By John Solomon
How the government's punishing of the exposure of official wrongdoing can linger for years
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Senate Democrats effectively delayed a Republican voter-identification bill for another year after Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling sided with them on Monday to break a party-line 20-20 tie.
As the rest of Richmond is mired in fights over election rules and district boundaries that are fast drawing national attention, state Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II is quietly pushing his own bipartisan package of bills to address difficulties experienced by both candidates and voters in recent years.
Senate Democrats in Richmond have refused to pass a budget. Worse, they freely admit that their refusal has nothing to do with the proposed budget. Instead, they effectively are keeping the entire state in limbo because they are angry about their committee assignments in the Virginia Senate.
Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly are trading accusations that each is focusing too much on divisive and controversial issues, with both sides saying the other is overplaying GOP-led legislation on abortion, gun control and voting rights thus far during the 2012 session.
A key Senate committee on Wednesday voted to repeal Virginia's law banning the purchase of more than one handgun a month, a longtime priority of gun-rights activists and a measure that now has the backing of Gov. Bob McDonnell.
The Republican-led Senate on Friday muscled through a House-drawn map drawing new lines for the state's 11 congressional districts in one of the GOP's first noteworthy displays of their newfound power.
Republicans, as they promised they would, took control of the Virginia Senate on Wednesday with the help of Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling's tie-breaking vote and over the objections of Democrats that the move was both unjust and unconstitutional.
Virginia legislators will gather in Richmond on Thursday to advance competing congressional redistricting maps that reflect partisan divides over how much influence to give black voters.
John S. Edwards of Roanoke noted Monday that no money is in the budget to inform voters about the change in voter-ID standards before November's elections for governor, two other statewide offices and all 100 House of Delegates seats.
"This is the second year in a row … that we made it more difficult to vote and for no reason," Mr. Edwards said. "Fraud at the voting booth is extremely rare."