Morrissey would have liked second-term senator getting more Republican state Sen. Amanda Chase was given only one committee assignment last week by the Democratic...

Morrissey would have liked second-term senator getting more

Republican state Sen. Amanda Chase was given only one committee assignment last week by the Democratic Party caucus, which sets the rules for the body that it controls 21-19. 

Although Chase said on Facebook that she would be sitting in numerous committee meetings, she would not be doing it as an official member of the committees.

On his WJFN radio show Friday, Jan. 10, state Sen. Joe Morrissey — a Democrat who represents eastern Chesterfield County — said he opposed limiting Chase to one committee assignment. He said he spoke out against it in the Senate Democratic Party’s caucus meeting, and was joined by four or five other Democrat senators, to no avail. 

Morrissey noted that every other Republican has at least three committee assignments, although some have four. According to lis.virginia.gov, Morrissey has four committee assignments: Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources; Judiciary; Local Government; and Rehabilitation and Social Services. Chase will only sit on the Local Government Committee. 

On her Facebook page, Chase said the Senate adopted rules that require senators to pay caucus dues or lose committee assignments. “My Senate Caucus dues each of the last two years was $10K,” Chase said. 

In November, she announced that, although she was re-elected as a Republican, she would not caucus with her party, primarily due to reservations about Senate GOP Leader Tommy Norment of Williamsburg. 

Legislation

In other news, Chase and Morrissey announced some of the bills that they are supporting or sponsoring. 

Chase is sponsoring a bill that would make Election Day a state holiday. The bill passed out of a Senate subcommittee on Friday, she said on her Facebook page. 

The second-term senator is also sponsoring a bill that would require colleges provide a 15-day notice for public comment prior to any tuition increase. 

Morrissey said he voted for a bill that would allow “geriatic release” of prisoners who have a short time to live, regardless of their crimes. 

In regard to other “life” issues, Morrissey said is sponsoring a bill that would place a moratorium on the death penalty in Virginia. He also favors a bill that would prohibit abortion after a fetus can feel pain inside the womb. In regard to the latter bill, “Let NARAL folks campaign against me. That’s fine,” he said, referring to the National Abortion Rights Action League. 

In regard to gun control, Morrissey said he supports universal background checks for gun purchases, along with a “red flag” law and a ban on “assault rifles” with high-capacity magazines. 

“An assault rifle is more dangerous than a machine gun,” he said, noting that the latter are banned by federal law. According to thefederalist.com, it is illegal for any private citizen to own any fully automatic weapons manufactured after May 19, 1986. Morrissey later clarified his comment and said “assault rifles” are at least as dangerous as machine guns. 

Morrissey also said he supports Sen. Emmett Hanger’s bill to expand broadband and Sen. Bill Stanley’s bill that would provide $300 million to repair or replace crumbling schools in southwest Virginia and inner cities. Both Hanger and Stanley are Republicans. 

Morrissey, who started his “Fightin’ Joe Morrissey” radio show from an office in Chester in late 2018 and moved it to a studio in Richmond late last year, was interviewed Jan. 10 by John Fredericks. The show was broadcast from Morrissey’s office at the state Capitol on the sixth floor of the Pocahontas Building, 900 E. Main St. in Richmond. 

Fredericks said he would try to have Morrissey on the air each day during the General Assembly’s 60-day legislative session – whether it be for 5 minutes or 30 minutes – Monday through Friday, depending on Morrissey’s schedule. 

“I’m trying to give the listening audience a perspective of a moderate Democrat,” Morrissey said.