RICHMOND, Va. (WAVY) — There could be trouble in the push for a state independent commission to investigate the Virginia Beach mass shooting.
The House Appropriations Committee, led by Del. Luke Torian (D-Prince William County), decided not to put legislation proposing the state commission, HB658, on the committee’s docket.
That means there is not enough time to get the bill to the House of Delegates floor by Tuesday for the required votes before crossover, in which all the House of Delegates bills go to the state Senate and the Senate bills go to the House.
10 On Your Side’s Andy Fox has been working on this story and understands there are efforts to put the state commission as a line item in the state budget, bypassing the legislative process through committee.
It is unorthodox to do it this way, but it has happened before. It could also be stripped in the conference committee with delegates and senators.
Jason Nixon, the husband of Kate Nixon who was killed in Building 2 in Virginia Beach on May 31, said the procedural setback was frustrating.
“I’m pretty frustrated. I feel like we were blindsided. That’s what I feel like. I feel like we were blindsided, and this should never have happened,”
“I feel like we have been hornswoggled,” Nixon said. “I feel like we walked out of there feeling great like, we are going to get this investigation. We are getting close, we are gaining ground, and right out of the blue, we are not even on the appropriations docket.”
On Jan. 28, Nixon sat around a table in Richmond and met with delegates and senators. After that, the Rules Committee unanimously voted to move forward House Bill 658.
Newly-elected House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn, (D-Fairfax County), voiced her support for the investigation on Jan. 28 when Nixon and the other families were meeting with legislators.
“We are here for you and we hear you. Having you come here in person and sharing your personal stories, which of course are so tragic, makes a difference just in case you were wondering,” Filler-Corn said at the time, making it clear she is with the families and supports an investigation.
True to her word, WAVY News was are told the speaker is now working with Torian to make sure the state independent investigation is funded in the state budget in a line item of roughly $100,000 over three years.
Nixon says all the families want is what Virginia Tech got after the mass shooting in 2007.
“I don’t know what the City of Virginia Beach is afraid of to have a state investigation. Virginia Tech did it, so they got a state investigation. We aren’t asking for anything more than what Virginia Tech asked for,” Nixon said.