quote of the day

Quote Of The Day: Games Lawmakers Do And Don't Admit To Playing

We end the second month of the fourth year of the decade with a humorous, but candid admission from Senator Donald McEachin (D-9, Henrico), who continues an amazing run of QODs won by Democrats this session. We don't agree with Senator McEachin on almost anything, but it was good to hear him honestly admit his legislative tactics. The House Appropriations Sub-Committee on Compensation and Retirement met early this afternoon and had only one bill on its agenda: Senator McEachin's SB 252, a bill that started out as a domestic partnership benefits bill for state government employees, but was "amended down" to an almost harmless bill. But as much as it was watered down, passing it would represent an however-small-incremental move toward domestic partner benefits.

In introducing the bill he made a point of the fact that as amended, the bill only allows access to purchasing health insurance and that no non-family member could be added to a policy. That was meant to allay fears of these purse string watchdogs that Virginia's budget wouldn't take a hit in extra human resource costs. When sub-committee Chairman Charles Poindexter (R-9, Glade Hill) asked for those who supported the bill to come forward, a representative of the City of Richmond approached the lectern to admit the bill was put in at the city's request. He assured the delegates that it was optional, not mandatory for localities many of which share expenses with the state), but that Richmond needed it so that it could compete for workers in an area with several Fortune 500 companies. With that, Senator McEachin jumped back into place and said:

I didn't mean to leave out local government, Mr. Chairman. I wasn't trying to pull a fast one on the committee. It doesn't mean I wouldn't try, but it's not this time.

Not that he's the only lawmaker out of the 100 delegates and 40 senators who harbors such machinations, although he was probably behind this one earlier in session, and not that there are tricks of the trade that can benefit and bereft either side of any issue. But he it was a frank admission despite the chuckles it elicited — perhaps because his fellow lawmakers recognized the truth of it.

By the way: the bill was tabled by unanimous voice vote, effectively killing it for the year. Senator McEachin may need to try that fast one next year. But we'll be watching.


Big Don put appropriators on notice today. He needs to be watched.

Quote Of The Day: 2-7-14

Who says we're one-sided and partisan? Of the four legislators who've made our Quote of the Day this session, today makes three by a Democrat (see Delegates Scott Surovell and Jennifer McClellan). It all started on the House floor when Delegate Mark Keam (D-35, Vienna) went through the pro forma motion of asking that his his bill, HB 837, legislation to make the FOIA process more understandable for citizens and interest groups, and one which we have supported for two years now, be engrossed and passed on to its third reading. But he added his thanks to General Laws Committee counsel for her help in drafting the bill and then thanked The Family Foundation for our support in helping get the bill through.

The bill's soon-to-be passage is a classic case of a "easy approval deception" — despite the unanimous approval from the General Laws Committee, there was tough opposition to beat back well before the final vote. Nothing is ever as easy as it seems at the Virginia General Assembly, and this bill went to sub-committee, full committee, back to sub-committee and finally back to full committee. Not easy at all, but without one dissenting vote in its labyrinth legislative journey, you wouldn't know otherwise. In short, lots of hard behind-the-scenes work by Delegate Keam, to whom we are very grateful. We think we did our part as well.

The most open possible government is a goal we have always fought for and one which we always will. It's an issue that should have no partisan divide, and the bureaucratic opposition to this bill — whom we pay and then turn around and use our tax dollars to lobby against our rights — should be ashamed of keeping Virginians from knowing what its government does. Even the mainstream media, which has its own turf to protect, opposed this bill.

The light moment of Delegate Keam's short floor speech came when he said he thinks his patronage of this bill has put him in the running for our Legislator of the Year Award. Then, as everything else these days, the conversation went virtual, on Twitter.  So, here's the rest of our Quote of the Day . . .

Keam Tweet

We stand ready to work with any legislator whose ideas fit into our five core principles.

Quote Of The Day 1-29-14

Our Quote of the Day comes from Delegate Jennifer McClellan (D-71, Richmond), one who is about as nice and refined a woman as one will meet — but someone with whom we almost always have significant and substantial policy differences. This session, she is the patron of HB 1187, which adds a reference to "bullying" to a certain part of the code, and is a bill that we support, as we did last year in a predecessor bill she carried. Speaking to the bill today on the House floor, she said to great affect:

This will probably double my score with The Family Foundation.

Actually, that won't be hard to do. On our last Report Card she rated five percent. Five! That wasn't the lowest score — she tied with three others and four delegates came in at zero percent! — but she's pretty much propping up the table.

Yet, all that work may have gone for naught later in the day when she cast a wrong vote on an important bill (HB 1113) in the House Courts of Justice Civil Sub-Committee. As she left the committee room, she walked by a team of Family Foundation lobbyists and said, "I guess my score just dropped back down," which cracked us up. I provided the laugh for her when I told her she had already qualified for our Quote of the Day during her floor speech.

Not all down here is at the media and some partisans portray it. There is respect for those of opposing views despite serious disagreements. Cheers to Delegate Jennifer McClellan for being a great sport!

Quote Of The Day 1-16-14

Our Quotes Of The Day don't always come from the House or Senate floor, or from committee meetings. These days, they come from tweets. Continuing in our bipartisan manner, we found this last night from Delegate Scott Surovell (D-44, Fairfax): Surovell Tweet (1)

Notice TFF's and your my own logos on, ahem, the right.

First it was the rush of NOVA Rs (Senator Dick Black and Delegate Barbara Comstock) to enter the race to win the 10th House District seat opening up due to U.S. Representative Frank Wolf's retirement. Then, yesterday, Jim Moran announced he was retiring from his 8th District seat, prompting reports that several NOVA Ds will jump into the fray. Ah, yes. The General Assembly as the farm system for Congress.

Hollywood-Like, Instant Classic Quote Of The Day

Today's General Assembly Quote of the Day is unique and an instant classic. It is the product of the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Agriculture, which early this evening considered HB 1430, the "Right To Farm Act," one of the most highly anticipated bills on the entire General Assembly docket this year. In the General Assembly Building's incredibly cramped 5 East conference room, perhaps intentionally scheduled there to depress a turnout of Tea Party types, with people from all over Virginia spilling out in the hallways, and with the pro-Right To Farm Act witnesses already over the 15 minutes of allotted time he himself instituted for each side, sub-committee chairman Delegate Danny Marshall (R-14, Danville) allowed 10-year-old Dylan Stefl, who stood patiently raising his hand, to step forward and add his comments to the intense, but thoughtful, debate over the bill.

The young man approached the committee members table, pulled out his script, and stared at it for a few seconds. Sensing nerves and trying to put him at ease, Delegate Marshall said, "Why don't you start with your name?" To which the young man snapped:

"I'm getting to THAT!"

After the room recovered from several seconds of laughter and applause, the bill's patron, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-31, Woodbridge), told the red-faced chairman to another burst of laughter:

Mr. Chairman, sounds as if you're out of order!

The bill, also known as the "Boneta Bill" after Fauquier County farmer Martha Boneta, who faces massive court costs defending her right to sell products and host activities on her own farm, also testified. After Dylan's testimony, full of historical facts and a Hollywood-like pleading to pass the bill met with huge applause, an emotional Boneta gave him a huge hug. Alas, after the opponents' 15-minute piece and several more minutes of discussion by sub-committee delegates, the bill was pared down to a temporary compromise. It will be carried to the full committee where further negotiations between several factions remain, and its future still uncertain.

Day 4: Quotes Of The Day

Two quips make today's QOD. First, on the House Floor, Delegate Keith Hodges (R-98, Urbanna) eloquently praised the General Assembly IT staff, which redesigned and updated the GA website, as well as a new e-mail system, then mentored all legislative staff and lawmakers on its uses. After a warm round of applause, Speaker Bill Howell (R-28, Stafford) replied:

The IT staff does a wonderful job. I don't hold them responsible for the voting board not working the other day.

Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-15, Woodstock), after a circuit court judge, up for re-election, finished her testimony before the Courts of Justice sub-committee that vets judicial nominees, set up the audience and colleagues alike for a vote recusal before dropping this:

She gave me my first job, so I have to say nice things about her. She went on to bigger and better things — and I went on to this!

General Assembly 2013, Day 3: Capitol Square Diary Returns With Quote Of The Day, Moment Of The Day

Today we are very pleased to bring back a unique category to our blog: Capitol Square Diary. From our inception five years ago, we carved out a special online home for the best, inside-the-walls, behind-the-scenes coverage of the General Assembly. With our team of lobbyists and well-established contacts and sources, no one gets access to information — serious and lighthearted — that we do. But, when we relaunched our web site in 2011, we streamlined the number of blog categories (which serve as blog sites within a blog on specific topics). Starting today, though, Capitol Square Diary is back. It will be the place to check out anything and everything that goes on in Virginia government — while the General Assembly is in session and while it is not.

In light of the reestablishment of Capitol Square Diary, we also bring back two frequent features proudly brought to our legions of readers in the Diary: Quote of the Day and Moment of the Day, which usually chronicle the unreported, off-the-cuff, lighter moments of session. (We'll also highlight a Bill of the Day from time to time during session.)

Today's Quote of the Day:

Delegate Sal Iaquinto (R-84, Virginia Beach), chairman of the House Courts of Justice Civil Sub-Committee, to Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-1, Gate City), patron of HB 1654, a bill to require certain circuit court clerks to file appellate courts trial records in an electronic format:

You know the forestry industry, the paper industry and the lumberjacks oppose this bill, don't you?

Today's Moment of the Day:

Just because committee work is in its early phase doesn't mean humor — and awkward moments — aren't already in mid-session form. At the same sub-committee meeting this morning, its first of the year, Delegate Annie B. Crockett-Stark (R-6, Wytheville), walked into House Room D. Delegate Iaquinto interrupted proceedings to call out to her, repeating, "Annie B.!" several times before she looked up, whereupon he informed her she was in the wrong committee room. Her bill was scheduled for the COJ Criminal sub-committee across the hall in House Room C. Looking over the composition of the Civil sub-committee, she said, "That's probably a blessing."

Quote Of The Day: Defining (And Repealing) Washington, D.C.

This morning the House Privileges and Elections Committee voted to report the Repeal Amendment (HJ 542) to the floor by a vote of 15-7. All 14 Republicans were joined by one Democrat, Johnny Joannou (D-79, Portsmouth). The resolution is patroned by Delegate James LeMunyon (R-67, Chantilly) and is heavily supported by House Speaker Bill Howell (R-28, Fredericksburg), did not go through sub-committee. It was the only legislation heard in the committee and discussion lasted more than an hour — some of it enlightening and, inevitably, some very disappointing, including opponents' injection of race into the debate. While opposition lawmakers tried to raise incendiary, irrelevant and inconsistent points, committee proponents and a plethora of witnesses (including The Family Foundationunderlined the necessity of rebalancing power with Washington, D.C., and the necessary re-establishment of our founding system of federalism. That's where we get our Quote of the Day, from Delegate Bill Janis (R-56, Henrico).

Responding to Delegate Mark Sickles' (D-43, Fairfax) contention that while Washington, D.C., doesn't do things efficiently, much less perfectly, it eventually gets it right, Delegate Janis replied, in part:

Washington, D.C., is 100 acres of fantasy land surrounded by reality.  

The Repeal Amendment should be on the House floor early next week. If passed, it will go to the Senate where a version there was defeated earlier this week. The amendment, if approved by three-fourths of the states, would authorize a constitutional convention to adopt the Repeal Amendment into the U.S. Constitution. The Repeal Amendment would, with two-thirds of the states concurring, repeal any federal law or regulation in U.S. Code.

Quote Of The Day

In a fire-charged day in Senate Finance (see Part 3), a day of which we have barely scratched the surface, there were many memorable quotes. However, we have chosen Senator Walter Stosch (R-12, Henrico), whose pithiness underlined a severe truth during the debate on education freedom in Virginia. Responding to committee statists, who want to preserve the failing government-run school system and block, at all costs, competition and access to better schools for lower-income families by claiming the privately funded scholarship bill was a backdoor voucher program, Senator Stosch said the statements were nothing more than . . .

inappropriate arguments because they don't make sense any more so than a tax credit for a "green job" is a voucher. ...

Ouch! That had to hit committee statists right, smack in between their liberal sensibilities.

Quote Of The Day: From Today And Years Ago

Session hasn't started yet and already we have a Quote of the Day. However, it comes as no surprise as today is the second Tuesday of the month which means it's Tuesday Morning Group Coalition meeting day. TMG President and dear friend John Taylor supplies it, and it wins not only for its self-deprecating humor, but because it mentions . . . us! At downtown Richmond's Bull & Bear Club, high atop the James Center in the capital's financial district, Taylor, whose sense of humor is matched only by his assured and ready opinions on constitutional government (see his Tea Party speech), recounted a story relevant to a recent cabinet appointment by Governor-elect Bob McDonnell. But first, the punchline:

Years ago the Family Foundation sponsored a conference on education. ... They asked me to moderate a panel — mainly because they didn't want me to speak!

Now, about that story: On the panel that Taylor moderated was none other than Senator Henry Marsh (D-16, Richmond), one of the General Assembly's most obstinate liberal reform obstructionists on education as well as other issues. Marsh, who is black, outrageously said that after all the hardships to desegregate public schools, the school choice and charter school movement was the effort to re-segregate public schools. After he finished his demagoguery, a young black man on the panel, of whom Taylor was not familiar, stood up and said, (from Tertium Quids):

Where once George Wallace stood in the schoolhouse doorway to keep black kids out, some politicians (like Marsh) were now standing in the doorway to keep them from leaving.

Marsh left the meeting very soon afterwards.

That young man was Gerard Robinson, nominated yesterday by Governor-elect McDonnell to be Secretary of Education (Norfolk Virginian-Pilot). Come to think of it, even though it was years ago, Secretary Robinson's remark to Senator Marsh, makes a dynamite QOD. Sorry, John.

Campaign Special Quote Of The Day

Our Quote of the Day normally is reserved for General Assembly session (during which there are too many to post). But tonight at Richmond International Airport, at the GOP ticket's second-to-last stop on its final fly through tour, attorney general candidate Ken Cuccinelli again stole the show, earning himself yet more ink.

You know the Democrats are desperate for help when they even fly Tim Kaine into Virginia to campaign for them!

Fun aside, and there was much of it, the event was serious, with exhortations to not let up over the next 24 hours. Gubernatorial candidate Bob McDonnell and Lt. Governor Bill Bolling joined Senator Cuccinelli in asking the crowd of about 300 to do the blocking for them, to be the boots on the ground, to continue calling and e-mailing and Facebooking and Twittering friends, family, neighbors and colleagues; to man the polls tomorrow and give people rides to vote; to knock on doors and volunteer. Still lots to be done was the message. Taking nothing for granted, these men, not after eight years in the desert.

There were two surprises: Senator Jill Vogel (R-27, Winchester) emceed the event and Jeanine McDonnell, the Republican's eldest daughter and Iraq War vet (Army Lt., platoon leader), who first starred in the campaign as the his designated introducer and later in a campaign ad, sang the national anthem. What a great voice! Tomorrow night, she and the McDonnell family hope to be singing another song.  

Quote Of The Day

From one of our favorite senators, Janet Howell (D-32, Reston), who previously graced the QOD when she admitted she didn't have to read a bill to vote on it, comes this gem today, while chairing the Privileges and Elections Committee: When presenting a bill, Delegate Mark Cole (R-88, Spottsylvania) admitted it had a fiscal impact of around $75,000. But, he said, "it's already in the House budget."

Senator Howell, in the leadership of the Senate's  majority party and member of the Finance Committee, asked:

"Is it in the Senate budget?"

Umm, senator, the Senate famously and deliberately refused to pass a budget by its deadline last week (see Washington Examiner, here). Let's see. Senator Howell doesn't read the bills upon which she votes and doesn't pay attention in Finance Committee. Yes, we're in good hands.


Exclusive: Interview With House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith

Below is our interview with House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith (R-8, Salem). We submitted the questions to him via e-mail and he replied and returned them to us. Here it is in its entirety — as the questions were submitted and as his answers were written. Familyfoundationblog: Mr. Majority Leader, thank you for agreeing to do this interview! You are the first member of the leadership of either party or chamber to agree to an interview at familyfoundation.org.

The House, for years, has passed, often with huge bipartisan majorities, many of our priority pro-life, pro-family bills. Thank you for your leadership and the caucus' resolve in those matters. With that ground covered, so to speak, we thought we'd ask you about some other issues. We, and our readers, are looking forward to your answers and greatly appreciate your participation. Hope we haven't built up expectations and the pressure. ...

Familyfoundationblog: What big issue or reform would you like to see the caucus embrace and lead the General Assembly in passing? For example, SOQ reform? A taxpayer bill of rights?  Budget reform?  Real estate tax reform? Or something else entirely?

Majority Leader Morgan Griffith: In the long-term, it is the budget that poses the greatest challenge for us. Simply put, some key core services are growing at an unsustainable rate. With its budget doubling over the last decade, Virginia is among the top five states for spending growth.  Unfortunately, it will probably take a strong Republican governor, one committed to thoroughly reexamining the role, size, and scope of state government before this can be successfully addressed.

Familyfoundationblog: The House Republican majority has decreased over the last few cycles. Why is the GOP losing seats and how does the caucus plan to reverse the trend?

Majority Leader Morgan Griffith: Explaining why we've lost seats is complex, but the short answer is a combination of changing demographics in some parts of the state, the national political climate, and an inconsistent campaign operation overall.

We are preparing for an aggressive campaign to reclaim seats, and I have been concentrating my efforts on lining up strong candidates in Republican-leaning seats we do not currently hold. I am encouraged by our early work on this, and I think we're going to have some very exciting contests this year as a result.

Familyfoundationblog: Last session Delegate Ben Cline's (R-24, Amherst) online spending transparency bill, which would have put the budget online in a Google-like, user-friendly format, so an average Joe could look up any state expenditure, did not make it out of sub-committee. Several states have adopted such an online budget. We think budget transparency is important in general to generate public trust of government, but also to shine the sun on some nefarious groups that get state contracts, such as Planned Parenthood. What do you think the chances of passing such a bill are this session? Will it be a priority of the leadership? Most Virginians favor this and some think the GOP has ceded the issue for the Governor to carry out on his own.

Majority Leader Morgan Griffith: This year, the House approved Delegate Cline's Budget Transparency Bill (HB 2285) by a vote of 99 to 0. We have passed budget transparency measures previously (the issue has long been a priority of Senator (Walter) Stosch (R-12, Henrico), and former Delegate (Michelle) McQuigg spearheaded this effort in the House). As Chairman of the FOIA Commission, I know all-too-well that Virginia's government needs to improve the user-friendliness of its reforms and transparency measures.

Familyfoundationblog: The Standards of Quality formula is a big concern for many Virginians because it is antiquated and either needs massive reform or needs to be scrapped and re-fashioned from scratch for a student-based, more efficient education funding system. This would save hundreds of millions of tax dollars that could be re-prioritized. Do you see an opportunity to address this at some point in the near future?

Majority Leader Morgan Griffith: No. I don't believe the prospects for any substantive government reform in any area are promising under the current administration.

Familyfoundationblog: Everyone is curious now about the leadership's reaction to the Supreme Court's decision on the regional transportation authorities. Did you agree with the decision and did you think it is a good one?

Majority Leader Morgan Griffith: The Court's decision was well-reasoned, and there were some aspects of it that did not come entirely as a surprise. For legislators, though, the decision was frustrating. The bill that left the General Assembly would have complied with the Court's requirement that an elected body would have to impose the taxes. The Governor's amendments changed that aspect, and it was those amendments the Court struck down.

This was not the first time that a portion of HB 3202 fell into disfavor because of the Kaine Administration's amendments. The controversy over abusive driver fees was largely fueled by the public's rejection that the fees applied only to Virginia drivers. This was not the case when the bill left the General Assembly. The Kaine Administration made that alteration. In that case, the change was not disclosed in the Administration's briefing to the General Assembly on its amendments to HB 3202.

Familyfoundationblog: Are tax and fee increases the only things lawmakers are looking at? Why not make real cuts and/or prioritize tax dollars out of the General Fund toward transportation funding if it's that much of a crisis?

Majority Leader Morgan Griffith: Actually, the House passed a bill during last year's Special Session that would do just that, dedicating the growth of current revenue stream — income from Virginia's ports — directly to transportation. The Administration and the new Democrat Senate majority would not consider any measure that would increase the revenue flow to transportation without increasing taxes. This year, Delegates (Glenn) Oder (R-94, Newport News) and (Dave) Albo (R-42, Fairfax) have made significant improvements to that bill (HB 1579), and the House approved it by a vote of 67 to 31. But as long as the Democrat Senate majority and Governor Kaine insist on tax increases, the prospects for real progress on transportation are seriously diminished.

Familyfoundationblog: Perhaps one of the most talked about moments — and certainly one conservatives relished — of last session was on January 24, when you forced the vote on a couple dozen Democrats who refused to vote on one of their own member's bills, a bill that would have allowed public employees to bargain collectively (see video here). You made our blog's Quote of the Day for that! So, please take us through that:

Were you expecting the Democrats not to vote and prepared to force their vote? Or was this a spontaneous reaction? All they had to do was vote present to avoid this, right? Also, many have asked us why did you not record their vote in the affirmative to put them on record for public employee collective bargaining? What other insights can you provide our readers on this rare parliamentary event?

Majority Leader Morgan Griffith: The House Rules are very specific on this. If a member is in their seat but not voting and another member points that out, their vote must be recorded in the negative. This same motion was the first rules motion I made as a second-year delegate in 1995. We were in the minority then and I wanted to learn the rules thoroughly. Now every time there is a tough vote to take, I'm on the lookout for members hiding form the vote. An abstention would have prevented the challenge.

Curiously, the Democrats got over their shyness about expressing their support for collective bargaining later in the session. We ultimately got a vote on this issue, as the Democrat majority in the Senate passed a similar measure. At that point, they went on the record, with an overwhelming number of their caucus voting for an expansion of collective bargaining.

Familyfoundationblog: Mr. Majority Leader, thank you very much for your time during this especially busy period during the General Assembly. We greatly appreciate it and hope you enjoyed answering these questions, and hope you will join us again in the future.

Majority Leader Morgan Griffith: Thank you. The Family Foundation plays a vital role during each General Assembly session, providing members with much-needed information and a well-grounded perspective on the issues that are vital to Virginia's families. I know our members greatly appreciate the hard work you do on behalf of the families of Virginia.

Quote Of The Day/Bill Of The Day

I am not making this up. In what is a first for Capitol Square Diary, we got both the Bill Of The Day and the QOD in one fell swoop. Within the last couple of hours in Senate Finance, Senator George Barker (D-39, Fairfax), introduced SB 1497 to create a research authority on Geospatial Health, whatever that is.

Apparently not too many people know as Senators Edd Houck and William Wampler and committee chair Chuck Colgan all expressed some concern about the time available to understand the subject. As Senator John Watkins tried to explain, laughter was heard from the middle of the dais, where Colgan, Houck and the brilliant Senator Janet Howell reside.

When their laughter became noticeable, Colgan blew Howell's cover. Said the President Pro Tempore to a room of laughter:

"Senator Howell just said, 'I don't have to understand it to vote for it.'"

As it is said, the comedy that is best is so because it resonates with a degree of truth. We agree, especially in this case. Sadly, however, in Senator Howell's case, it also explains volumes.

Quote Of The Day

Again, in Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services, where Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37, Fairfax) received the second QOD in the three days we've awarded them so far this session. Senator Harry Blevins (R-14, Chesapeake) introduced a bill concerning private and religiously affiliated day care centers. After some innocent confusion over some amendment language and an explanation in favor of the bill by a representative from the Division of Social Services, Cuccinelli asked:

"You mean we're actually reducing regulations on these folks?"

When the Social Services rep relied, "yes, we are," he exclaimed:

"Mark this day down! Move to report!"

Kumbayah Moment Of The Day

Here's a first. We've had Quotes of the Day, reported on odd bills and other unusual public and behind-the-scenes moments around the capitol and during the General Assembly over the last year. This was something different, however. I was in Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee. Not that I had any business there, but it was the only place to corner a senator I needed to speak to on an important bill. (Tip of the Day: This is how you lobby legislators — you stake them out.)

One should always bring a newspaper or laptop to keep oneself occupied and/or amused during these situations because the legislation discussed can utterly bore you to sleep. (Not entirely bad when you're putting in 12-14 hour days.) On the other hand, these committee meetings where you have no bills to keep you interested sometimes pleasantly surprise you. Today was a case in point, where I witnessed our first ever Kumbayah Moment Of The Day.

Senator Louis Lucas (D-18, Portsmouth) introduced a bill that had something to do with special use ABC permits. Afraid her verbal demolition of a colleague's bill the previous day would hurt her bill's chances of clearing the committee, the flamboyant senator played meek. After introducing the bill and addressing the committee, she said:

"Senator Stuart, I apologize for what I said about your bill yesterday because I need your help now."

Replied Senator Richard Stuart (R-28, Montross):

"I never hold grudges. I like you too much to hold grudges."

The bill passed. Rest assured, though, this won't last — and the fireworks will return. Session is only three days old.

Governor Kaine Is Hot: Two Consecutive Quotes Of The Day!

Just last week Governor Tim Kaine made our prestigious quote of the day for saying he would take action on a "green initiative" report given to him because studies don't gather dust in his administration, yet he didn't know what was in the study he was just presented so he didn't know what action he would take. In yesterday's Richmond Times-Dispatch he made clear what conservatives say about liberals, and what liberals say about themselves only after elected (though the opposite while campaigning) — to wit, he's doesn't believe in reducing government's spending of your tax dollars: 

"Let's be realistic. You don't run for governor to make budget cuts."

This is not a conservative conspiracy. No one is making this up. Which leads us to ask what we always ask when we read such nonsense:

Why do people believe that liberals will govern contrary to liberal orthodoxy and to what they actually say about themselves?


A Most Excellency Quote Of The Day

Yesterday, Governor Tim Kaine received a report from his Commission on Climate Change, because, as you know, the world is melting (based on fabricated statistics from a NASA scientist, see the blog OhMyGov, here, and Debra Saunders of the San Francisco Chronicle, of all papers, here). Apparently, last year wasn't exactly the warmest ever year on record.

But that's not necessarily the purpose of this post. The purpose is to congratulate His Excellency, the guvna: As we now know, despite all the alarmists' claims, we are not in the midst of an overheating globe; despite this, the commonwealth's global-warming-alarmist-in-chief qualifies for the most painfully contorted spin of the year. Quote the Richmond Times-Dispatch (see article here):

The state Commission on Climate Change unanimously adopted its final report yesterday, and Gov. Timothy M. Kaine indicated he would act on it.

"In my administration, we don't get reports and put them on shelves," Kaine told the panel during a meeting in the General Assembly Building.

But then . . .

Outside the meeting room, Kaine declined to specify which recommendations he will move on, saying he wants to read the report first.

Soooooooo, let's get this straight: He's going to take action on the report, because he won't put it on a shelf, but he can't say what action he will take, because he doesn't know what's in the report — but he guarantees it won't sit on the shelf. He will take action, though on what, no one, not even he, knows. That's fantastic!

Still later, in a daring feat, he claimed:

But, in one example, he said he supported efforts to increase energy efficiency.

Oh really? I suppose he'll come out for clean water and air, next, then possibly safe toys for children and expiration dates on milk cartons. Brilliant, sir! Are you sure you don't want to be Education Secretary? How did Virginia manage without you? Never mind that the Mainstream Media doesn't pick up on these inanities, even as you state them directly to them — because you, Excellency, have earned today's Quote of the Day. 

Is The Governor Fiddling, Part 2/Quote Of The Day

Two weeks ago we asked if Governor Tim Kaine was fiddling around with national politics while Richmond and the Virginia budget was burning (click here) because he was running around the country campaigning for Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama. We're not the only ones who think so. Today, The Washington Times (click here) ran a feature on what the governor's schedule has been like in recent weeks. Among the states he's visited: Georgia, Iowa, Indiana and Texas, Colorado and Arizona. Which prompted this comment in The Times from House Majority Leader Morgan Griffith (R-8, Salem):

He clearly has spent almost as much time out of the state as he has in the state. I think we're going to find a lot of little things that he probably should have been on top of.

One of those "little things" is "chaplain-gate" which Griffith notes had been brewing for several weeks. The out of balance Virginia budget may be another. Although many claim the governor's budget was out of whack from the beginning or, at the very least, he wasn't paying attention to it because of his campaigning, he claims in The Times article that the national economy is to blame. (Funny how the national economy gets no credit when times are good, eh, governor?)

The governor says he has good people in place and gives them latitude to run the government. How does this explain Jody Wagner, his former finance secretary, who produced the bogus numbers upon which he based his budget? Also, if true, why elect a governor? Let's just keep these good people in place for life.

Delegate Bill Janis (R-56, Glen Allen), who has claimed that Kaine called this past summer's special session of the General Assembly to raise his national political profile in order to wedge his way onto Senator Obama's ticket, however, earns our coveted Quote of the Day. As he told The Times:

I think he's abandoned any pretense of trying to be the governor. At least Nero stayed in Rome and fiddled while it burned. He's out in Colorado.

Just as we said two weeks ago. The other difference Kaine has with Nero is that he not only fiddled during the fire, he started the fire as well. Now the question is, does the governor have the will, the poise, the sound judgement, the willingness to be bi-partisan — the time off the campaign trail — to grab a hose and put out the fire — not to mention tend to the other matters at hand?

Constitution 101 Quote Of The Day

It truly is remarkable the lack of understanding some people have of the U.S. and Virginia Constitutions. Some of them actually run for, get elected and serve in high office. Case in point: In Friday night's debate between U.S. Senate candidates Democrat Mark Warner and Republican Jim Gilmore, both former governors, Warner was asked a question regarding his veto of a bill which would allow Virginia offshore drilling for oil and natural gas once federal approval is given. Even his Democrat successor, Governor Tim Kaine signed a similar bill. That the question came up surprised us. We posted it Friday afternoon as one of five questions we wanted to hear, although we doubted they would get asked. Gilmore used the veto to blunt Warner's claim that he now supports domestic drilling. 

Defending himself, Warner gave us our Quote Of The Day:

That bill I vetoed because it was the legislature telling the governor what to do in terms of a specific piece of legislation.

But a quick glance at the Constitution verifies that is, in fact, how it works: The legislative branch passes a law and the executive branch executes it (thus the word "executive"). Sort of like a tax increase, where the legislature sets "specific" rates and the executive collects it, something Mr. Warner should know all about. It's as if he was saying he didn't recognize the other two branches of government. Even stranger, this is the same Mark Warner who loves to talk about how bipartisan he and the General Assembly were during his four years in Richmond. All of sudden, it was a partisan machine, trying to roll him over.

(Almost as peculiar, he advocated that "all levels of government . . . local, state and federal" start placing orders for new cars "for 2010 and 2011" from Detroit — cars that get 100 miles per gallon. There are several problems here, perhaps the major one being that they don't exist!)

Also during the debate, adding to his misunderstanding of constitutional matters, Warner repeated the often misstated meaning of overturning Roe vs. Wade. If the case ever gets overturned, it would not end abortion nationwide immediately — a common liberal scare tactic. It simply would return the decision making from the federal courts to each state. 

There are no individual sound bytes of the Quote of the Day that we could find. Instead, you can view the entire debate by clicking here. You can drag the progression bar forward to 40:45 to hear Warner's futuristic 100 mph car claim and to 43:38 to hear the QOD. If you did not see or hear the debate, we encourage you to view it in its entirety in order to make an informed decision this November in this important U.S. Senate contest. It takes less than an hour and is an invigorating give and take.