90 Miles From Tyranny : VA GOP Wants Hearings On Sexual Assault Allegations, Dems Call It ‘Games’

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

VA GOP Wants Hearings On Sexual Assault Allegations, Dems Call It ‘Games’

Any governor needs to be careful about calling in a special session of the legislature. While you may want the lawmakers to handle one particular issue, there’s rarely anything to stop them from doing other things while they’re there. They don’t answer to the governor, after all. They work for the constituents that elected them.

Yet in Virginia, Governor Ralph Northam’s special session is already heating up. It seems Republicans in the state legislature feel no need to stick to Northam’s agenda exclusively. They want to look into something else, something that needs to be looked into.
Virginia House Republicans are floating the idea of using next month’s special session on guns to hold a hearing on the sexual assault allegations against Democratic Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax.

In a letter sent to Democrats on Monday, Del. Rob Bell, R-Albemarle, said the July 9 session presents a “good opportunity” for a hearing on the Fairfax situation, or at least a conversation about scheduling a proceeding “later in the summer.”

“We respectfully ask the Democratic Caucus to agree to something — anything — that would allow bipartisan public hearings to take place,” Bell, the chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee, wrote to House Minority Leader Eileen Filler-Corn, D-Fairfax.

Sexual assault allegations are serious. They shouldn’t be taken lightly, and while I tend to prefer the criminal justice system to look into those, with someone like a lieutenant governor, that process can’t always be trusted. Not everyone is willing to tangle with a powerful official who can make their life hell.

But lawmakers can. That’s their job to some degree. The proposed hearings are the ideal opportunity to do just that, to investigate and put the evidence in front of the people.

Only, it doesn’t look like that’s...

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