Wednesday, July 23, 2008

When Is A Newspaper Not A NEWSpaper? When It's The Martinsville Bulletin.

My, don't we sometimes get in an uproar when it seems our favorite ox has been gored. Or when we are shown to have our pants down around our ankles in the public square. Ward Armstrong and now Roy Carter (LTE, today) seem to find themselves in that predicament.

I intended to ignore the terribly confusing "editor's note" that was placed at the end of Del. Marshall's Op-Ed. I even held my tongue when the same confusing note was placed after Del. Merrick's piece.

But now that the confusing editor's note has been further blurred by Del. Armstrong's letter and the Bulletin has allowed Roy Carter to call both Delegates Marshall and Merricks liars in a public arena, I must respond.

Let me set the record straight, in language we can all understand. No political doublespeak, no blindly following the lead of a favored politician. No party slant.

The Bill introduced by Del. Armstrong as a favor to the Governor can be found online here;
. Armstrong is correct when he says his bill died in the Rules Committee. What he does not say is why.

His bill was introduced onto the floor of the House on July 9. Under the Rules of the House, a Bill must be on the floor for 3 days before a vote can be taken. A motion was offered to suspend that rule and proceed to a vote. That motion died on a Party line vote. All Republicans voted to proceed with a vote on the Governor's Plan. All Democrats (Including Del. Armstrong) voted against proceeding to a vote. The Bill then went back to the Rules Committee.

Later, after loud public complaints from Del. Armstrong that the Governor's plan would not be voted on, Del. Clifford "Clay" Athey re-introduced the Governor's plan as a substitute for Sen. Saslaw's SB 6009. Del. Athey's substitute was identical, word for word, to Del. Armstrong's HB6026. You can view his substitute here;

Del. Armstrong wants you to read his letter, (and that little "editor's note" at the end of the letters from Marshall and Merricks) and assume that Del. Athey introduced something else entirely. He did not. He simply placed Ward Armstrong's original words back before the House for a vote. That vote failed, 98-0. In summary, the Governor's plan was offered to the floor twice, each time every Democrat in the House voted against it.

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