The Washington Times - November 21, 2011, 10:39AM

Virginia Senate Democrats are taking to court their fight over Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling’s Assembly voting privileges, saying Monday they will file a petition to determine whether he can vote on organizational matters, such as the important task of setting up committees.

“The Constitution is very unclear on that,” said Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw, Fairfax Democrat. “It’s not just a matter of this year. It ought to get settled for all time, and that’s the purpose behind this.”

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Caucus Chairman A. Donald McEachin, Henrico Democrat, said that with a 20-20 split, they’re asking for “simple fairness” and an equal number of Democrats and Republicans on each committee.

“Republicans are stuck on 20 equals 21, so we really don’t have any other choice but to go to the courts,” he said.

The GOP has declared its intention to use Mr. Bolling’s tie-breaking vote to organize the body and govern as a majority party.

There was a similar 20-20 split during the 1990s, when then-Lt. Gov. Don Beyer Jr. intended to use his tiebreaking vote in much the same way. However, state Sen. Virgil H. Goode Jr., Rocky Mount Democrat, threatened to leave, forcing a power-sharing agreement between the two political parties.