For Immediate Release
January 12, 2007
Contact: Mark Bergman, 804-644-1966 ext. 222 (office); 804-269-1323 (cell)
Delegate Plum seeks rule change to record subcommittee votes
(Richmond, VA) Today, Delegate Ken Plum introduced a proposal to amend Rule 18 of the House of Delegates to require recorded votes in subcommittee.
Under the current rules, a bill can be denied further debate by an unrecorded vote in a subcommittee. Subcommittees consist of five members with a quorum of three. So a bill can be killed and denied further debate by as few as two of the 100 members of the House since action in a subcommittee is considered final for a bill that is not supported.
In addition, most subcommittees often meet outside of regular business hours leaving members of the public unable to participate in the process.
The Republican House leaders created the new rule in 2006 that would allow subcommittees to kill bills without a recorded vote. Since then, six hundred and fifteen bill, more than 30%, were killed without a recorded vote. By contrast in 2004, before the adoption of the new, only nine bills failed without a recorded vote.
“We have reduced our accountability to our votes with this rule,” Delegate Plum said. “It’s time for a change in the rules that restores our accountability to voters of Virginia who have sent us here to conduct their business.
“The public lost in this arrogant abuse of power, democracy was reduced in the Commonwealth and the sunshine that is supposed to shine on the governmental process went dark.
Let us not dishonor our commitment to representative democracy and open government, as we honor our founding as America’s oldest settlement. We owe the people of the Commonwealth a change.”