22 February 2010

Gloves Coming Off in House of Delegates

West Virginia Democratic Party Chairman Nick Casey believes GOP delegates will pursue "discharge motion" each day this week to force House floor votes on politically charged issues, The Associated Press reports.

Republican lawmakers have employed that legislative maneuver during prior sessions, arguing that measures popular among voters have been unfairly bottled up in committees. In a press release, Casey dismisses such attempts as political grandstanding meant to curry favor at election time.

House GOP members plan a press conference this hour to discuss their agenda for the session. Republicans hold 29 of the chamber's 100 seats.

One likely discharge motion target is a proposed constitutional amendment that seeks to define marriage as being between one man and one woman.

The minority Republicans tried without success to discharge last year's version. This session, they sought to force it onto the agenda of the House Constitutional Revision Committee, as AP noted, but failed.

The House was warned earlier this session to expect discharge motions, but by a Democrat, Delegate Tom Louisos of Fayette County. While he often votes with the GOP on certain issues, Louisos also complained that the bills he routinely sponsors are ignored with equal reqularity.

The Charleston Gazette also has an item on the discharge motion threats.

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