RICHMOND, VA, August 21, 2015 –– Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today issued the following statement regarding the status of the current General Assembly session:
“Today marks the fourth day of the Senate being in violation of the Constitution of Virginia. Yesterday afternoon, the three-day limit expressed in Article IV, Section 6 passed without the Senate returning to session as required by the Constitution.
“The brazenness and flagrancy of this violation is undisputable. That Lieutenant Governor Northam and the Democratic leadership of the Senate would act in such a manner is outrageous. That Governor McAuliffe would applaud and celebrate unconstitutional behavior is, sadly, no longer shocking.
“Some legislators and news accounts have mistakenly indicated that a circumstance like this occurred in 2002. Such assertions are factually flawed and historically inaccurate. The House and Senate adjourned Sine Die within minutes of one another on March 9, 2002. Currently, and consistent with the Procedural Resolution under which the current session is operating, the House is in recess and has not adjourned.
“Although he could not provide an explanation nor cite a precedent to justify his ruling on Monday, Lieutenant Governor Northam has sworn an oath to uphold the Constitution of Virginia. With the chamber over which he presides now in clear violation of the Constitution, it is time for him to call on all Senators to return to Richmond to comply with the order of the three-judge panel and resume the work of the current session.”