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A Tense First Day In Session For Virginia Senate

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The General Assembly's legislative session is underway in Virginia -- and all eyes are on the State Senate, which is split 20-20 between Democrats and Republicans. 

Tension has already begun to heat up, as Democrats say the even split means committee seats should be apportioned evenly, while Republicans argue the that the Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling's vote as the tie-breaker gives control of the body to the GOP.  

Senate Republicans ruled out power sharing in several contentious exchanges yesterday. The very first vote in the Senate resulted in a tie. It was a Democratic motion to replace a resolution which determined how power should be shared. 

That motion failed, and a lengthy debate followed. In one volley, State Sen. John Edwards (D) reminded State Sen. Tommy Norment (R) of a memorandum sent by Bolling about his limitations.

"Which he acknowledges he is not a member of the Senate and indeed cannot be both Lt. Governor and a member of the Senate at the same time and was not elected to the Senate of Virginia," Edwards said. "Is the Senator aware of that memorandum of the Lt. Governor?"  

Norment countered: "I would say to you, I am aware of what the Constitution says and I just respectfully have a different understanding than the interpretation that you are trying to bootstrap through your very decisive and incisive questioning."

Sen. Donald McEachin (D), who filed a power-sharing lawsuit, then asked for yet another recess to discuss a resolution with his caucus.  

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