- The Washington Times - Sunday, February 5, 2012

After Virginia’s Senate Education and Health Committee passed a bill requiring women to undergo ultrasound imaging before having an abortion, Sen. Janet D. Howell went back to her hotel room, admittedly angry.

She was watching TV. And she got an idea.

“There was an ad, I’m sure you’ve seen it, of a couple — lovely beach, each in their own bathtub — and they were waiting for the right moment,” the Fairfax Democrat said last week on the Senate floor. “But then, half the commercial was what was wrong with this medication — all the serious things that could happen to a man who was going to take this medication.

“So I said, it’s only fair that if we’re going to subject women to unnecessary procedures and we’re going to subject doctors to having to do things that they don’t think is medically advisory, well … I think we should just have a little gender equity here.”


So in that vein, Ms. Howell offered an amendment to the bill that would require men to undergo a digital rectal exam and cardiac stress test before obtaining a prescription for erectile dysfunction drugs.

“This is a matter of basic fairness,” she said.

The amendment was defeated and the bill ended up passing. But the YouTube-worthy moment — and Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling’s wry smile as the measure was being introduced — will undoubtedly live long beyond Sine Die in the annals of history on Mr. Jefferson’s Capitol.

Bad reviews

Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s State of the State address last week drew a not-so-surprising reaction from Republicans — it turned out they didn’t like it.

Mere moments after Mr. O’Malley, a Democrat, ended his 33-minute speech that called for numerous tax and spending increases in the state, Republicans pounced at the chance to criticize the governor, holding impromptu news conferences in the House chamber and hallways of the Statehouse.

Senate Minority Leader E.J. Pipkin, Cecil Republican, got in on the act a little early, sending out an email 30 minutes before the governor’s speech that blasted Mr. O’Malley for proposing that the state effectively raise income taxes on people making as little as $100,000 a year.

House Minority Leader Anthony J. O’Donnell was visibly angry after the speech, which he trashed as “patently offensive,” full of “platitudes” but lacking in substance and the worst of any State of the Speech he’d heard in 18 years as a delegate.

Mr. O’Donnell, Calvert Republican, even took the governor to task for inviting ambassadors from Ireland, Japan, Mexico and South Korea to attend the speech, arguing it was a move to boost the governor’s national and international profile.

“It’s obvious this guy cares more about his national stature by inviting ambassadors,” he said. “As minority leader of the House, I’ve had it up to here with the guy.”

Ouch.

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