Friday, January 31, 2014

General Assembly Update

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Norment News 

General Assembly Update: Week Four
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Senator Tommy Norment
P.O. Box 6205
Williamsburg, VA 23188
(757) 259-7810

Kalia Sokos
Legislative Aide  
norment new pic

Senator Norment visiting with the children from St. Benedict School during their visit to the General Assembly this week  
In his first interview this week Senator Norment sat down for VCTA Cable Reports for New Kent and King and Queen County to discuss the 2014 General Assembly session.
VCTA Cable Reports 2014- New Kent/King & Queen- Sen. Tommy Norment
VCTA Cable Reports 2014- New Kent/King & Queen- Sen. Tommy Norment
 January 31, 2014

This Week In Richmond 


In temperature and temperament, Capitol Square felt as though it moved north this week.  The chill outside and the politics inside Virginia's Capitol made Richmond feel a lot more like Washington.


The Democrats, with the tie-breaking vote of Lt. Governor Northam, became the majority party in the Senate of Virginia on Tuesday.  Although the Senate was organized for the full four-year term in 2012 and changing the rules governing the Senate requires a two-thirds vote, Democrats ignored the rules and abandoned precedent to wrest control of the Senate. As could be expected, their tactics were in no way genteel.  


Not only was this bare-knuckled partisanship not "The Virginia Way" so frequently mentioned lately, but the Democrats also managed to impose a new rule on the Senate that is profoundly undemocratic.  This rule grants a single Senator, the Chairman of the Rules Committee, the power to prevent a Senate Bill from being approved by the Senate if it has been "substantially" amended by the House. In effect, this rule gives one legislator the ability to single-handedly kill legislation with no accountability or recourse. 


The Senate of Virginia has 40 members; giving just one senator the power to derail legislation without a vote violates the foundations of representative government.  This remarkably irresponsible granting of veto power to a single legislator would not even be contemplated in Washington, where partisan bickering and gridlock have become commonplace. It brings shame on the Senate of Virginia that such an undemocratic rule has been forced upon this historic and proud body.


Of course, ignoring rules seems to have become accepted behavior among some in public office.


Continuing the erosion of legal and constitutional protections in Virginia, Attorney General Mark Herring announced that he will refuse to defend the Virginia Constitution's definition of marriage. This decision comes less than two weeks after swearing an oath to defend the Constitution.  


At the federal level, President Obama declared in his State of the Union Address that he will enact policies unilaterally, as he has failed to effectively work with Congress to pass his agenda thus far. If he follows through on this pledge, he will effectively usurp the power reserved for Congress by the Constitution.

The rule of law and constitutional government protect our liberties and preserve our freedoms.  Abandoning those foundations in the name of political expediency, convenience, or power poses a direct threat to representative government. Reversing the trend away from the principles underpinning our democracy will be very challenging.

Despite the chaotic situation in the Senate and the snow falling outside, I was able to successfully advance a large portion of my legislative agenda this week. 
SB 444, which would allow localities to prohibit ownership of hybrid canines- a hybrid of a dog and a wolf, passed the Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee by a unanimous vote. I had several bills passed by the Courts of Justice Committee this week as well. SB 478 and SB 489 would increase penalties for those convicted of trafficking in contraband cigarettes. SB 482 would raise penalties for those drivers who have been convicted of a DUI four or more times within 10 years. SB 487 would increase the penalty for those operating a boat while intoxicated where that boat operator severely injures the victim. SB 496 will clarify the provisions for appointing special police in localities.


All legislation being considered during this year's session can be tracked on the General Assembly's website,


Another snowstorm discouraged some visitors from traveling to Richmond this week.  But, some made it through in spite of the snow and the below-freezing daily high temperatures.
  • Ann Davis, James City County Treasurer
  • Tara Thomas, Gloucester County Treasurer
  • Harry Whitt, King William County Treasurer
  • Ruth Larson, Williamsburg-James City County School Board
  • Heather Cordasco, Williamsburg-James City County School Board
  • Dr. Hugh M. Bryan III, Gloucester

Hopefully we will get better weather over the coming weeks so that more visitors can come visit our office in Richmond. I will continue to work away diligently in in Richmond until the General Assembly adjourns on March 8. My legislative assistant, Kalia Sokos, is also in Richmond, and our office is in Room 621 of the General Assembly Building.  You can contact us by sending an e-mail to, or by sending a letter to me at Senate of Virginia, Post Office Box 396, Richmond VA 23218-0396.  You can also call us at 804.698.7503.

Very truly yours,
Senator Tommy Norment
Paid for and Authorized by Friends of Tommy Norment
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Senator Tommy Norment | PO Box 6205 | Williamsburg | VA | 23188

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