RICHMOND, Va. (AP/WAVY) - Virginia Senate Republicans ruled out power sharing with Democrats on Wednesday with Republican Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling casting the vote that broke a partisan 20-20 tie, then used Bolling's position to take control of the Senate.
Republicans rejected a Democratic motion to evenly apportion committee seats and oversee them with co-chairmen, even though Republicans hold the same number of seats as Democrats at 20 each.
Later, Bolling upheld Republican procedural rules that delete a 20-year-old provision that guaranteed the partisan makeup of committees would reflect the Senate's overall partisan composition.
Democratic Senator Donald McEachin has filed a law suit and says Bolling's vote is unconstitutional.
McEachin adds Bolling is not a Senator and can not vote on Senate organizational matters.
"There is no doubt there should be co-chairs of the standing committees. There should be 16 members on each committee and not 15. And the members should be divided equally Democrats and Republicans," McEachin said.
McEachin is calling for power sharing, which is a bug deal for Hampton Roads.
State Senator Mamie Locke, of Hampton and Newport News, is a Democrat and is no longer Chair of General Laws and Technology.
"There's a lot of issues I, as a Chair, can make in determining what comes before the committee. The issues may not get addressed in the same way," Locke explained.
Then there's Senator Louise Lucas, of Portsmouth, who is also a Democrat. Lucas no longer heads the Local Governments Committee.
She was also set to become Chair of Education and Health.
"I'm just a little disappointed it's not going to happen now. I've been in the majority and the minority and I'm in the minority again," Lucas said.
Lastly, Democratic Senator Yvonne Miller, of Norfolk, is no longer Chair of the Transportation Committee.
"I think the Commonwealth is now reverting to the inglorious past. The past when whites dominated everything, and minorities were excluded," Miller exclaimed.
Republicans are saying if Democrats wanted to control the Senate they should have won more races in Nov.
Democrats needed 21 seats to maintain control and they failed to do so.
With the disputed vote, Republicans take control of both the legislative and executive branches of Virginia government for the first time in 11 years, giving Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell the opportunity to enact a broad array of conservative legislation.
Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
Norfolk Police are investigating the cause of death for male found unconscious on the beach.
Suffolk Police are seeking the identify of a man who robbed a Radio Shack Saturday morning, armed with a sawed-off shotgun.
A North Carolina man was arrested in Suffolk Saturday morning, accused of raping a woman he knew.