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    Document Summary
    - Report Published -

    House Document No. 8
    PUBLICATION YEAR 2006

    Document Title
    The Appropriate Balance of Power between the Legislative and Executive Branches

    Author
    Joint Subcommittee

    Enabling Authority
    HJR 707 (Regular Session, 2005)

    Executive Summary
    At the 2004 Regular Session, the General Assembly agreed to House Joint Resolution No. 13 and established a joint subcommittee to study the appropriate balance of power between the legislative and executive branches to support a two-term Governor in the Commonwealth.

    The joint subcommittee elected Delegate R. Steven Landes and Senator Jeannemarie Devolites Davis as its chairman and vice-chairman, respectively. The joint subcommittee held four meetings during the 2004 interim and received extensive testimony from a number of individuals from the public and private sector.

    The joint subcommittee identified a number of responsibilities and functions of the Governor and the General Assembly for review in concert with a constitutional amendment to allow the Governor to succeed himself. The joint subcommittee conducted a preliminary review of several restructuring proposals to (i) lengthen the session to 60 days in the odd-numbered years, (ii) shift the budget cycle to begin the biennial budget July 1 of the odd-numbered year, (iii) provide for annual budgets, (iv) create an independent economic and revenue forecasting commission, (v) allow for legislative veto or suspension of administrative regulations, and (vi) increase legislative oversight of the boards of visitors of the public institutions of higher learning and the Commonwealth Transportation Board. Because of the complexity of the issues involved with these proposals, the joint subcommittee agreed that more time was needed to conduct a proper analysis and unanimously recommended seeking continuation of the study for one year.

    In addition to recommending its continuation, introduced and passed as HJR 707 in 2005, the joint subcommittee agreed to endorse three legislative initiatives for consideration at the 2005 Regular Session of the General Assembly:

    • A constitutional amendment to allow the Governor to succeed himself for one four-year term. Introduced as HJR 652 and SJR 401 and failed to pass.

    • A bill to provide for a more formalized and expanded confirmation process that includes review of the resumes and statements of economic interests of gubernatorial appointees by a joint subcommittee of the two Committees on Privileges and Election. Introduced as HB 2144 and SB 999 and passed.

    • A bill to require the Secretary of the Commonwealth to distribute the financial disclosure statement forms to officers appointed by legislative authorities serving on executive branch boards. Introduced as HB 2136 and passed.

    A full report of the joint subcommittee's 2004 activities and recommendations has been published as House Document 22 (2005).

    Pursuant to HJR 707, the joint subcommittee met four times during the 2005 interim to continue its evaluation of the issues cited above with an emphasis on developing proposals to balance the executive and legislative branch powers in conjunction with any expansion of the governor's term of office. Its recommendations included:

    • Proposed constitutional amendments to provide a six-year term for the governor, a legislative veto of administrative rules and regulations, legislative appointments to the State Board of Education, and more flexibility to extend regular sessions. Introduced as HJR 145 and SJR 100. These measures were referred to the House and Senate Committees on Privileges and Elections and continued to the 2007 Session.

    • A constitutional amendment to provide for a brief organizational session in December to prepare for the regular session. Introduced as HJR 146 and SJR 101 and continued to 2007 by the House and Senate Privileges and Elections Committees.

    • A resolution to create a revenue forecasting committee in the legislative branch with authority to employ forecasting expertise from the private sector. Introduced as HJR 147 and SJR 102. HJR 147 passed the House and was continued to 2007 by the Senate Committee on Rules. SJR 102 was stricken at the Patron's request.

    • A bill to provide for legislative appointments to the Commonwealth Transportation Board effective on approval of the constitutional amendment to provide for a six-year term for the governor. Introduced as SB 437 and incorporated into SB 304 that passed. The Governor vetoed SB 304 and HB 673 providing for General Assembly election of non-at-large members of the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

    • A bill to provide that appointments of legislative members on several entities will be made by legislative authorities. Introduced as HB 1186 and SB 330 and passed.

    Delegate Purkey again introduced as HJR 1 a constitutional amendment to allow the Governor to succeed himself for one four-year term. The resolution was referred to the House Committee on Privileges and Elections and continued to 2007.

    **************************************************************************************************************************

    [2005 Interim -- Joint Subcommittee Studying the Balance of Executive and Legislative Branch Powers Study (HJR 707, 2005)

    At the 2004 Regular Session, the General Assembly agreed to House Joint Resolution No. 13 and established a joint subcommittee to study the appropriate balance of power between the legislative and executive branches to support a two-term Governor in the Commonwealth.

    The joint subcommittee elected Delegate R. Steven Landes and Senator Jeannemarie Devolites Davis as its chairman and vice-chairman, respectively. The joint subcommittee held four meetings during the 2004 interim and received extensive testimony from a number of individuals from the public and private sector.

    The joint subcommittee identified a number of responsibilities and functions of the Governor and the General Assembly for review in concert with the constitutional amendment to allow the Governor to succeed himself. The joint subcommittee conducted a preliminary review of several restructuring proposals to (i) lengthen the session to 60 days in the odd-numbered years, (ii) shift the budget cycle to begin the biennial budget July 1 of the odd-numbered year, (iii) provide for annual budgets, (iv) create an independent economic and revenue forecasting commission, (v) allow for legislative veto or suspension of administrative regulations, and (vi) increase legislative oversight of the boards of visitors of the public institutions of higher learning and the Commonwealth Transportation Board. Because of the complexity of the issues involved with these proposals, the joint subcommittee agreed that more time was needed to conduct a proper analysis and unanimously recommended seeking continuation of the study for one year.

    In addition to recommending its continuation, introduced as HJR 707 and passed, the joint subcommittee agreed to endorse three legislative initiatives for consideration at the 2005 Regular Session of the General Assembly:

    • A constitutional amendment to allow the Governor to succeed himself for one four-year term. Introduced as HJR 652 and SJR 401 and failed to pass.

    • A bill to provide for a more formalized and expanded confirmation process that includes review of the resumes and statements of economic interests of gubernatorial appointees by a joint subcommittee of the two Committees on Privileges and Election. Introduced as HB 2144 and SB 999 and passed.

    • A bill to require the Secretary of the Commonwealth to distribute the financial disclosure statement forms to officers appointed by legislative authorities serving on executive branch boards. Introduced as HB 2136 and passed.

    A full report of the joint subcommittee's 2004 activities and recommendations has been published as House Document 22 (2005).

    Pursuant to HJR 707, the joint subcommittee met four times during the 2005 interim to continue its evaluation of the issues cited above with an emphasis on developing proposals to balance the executive and legislative branch powers in conjunction with any expansion of the governor's term of office. Its recommendations included:

    • Proposed constitutional amendments to provide a six-year term for the governor, a legislative veto of administrative rules and regulations, legislative appointments to the State Board of Education, and more flexibility to extend regular sessions.

    • A constitutional amendment to provide for a brief organizational session in December to prepare for the regular session.

    • A resolution to create a revenue forecasting committee in the legislative branch with authority to employ forecasting expertise from the private sector.

    • A bill to provide for legislative appointments to the Commonwealth Transportation Board effective on approval of the constitutional amendment to provide for a six-year term for the governor.

    • A bill to provide that appointments of legislative members on several entities will be made by legislative authorities.

    A report of the joint subcommittee's activities and recommendations and the actions taken on its recommendations by the 2006 General Assembly will be submitted for publication as House Document No. 8 following the 2006 Regular Session.]