Session dismissed Gov's overreach, obstruct advice

By Bob Lewis

Associated Press

Published: Sunday, March 11 2012 12:00 a.m. MST

Showing his libertarian streak, Marshall said the bill could have accomplished the same end without mandating the ultrasound procedure already done as standard medical practice.

"You could have written the bill in a way that says if the procedure is done, then the woman shall be offered an opportunity to see the image," he said.

House Minority Leader David Marsden, D-Charlottesville, called the Republicans' 2012 legislation "a classic case of legislative overreach." And he said McDonnell himself had a hand in it.

"One of the things you can talk about in terms of the legislation (McDonnell) sent down is his budget, and the budget reflected priorities that even his House Republican Caucus couldn't embrace, and that was draconian cuts in the social safety net," he said.

Marsden, however, wouldn't concede that his own Senate colleagues had obstructed.

"Until we get a little farther in the discussions, I am not prepared to say the Democrats are obstructing," he said.

Senate Democrats defeated two versions of the two-year, $85 billion budget, holding out for GOP concessions on greater Senate power sharing and the restoration of budget priorities. Among them were demands for more Medicaid funding for hospitals and nursing homes, more state money to ease sharp freeway toll increases in northern Virginia and Hampton Roads and even reimbursement to the University of Virginia for Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli's inquisition into a former professor's climate change research.

A third version of the budget, cloned by the House after two versions had died in the Senate, sat dormant in the Senate Finance Committee for a week before both sides agreed to adjourn the regular session and come back later this spring and try again.

And that's largely because of Colgan. It took the reserved 36-year senator to scold both sides for over-the-top partisanship and remind his Democratic colleagues that they're not going to get all they want. Because Colgan represents the turnkey 21st vote, no one could quarrel with that.

Bob Lewis has covered Virginia politics and government since 2000.

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