UPDATE: As expected, all of the voting rights bills have been defeated.
UPDATE 2: Also as expected, the repeal of the “marriage” amendment has been defeated. The vote was 6-1 against, with Norfolk Del. Algie Howell the only one in favor of letting the bill go to the full committee.
In less than an hour, the Subcommittee on Constitutional Amendments of the House Privileges and Elections Committee will take up nearly all of the voting rights bills introduced this session. The docket for the 8am meeting came out late Friday afternoon.
But note what it says at the top: “HJ 539 & HJ 665 were added to the docket originally posted.” So even later, we got notice that Del. Greg Habeeb’s voting rights bill was going to be heard. Even though the governor has expressed support for the measure, the Speaker does not. I fully expect all of them to be killed today.
The other bill added was Del. Scott Surovell’s bill to repeal the “marriage” amendment. It, too, is going to get killed, but I was pleasantly surprised to see the co-patrons of the bill. Just shows you how much things have changed since this was first put to the legislature in 2005.
Opening the paper this morning, I discovered that today starts the confirmation of Judge Tracy Thorne-Begland. McDonnell supports the appointment; of course, that doesn’t mean a whole lot these days – see voting rights above. But with some of the Republicans changing their minds, I’m hopeful.
Putting stuff on the calendar early in the session – and early in the morning – is a trick that has been used to keep the public from participating in our process. Along with unrecorded subcommittee meetings, they are able to keep us out. Until and unless the people demand change, it will remain this way.