Thursday, February 21, 2019

Long Day on the Floor, ERA, Where Are the Budget Amendments?

Today the Speaker warned House members that they would have along day. He warned that they would be in and out all day as he considered many of the bills where there are differences between the versions passed by the House and the Senate. He wasn't kidding.

Also facing the House this morning was the Resolution submitted by Delegate Hala Ayala to force the House to vote on the Equal Rights Amendment. As you may know, the Senate passed the ERA back on January 15. For most of the session the House Committee that needed to hear the legislation before it could go to the floor, refused to put the bill on the docket. Finally the committee caved to the tremendous public pressure and heard the bill only to kill it on a 4-2 party line vote.

The Democratic House Caucus decided to force the vote by introducing a Resolution to change the rules of House and bring the ERA to the floor for a vote. If you have been following along, the rules change resolution needed to be read five times over five days. That happened and today the vote to change the rules and hear the ERA came to the floor for a vote. The Resolution to hear the ERA failed 50-50, in the House there is no tie break, motions fail. All of the Democrats and Delegate Yancey (who only won his last election when his name was pulled from a bowl) voted to take the ERA to the floor. All of the other Republicans voted to kill the resolution and end the ERA fight this session. The VEA supports the ERA as do 81% of Virginians. The advocates this session did an outstanding job, but the House is still the roadblock. Elections are in November.

We are still waiting to see the final budget amendments. We expect to see them 48 hours before legislators vote, so we expect them at some point tonight as the General Assembly is expected to adjourn on Saturday. As soon as we see them, we will get information out.