RICHMOND, VA, August 18, 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 ongoing General Assembly session concerning revisions to the Third Congressional District:
“The language of Article IV, Section 6 of the Constitution of Virginia is clear, unambiguous, and emphatic: ‘Neither house shall, without the consent of the other, adjourn to another place, nor for more than three days.’ By adjourning sine die without seeking the consent of the Virginia House of Delegates, the Lieutenant Governor and the Democratic leadership in the Senate of Virginia violated the Constitution.
“In an act of bad faith and under false pretenses, Governor McAuliffe called a special session of the General Assembly, ostensibly to give the General Assembly time to comply with the order of the three-judge panel. The General Assembly complied when it gaveled into session in Richmond yesterday. Despite standing committees scheduled to begin deliberation on maps, testimony prepared, and taxpayer funds expended, the leaders of Governor McAuliffe’s political party adjourned sine die and the Governor declared an impasse.
“From these actions, it is clear that Governor McAuliffe’s plan was to call a special session solely for the purpose of declaring an impasse.
“As the case that brought about the current special session remains on appeal before the U.S. Supreme Court, actions concerning the ultimate composition of the Third Congressional District remain a matter of litigation.
“Yesterday’s events notwithstanding, the General Assembly comprehends the gravity of its responsibility to revise the congressional district map and will accordingly exercise its primary jurisdiction promptly and with sufficient time before the 2016 election.
“Moving forward and consistent with the Constitution of Virginia, the General Assembly remains in session. As such, any actions taken outside of those permitted by the Constitution of Virginia should be considered at best dubious and at worst unlawful.”