Apparently the Democrats in the Virginia State Senate are of the mind that 2009 was all just a bad dream or something. In a year in which none of them were on the ballot, and which saw Republicans sweep all three statewide offices and increase their advantage in the House of Delegates by 6 seats, it has taken less than a week for the Senate Democrats to kick tradition out the door and play shenanagins with the Upper Chamber’s committee assignments.
As reported by the Roanoke Times and elsewhere, the Senate Democrats, apparently by their massive two-vote advantage in the Chamber, have decided to do away with the long-standing tradition of proportional representation for Senate committees.
Instead, the Democrats have decided that this two-vote advantage gives them the right to have two-thirds of the seats on two of the most influential committees in the Senate, Courts of Justice and Education and Health. But they didn’t stop there:
Democrats eliminated a seat on the budget-writing Senate Finance Committee, leaving them with a 9-6 majority on the panel. Democrats chose to shrink the committee rather than appoint a replacement for former Sen. Ken Stolle, R-Virginia Beach, who has left the Senate and was succeeded by a Republican.
To shrink the size and deny some Virginians representation on the Senate Finance Committee in one of the most challenging budget years Virginia has seen in a long time is a foolish and crassly political move. Furthermore it blindly ignores the political reality expressed by voters this past November.
Virginians want to see their legislators working together to find solutions to Virginia’s budget challenges, not engaging in political gamesmanship designed to kill important legislation before it even reaches the floor. If the Democrats in the Senate continue to act like they own the show rather than attempting to find common ground, they may find themselves in for a rude awakening in 2011.