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Va. Democrats file lawsuit over Bolling’s authority

- The Washington Times - Monday, December 5, 2011

Virginia Democratic Caucus Chairman A. Donald McEachin, Richmond Democrat, filed suit on Monday in an attempt to stop Republicans from using Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling's tie-breaking vote to organize the General Assembly's upper chamber.

"In Virginia, only an elected member of the Senate can vote on the rules of the Senate," Mr. McEachin, Richmond Democrat, said. "The Lieutenant Governor was not elected to the Senate. Unfortunately, the Republicans have not shown any inclination to work with us to resolve this impasse. In a 20-20 Senate, power should be shared, but, instead, the Republicans insist on an arrogant power grab."

The lawsuit, filed in Richmond Circuit Court, is seeking declaratory judgment saying that the lieutenant governor does not have the right to cast a tie-breaking vote in Senate organizing matters, as well as a temporary injunction to stop him from voting on organization until it's resolved.

Mr. Bolling, though, told The Washington Times that he was fully empowered to cast such tie-breaking votes and did not consider the situation a "power grab."

"I don't think there's any credible argument that I can't vote on organizational or procedural issues," he said. "Those matters come before the Senate as simple reports. There's nothing in the Constitution that would limit my ability to vote on those matters."

"I don't think there's any wholesale effort to restrict Democrats of committee assignments or have any overwhelmingly slanted Republican committees," he added. "I've been very clear in saying if that matter comes before me on tie votes, I will break that tie."

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