Monday, March 14, 2016

2016 Legislative Session: Adjournment

96th District, Virginia House of Delegates                                          March 14, 2016

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Contact Delegate Pogge

District Office 
1201 Jamestown Road
Williamsburg, VA 23185
Phone: 757-223-9690
Legislative Aide
Amanda Johnston
Like most Virginians, I spent much of last week wishing I could spend time outdoors enjoying the beautiful weather. With the sun shining and temperatures close to 80, spring fever descended on Capitol Square. Inside Mr. Jefferson's Capitol, however, legislative business continued apace. House and Senate members worked throughout last week, finally adjourning around 8:30 p.m. on Friday. In addition to completing our work on all bills, we also elected judges and passed Virginia's biennial budget. Following is a final update from the 2016 General Assembly session. 
Virginia budget
While I am pleased by much of our legislative progress (and our early adjournment), I have concerns about the final budget approved by the House and Senate. Namely, I have reservations about the overall size of the budget. Last December, Governor McAuliffe boasted about his record-setting proposed budget of $109 billion. As a fiscal conservative, I firmly believe that large (and growing) government expenditures are NOT in the best interest of taxpayers. For this reason, I voted against this year's budget. I am glad that Virginia is in a better fiscal position than previous years; however, I believe those "extra" dollars should be returned to taxpayers in the form of tax cuts and reductions in fees. 

To view the budget online, please click HERE
Judicial elections
In case you missed the headlines, the General Assembly last week ended a protracted battle to elect a judge to the Virginia Supreme Court. Following is a brief background on this complicated issue:

After the General Assembly adjourned last spring, Supreme Court Justice LeRoy Millette announced his retirement. In July, Governor McAuliffe named Circuit Court Judge Jane Roush to an interim appointment. The Constitution grants the Governor the authority to name temporary interim appointments to the Supreme Court that expire 30 days after the start of the next General Assembly session. The Constitution grants the General Assembly the authority to elect Supreme Court Justices to their full, 12-year terms.

In August, the House and Senate resolved to elect Judge Rossie D. Alston. Unfortunately, Senate Democrats unconstitutionally attempted to adjourn the special session, thereby leaving a vacancy on the Court. Governor McAuliffe re-named Justice Roush to the bench, and she accepted the unconstitutional interim appointment. Her second term expired on February 13, 2016, leaving a vacancy for the General Assembly to fill.

Accordingly, during the 2016 session, House Republicans again worked to elect Judge Alston. Unfortunately, he did not garner the requisite votes in the Senate to be elected. Because Judge Roush accepted an unconstitutional interim appointment from the Governor, she disqualified herself from service on the Court. The House therefore refused to elect her. 

After Justice Roush and Judge Alston were considered, the General Assembly moved to review other qualified candidates, namely Judge Stephen R. McCullough. Judge McCullough is an experienced appellate judge who has served the Commonwealth with distinction for over 19 years. Prior to his election to the Court of Appeals, he served in the Attorney General's office as the Solicitor General and as an Assistant Attorney General. He was previously considered for the Supreme Court, at which time he was endorsed by all of the major bar associations. I am proud to have supported Judge McCullough, and I believe his legal acumen will be an asset for all Virginians. 

Article VI, Section 7 of the Constitution states clearly that the General Assembly shall choose the justices of the Supreme Court. The election of Supreme Court Justices is our sole prerogative, and I am pleased we accomplished this task.
Mark your calendar!
As you are well aware, 2016 is an incredibly important year in politics. I've previously announced my support for Senator Ted Cruz, and I continue to believe that he is the best candidate for President. Likewise, I am proud to support Cynthia Dunbar for Virginia National Committeewoman, and I encourage you to review her statement HERE and support her at the upcoming RPV Convention. 

If you reside in James City County, there is still time to apply to serve as a delegate to the 1st or 2nd District Conventions as well as the RPV Convention. The deadline is Wednesday, March 16. See below for details!

  • JCC GOP Chairman
  • JCC GOP Committee Membership
  • Delegate to 1st OR 2nd Congressional District Conventions
  • Delegate to Republican Party of Virginia Convention
March 19: Peninsula Lincoln Reagan Gala featuring:
  • Congressman Rob Wittman
  • Congressman Randy Forbes
  • Delegate Scott Taylor
  • Ed Gillespie
March 23: JCCRC Mass Meeting to elect:
  • Chairman
  • Committee Members
  • Delegates to 1st & 2nd Congressional District Conventions
  • Delegates to Republican Party of Virginia Convention
  • RPV Chairman
  • National Committeeman
  • National Committeewoman
  • Delegates & Alternate Delegates to the Republican National Convention
  • Electors (Electoral College)
  • District Chairman
  • State Central Committee Members (RPV governing body)
  • Delegates & Alternate Delegates to the Republican National Convention
  • Electors (Electoral College)
May 21: 2nd Congressional District Mass Meeting (details TBA) to elect:
  • District Chairman
  • State Central Committee Members (RPV governing body)
  • Delegates & Alternate Delegates to the Republican National Convention
  • Electors (Electoral College)
Back home.
Now that session has adjourned, I am again working out of my Williamsburg office. To schedule a meeting or for assistance with a state-related matter, please call 757-223-9690 or email

Have a great day!
Delegate Brenda Pogge

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