Governor McAuliffe vetoes part of budget bill

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The Richmond Times-Dispatch reports today that Governor McAuliffObama-and-McAuliffe2e will veto a portion of the 2015-2016 budget bill. The veto is aimed at a prohibition against expanding the states Medicaid program inserted in the budget bill prior to passage. When Governor Allen attempted a veto of language in a previous budget bill, Democrats won a court order stating the Governor had no authority to make such a veto, and the veto was ultravires. Members of the Republican majority in the House and Senate stated they will fight the veto in court if necessary.

In an email from Del. Bob Marshall (R-13) he noted:

Governor McAuliffe has no legal authority to “line-item veto” the condition added  by the General Assembly to the Budget preventing the Governor from expanding Medicaid without General Assembly approval, but that’s exactly what he’s trying to do!   

The Virginia Supreme Court defined “item” the 1940 case of Commonwealth vs. Dodson and agreed with the US Supreme Court that:  “An item of an appropriation bill obviously means an item which in itself is a specific appropriation of money, not some general provision of law which happens to be put into an appropriation bill. … 
Virginians should contact Governor McAuliffe about his attempt to act outside his constitutional authority.

The Crimea

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The Virginia Peninsula and the Crimean peninsula have no direct connection. The potential threat to the liberty of the Ukranian people posed by the Russian Federation as evidenced by the invasion of the Crimean peninsua is however a threat to the liberty of Virginians. As such we stand with Ukraine. The inspiring entrance of a single Ukrainian athlete at the opening ceremonies of the para-Olympic games is a symbol Virginians can embrace.

Ми Стенд з України

Opening ceremonies para-Olympic games

Opening ceremonies para-Olympic games

2014 Pre-files

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Delegate Pogge (R-96). Delegate Pogge has prefiled three bills, including one to allow magistrates throughoulawt the state to issue search warrants. In practice this could reduce the argument or excuse for warrantless searches. A second bill repeals the tax on hybrid vehicles imposed in the last session and a third seeks to protect agritourism activities from local bans.

Senator Norment (R-3) has entered bills to establish the General Assembly schedule .

More to come as the 2014 session gets underway.

James City County AG Recount

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Mark HerringAlthough the recount is complete and Mark Obenshain has conceded, a brief on the recount process is in order. First, kudos are owed to the electoral board and registrar and the officers of election who carried out the recount. They conducted this tedious and difficult task professionally and punctually. Second Mark Herring is due congratulations on his election as Virginia’s next Attorney-General.

The process of feeding paper ballots back through the reader is time consuming and uncomfortable. The development of some sort of ballot feeder would have mad this task much easier.

The process uncovered the ballots which were under votes. On examination most of these under votes were just that, blank ballots for this race. Only about 1 in five of the under voted ballots were actually marked. The mark sense machine only reads ballots where the ‘bubble’ to the left of the candidate’s name has been marked. These ballots were not read because they were marked in some other way. Either the party label (D) or (R) was filled in instead, or the candidates name was circled or underlined. I cannot explain the voter inattention which led to these marking errors, but they cost the state a considerable amount of money and time.

Attorney-General Recount

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recountview The recount for Attorney-General is now set for December 16 and 17. The recount will be conducted in each locality under the supervision of the local Board of Elections. The boards consist of three members, two Republicans and one Democrat. Observers from each party are also authorized for each recount team. In James City County four observers are authorized for each party. In localities where mark scan ballots can be recounted by machine, the method is to feed the ballots back through the counters, then hand review ballots kicked out for under or over votes. In other localities all of the ballots will require manual review and count. This could get interesting.

At a hearing regarding the recount the Richmond Times-Dispatch reports that the possibility of a contest following the recount was raised. A contest request would be a request to the General Assembly to decide the election. Even more interesting.

Supervisor Recount in James City County

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Incumbent supervisor James Icenhour requested a recount for his reelection race in James City County. The recount was completed yesterday and challenger Kevin Onizuk was confirmed the winner of this contest by 30 votes out of 5,338 cast. Three votes were added to each side during the recount. Statewide total votes for Governor exceed those for Attorney-General by 28,033 and 180 in James City County which uses mark scan paper ballots. While there is traditionally some drop off in voting down ballot, the difference still is fruitful grounds for finding undervotes during a recount. These mark scan ballots when rescanned will be kicked out for hand examination to determine if a vote was actually cast. Given that the undervote difference in James City County alone exceeds the total AG race statewide difference of 165 votes the chance for this particular recount to be controversial may be high.