Gov. Ralph Northam’s “special session” of the General Assembly that begins today in Richmond is quickly turning into political farce.
What began as an emergency convocation of lawmakers to address the budget catastrophe brought on by Northam’s shutdown of the commonwealth and was expanded to include law enforcement reforms, now threatens to become a legislative free-for-all.
Members are merrily introducing bills that do everything from honor notable Virginians – those couldn’t wait until January? – to bills that prevent police officers from stopping cars when they detect the smell of marijuana.
(Odd, I couldn’t find a companion bill that prevents cops from detaining drivers who reek of alcohol.)
On the eve of the session, the President Pro Tempore of the Senate, Louise Lucas of Portsmouth, was charged with not one, but two felonies in connection with the June protests that culminated in the toppling of a Confederate monument that nearly killed a man.
“Lucas and six others, including local NAACP leaders and a local school board member, were charged with conspiring to commit a felony, and felony injury to a public monument in excess of $1,000,” Portsmouth Police Chief Angela Greene said Monday in the Richmond Times-Dispatch…
“Lucas, reached on her cellphone, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.”
The Richmond newspaper pointed out that Democrats hold a slim 21-19 majority in the senate. If Lucas doesn’t show in Richmond many of the far-left items on the Democrat’s wish list could die with just a single defection.
Naturally, Northam couldn’t resist race baiting when the charges against Lucas were announced.
“It’s deeply troubling that on the verge of Virginia passing long-overdue police reform, the first Black woman to serve as our [president] pro tempore is suddenly facing highly unusual charges,” Northam tweeted. “[Sen. Lucas], I look forward to seeing you in Richmond tomorrow – so we can get to work.”
Um, someone tug on the governor’s sleeve and tell him that Portsmouth’s police chief, who announced the charges, is also a black woman.
Given the opportunity to meet in the summer, the lawmakers so far have introduced 108 bills and resolutions. They include measures that make it more difficult to obtain a concealed carry permit and easier to be paroled from prison.
There are bills to ban chokeholds by police and an odious measure that would make an assault on a police officer a misdemeanor rather than a felony.
The most distasteful of the lot?
SR502, a resolution “Commending the Honorable Nolan Dawkins” who recently retired from the Alexandria Circuit Court.
If Dawkins’ name seems familiar, it’s because he was the judge who ignored objections from prosecutors in April and released accused rapist Ibrahim Bouaichi from jail on a $25,000 bond and didn’t require home monitoring.
On July 29th Bouaichi gunned down his rape victim, Karla Dominguez.
I don’t care what sort of illustrious career this judge enjoyed during his 26 years on the bench, honoring him less than three weeks after this gruesome murder is offensive.