McEachin drops lawsuit over Bolling’s tie-breaking authority

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RICHMOND — Senate Democratic caucus Chairman A. Donald McEachin has dropped his lawsuit challenging the authority of Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling to break ties on organizing the Senate.

Lawyers for Mr. McEachin, Henrico Democrat, notified the Richmond City Circuit Court Friday that he was voluntarily dismissing the suit. The announcement came one day after Democrats successfully blocked passage of a Senate budget because of a spat over committee assignments that Mr. Bolling helped organize with that tie-breaking authority.

“From the beginning of this case, it has been clear that the lieutenant governor has the right to vote on senate organization and break other ties, unless the Constitution of Virginia limits the vote to members elected to the senate,” said Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, whose office represented Mr. Bolling in the case. “That will still be true if another suit is filed, and therefore, we will seek dismissal of any new suits.”

Prior to the session, Mr. Bolling ruled that he could break ties on matters of organization, but not on issues like the state budget, appropriations, or appointing judges. Democrats temporarily delayed Senate proceedings earlier in the session when they objected to the appointment of two judges, and successfully blocked the passage of the Senate budget Thursday. The budget, which requires 21 votes, failed 20-17.

“Hopefully, Senator McEachin’s decision is an indication that we can move beyond issues such as this and focus on getting the people’s business done in the final days of the legislative session,” Mr. Bolling said. “Priority number one should be the adoption of a state budget to make certain that we can continue to fund the core responsibilities of state government and protect the interests of the people we serve.  I look forward to working with Republicans and Democrats to do everything we can to accomplish this goal on a timely basis.”

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