Monday, January 21, 2008

Roscoe Reynolds' Dilemma

Today (Monday,1/21/07) the Senate's Courts of Justice Committee will get to decide whether or not SB 109 goes to the floor for a final vote. What is SB 109? It is Governor Kaine's preferred version of the controversial "Gunshow Loophole Ban".

Our very own Senator, Roscoe Reynolds, will play a pivotal role in Monday's vote. The Courts of Justice Committee is made up of 14 members; Marsh(Chairman), Saslaw, Quayle, Norment, Howell, Lucas, Edwards, Reynolds, Puller, Cuccinelli, Obenshain, McDougle, Deeds, and Hurt. By party that works out to 8 Democrats, 6 Republicans.

Of the 8 Democrats, 6 may safely vote the Governor's preference, 2 are faced with a dilemma; Reynolds, who represents Hillsville, home of one of the largest gun shows on the east coast, and Deeds, an announced candidate for Governor.

Of the 6 Republicans, all 6 will safely vote to kill the bill on Monday Wednesday.

Now, back to Reynolds. He'll either satisfy Governor Kaine and the rest of his party, or he'll represent his constituents. Right now he's not too concerned with the NRA, he knows he'll have 4 years to raise his score back up.

UPDATE: The Committee vote on this bill is now scheduled for Wednesday, 1/23/07

My best guess is that he'll try to do both. He'll vote yes on Monday Wednesday to move it out of the committee, then vote against it when it becomes safe to do so out on the floor. A vote by Reynolds to kill the bill would be party suicide, since Deeds can't save him. A tie vote also kills the bill. No, he is pretty much forced to vote in favor of this bill on Monday Wednesday.

Later on, when the bill hits the floor for a full vote, his fortunes improve tremendously. At that time it will be safe for him to vote against it if it looks likely to either pass or fail by any reasonable margin, he'll only be in a tight spot if it ends up being very close. I also would guess that his fellow Democrats will give him cover to vote against it, knowing the impact a YES vote would have on him in Hillsville and Carroll County.

Watch this vote on Monday Wednesday, then watch it again when it hits the floor of the Senate. This is certain to be one of those famous "Havin' it Both Ways" Roscoe Reynolds votes.

Let the show begin.

While pondering the options available to Senator Reynolds I failed to consider one other option, admittedly a long-shot. That option being simply to not vote in committee. If he fails to vote, the bill is certain to pass and he takes the pressure off Senator Deeds. Not a bad option if you happen to be the Governor's go-to guy for tough bills like this one and the Driver Remedial fees like he was last year.

It may be terribly cynical of me, but there is a very good chance Roscoe will not be in Richmond on Wednesday. Dr. Frederick U. “Teg” Baublitz, a distinguished practitioner of Optometry for 54 years in Martinsville, has died. His graveside service will be held on Wednesday, January 23, 2007 at Oakwood Cemetery in Martinsville.

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