Why and how the House subcommittee on constitutional amendments decided to scrap Gov. McDonnell’s proposal to restore voting rights to non-violent felons gets closer to an answer, thanks to our friend, and veteran General Assembly watcher, Steve Rossie:
The first hint that the resolution was going down, before a packed General Assembly Building Fourth Floor West Conference Room, with interested persons spilling well out into the hallway, was when the sub-committee rolled all proposed resolutions on the subject, including Delegate Habeeb’s, into HJ 535, patroned by Democrat Delegate Charniele Herring of Alexandria — saving the large Republican majority from killing a Republican governor’s legislation. (“Rolling” is a consolidation of similar bills into another existing bill to streamline a committee’s meeting agenda.)
In this case, Delegate Herring’s version became the resolution of record and, therefore, as the third ranking House Democrat, much more favorable to the sword. It died on a 6-1 vote to “pass by indefinitely” with one of the two sub-committee Democrats (Delegate Johnny Joannou of Portsmouth) voting with the GOP members. Sources indicate that many Republicans not only had serious policy questions about the content of the proposal, but took exception to a lack of notification by the governor — they heard about it for the first time Wednesday night during his State of the Commonwealth Address.
I put the emphasis on Steve’s last line because it illustrates a key ingredient in legislative sausage making: pique.
And if it was the deciding factor in the subcommittee vote, shame on them.