
Senators voting against adding penalties for coerced abortion:
Henry Marsh (D-16, Richmond), firstname.lastname@example.org, 804-698-7516
Dick Saslaw (D-35, Springfield), email@example.com, 804-698-7535
Janet Howell (D-32, Reston), firstname.lastname@example.org, 804-698-7532
Louise Lucas (D-18, Portsmouth), email@example.com, 804-98-7518
John Edwards (D-21, Roanoke), firstname.lastname@example.org, 804-698-7521
Toddy Puller (D-36, Mount Vernon), email@example.com, 804-698-7536
Creigh Deeds (D-25, Charlottesville), firstname.lastname@example.org, 804-698-7525
Don McEachin (D-9, Richmond), email@example.com, 804-698-7509
Chap Petersen (D-34, Fairfax) , firstname.lastname@example.org, 804-698-7526