-Opinion concludes that the Lieutenant Governor can vote on organizational matters and all ordinary legislative and procedural issues, but cannot vote on those matters where the Constitution of Virginia specifically requires a majority of the “members elected” to pass- RICHMOND – In advance of the start of the 2012 session of the Virginia General Assembly, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling today issued a comprehensive memorandum setting forth his views on his ability to vote on various issues that may come before the General Assembly. A copy of the Lieutenant Governor’s memorandum is attached.
Consistent with his prior statements, the Lieutenant Governor has concluded that he is empowered to vote on organizational matters and all ordinary legislation and procedural issues that come before the Senate and results in a tie vote, unless some other Constitutional provision clearly limits his ability to vote and imposes a higher standard for passage or approval.
Consistent with this finding, the Lieutenant Governor has also concluded that he cannot vote on those matters where the Constitution of Virginia specifically requires a majority of the “members elected” to pass. Bolling has concluded that the Lieutenant Governor is not an elected “member” of the Senate, and as such, is precluded from voting on such matters. This interpretation is based on the clear reading of the Constitution and is consistent with prior Attorney General’s opinions and advice.
The Lieutenant Governor’s opinion notes that no such constitutional limitations apply to his ability to vote on organizational issues, such as the election of Senate leaders, committee chairs and committee members, as well as the adoption of Rules of the Senate; and he fully intends to vote on such matters if they result in an equal division.
“I recognize that Senators on both sides of the aisle may be disappointed with my conclusions, albeit for entirely different reasons,” Bolling said. “However, throughout my service as Lieutenant Governor, I have tried to preside over the Senate in a fair and impartial manner, and I will continue to do so.”
“In addition, I have taken a solemn oath to uphold the Constitution of Virginia, which allows us to faithfully serve the people who elected us to our offices,” Bolling added. “I believe that what I have outlined above is a correct and impartial interpretation and application of the Constitution of Virginia, and therefore, I will act accordingly on any matters that come before the Senate.”