Just beginning to explain the twists and turns of what is happening in the Virginia Senate over property rights would rival War and Peace. Forget about the whole story. So much to say, so much to keep confidential. Maybe a book, one day, is in the offing, or a screenplay. Okay, maybe an op-ed in the Richmond Times-Dispatch. You have to have goals.
Suffice it to say, the situation is fluid. I would hazard a guess that no one will know the outcome until Lt. Governor Bill Bolling announces the words, “The clerk will open the rolls. The senators will vote. …” I think some will hesitate and see what it going to happen, who is voting which way and what the count is. On the other hand, maybe a deal will be struck ahead of time. I’ve learned, when dealing with issues like this, as much of a cliche as it is, anything can — and usually — does happen. Nothing will surprise me. It is, after all, an election year.
Right now it’s close. By the vote, maybe not — in either direction. (In 2007, the House and Senate versions of eminent domain statutory reform barely escaped each chamber, but the conference report, which had the House’s tougher language, blasted through both chambers!) One thing that’s not good: A tie vote kills the resolution. A constitutional amendment must receive at least 21 votes of senators. The LG cannot break the tie. Another note: There’s a good chance the vote will be put off until Friday. But leave nothing to chance: Contact your senator now!
Here’s the breakdown: There’s slightly less than the 21 needed for the tougher language. There is probably enough for less strong, but very good language. Here’s the problem: There may be a few, who don’t get the version they want, who may scuttle the other, leaving us with neither version! Then, there are the out-and-out liberals who don’t believe in property right and are going to aid and abet which ever side it needs to accommodate that scuttle.
Does the extra day help or hurt one side or the other? It may slow down the momentum from yesterday’s dramatic doubleheader sub- and committee sweep (see Disrupt The Narrative). Yet, it may give the grassroots more time to pound senators’ offices. The utilities don’t need that kind of time. They just need the army of lobbyists they can deploy to cajole and, shall we say, persuade. It doesn’t take a lot of time to do that with the personnel and money they have at their disposal.
We, the people, the grassroots, the ones whose rights are affected by these special-interest laden decisions, have a say. It’s not too late by any stretch. Things change on a dime here at Mr. Jefferson’s capitol. Do your part!
Contact your senator and urge him or her to vote for HJ 693, (Delegate Johnny Joannou, D-Portsmouth) to support your property protections from big government and big corporations: by e-mail; by General Assemby office phone. Limiting government’s power of eminent domain limits government growth and intrusiveness, and secures our liberties. Don’t know your senator? Look him or her up here.