Bills filed for 2008 Assembly


RICHMOND — Delegate Bob Marshall, R-Manassas, has filed 74 measures for the 2008 General Assembly session, about twice as many as any other member of the House.

The deadline for submitting a bill was the close of business Friday. Lawmakers filed 2,743 items, according to data posted Saturday by the Legislative Information Service, the assemblys staff. That included 2,338 bills (or proposed laws) and 405 resolutions (usually non-controversial proclamations congratulating local citizens, for example).

Marshall proposed 63 bills and 11 resolutions. In the House, other top bill-filers were Delegates David Albo, R-Springfield, with 33; Mark L. Cole, R-Fredericksburg, and John A. Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake, with 31 each; and Vivian E. Watts, D-Annandale, with 30.

In the Senate, Sen. John S. Edwards, D-Roanoke, put 51 bills in the hopper; Sen. Ken Cuccinelli, R-Fairfax, 47; Sen. Emmett W. Hanger Jr., R-Mount Solon, 34; and Sens. Janet Howell, D-Reston, and Phillip P. Puckett, D-Tazewell, 32 each.

But of the 139 lawmakers (one seat is vacant), 26 filed fewer than 10 bills. Delegates Algie Howell, D-Norfolk; Joseph Bouchard, D-Virginia Beach; and James P. Massie, R-Richmond, each filed only three bills. Sens. Ralph K. Smith, R-Roanoke, and William C. Wampler Jr., R-Bristol, each submitted eight bills; Sen. Stephen D. Newman, R-Forest , seven; and Sen. Henry L. Marsh, D-Richmond, six.

On the average, delegates submitted 16 bills each and senators more than 19. Republican legislators each filed an average of 18 bills; Democratic legislators, an average of 16.

Bob Roberts, a political science professor at James Madison University, says it isnt unusual for politicians to submit a lot of bills.

The primary reason delegates or senators file a lot of bills is for constituent services: It shows you are doing something, he said. 

Stephen Farnsworth, a political science professor at the University of Mary Washington, said in a telephone interview that politicians get elected based on what they do for their constituents, and that they need to get noticed to achieve higher office.

Marshall, who this month announced his candidacy for the U.S. Senate, said in a telephone interview that his legislation mostly comes from constituent concerns.  The bills he submitted cover a range of issues, including abortion, immigration and the William and Mary Board of Visitors.

The number of bills lawmakers file has been the subject of discussion, and some controversy. Two weeks ago, the House adopted a rule barring delegates from proposing more than 10 bills each. The limit will apply only to the General Assemblys shorter, 46-day sessions, held during odd-numbered years. The rule will be effective with next years 2009 session. (During even years, the assembly meets for 60 days.)

Marshall strongly opposed the rule change putting a limit on bill filings.

I opposed it, and was disciplined by the leaders of the party, which I expected, he said.  My first duty is to my constituents, not any political party.

Marshall believes that duty overrides any concern over the number of bills the General Assembly has to review during the session.

If you dont get to bills, you can carry them over, you know. If members complain about too many bills, they shouldnt be here, he said.  We are here for the citizens. If constituents submit something [for possible legislation], I submit it and let my colleagues judge it.

Roberts said that on the whole, it isnt a bad thing to have legislators file a lot of bills, even if they dont pass.

I dont think it is really bad. I think it may send the wrong message to citizens that bills have a chance of getting through, particularly in the House, he said.  The major criticism is it takes up a lot of time in the committee.

However, Bob Denton, a political science professor at Virginia Tech, said in a telephone interview that an overload of bills can create issues.

No representative can read, much less understand, 3,000 pieces of legislation, he said.  Most rely upon committee work and the strong suggestion by party leaders.  In fact, at the end of the day, there is little public or full deliberation.

Roberts said the track record for getting legislation passed is often not good with legislators who submit a lot of bills.

Ninety-nine percent probably wont get passed because they have to go to subcommittees and committees, and most of them die, he said.

During the 2007 session, assembly members filed 2,294 bills. About 950, or 42 percent, were approved by both the House and Senate.

Marshall typically files a lot of bills 52, for example, in 2006. Only eight of them, or 15 percent, passed that year. Marshall doesnt seem concerned about how many of his bills will pass this year.

For years, the Democrats have tried to beat me on this batting average stuff, and it hasnt worked.  Ive been elected nine times. And again, Im here for the constituents, and if my colleagues dont like it, I tried.

Roberts and Marshall both expressed concerns about constituents becoming angry with the limited number of bills because the delegates will be forced to favor certain legislation.  Farnsworth also said that the limit could push a lot of bills into even-numbered years.

Marshall was brief when speaking about his plans to deal with the bill limit next session.

Hopefully, since Im running for U.S. Senate, I wont have to deal with that, he said.

Note: Here is a list of all legislators and how many bills they filed. (We EXCLUDED resolutions from the totals.) Youre welcome to pull from the table the legislators youre interested in. 

Delegates ranked by how many House bills they filed 

Delegate                                                  Bills filed

Robert G. Marshall, R-Manassas                     63

David B. Albo, R-Springfield                           33

Mark L. Cole, R-Fredericksburg                       31

John A. Cosgrove, R-Chesapeake                   31

Vivian E. Watts, D-Annandale                          30

L. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Woodbridge                 29

Terry G. Kilgore, R-Gate City                           28

Thomas Davis Rust, R-Herndon                        28

William H. Fralin Jr., R-Roanoke                        27

David L. Englin, D-Alexandria                            26

Phillip A. Hamilton, R-Newport News                  25

Timothy D. Hugo, R-Centreville       &nbs
p;                 25

John M. O’Bannon, III, R-Richmond                    25

Harry R. Purkey, R-Virginia Beach                      25

Stephen C. Shannon, D-Vienna                          24

Mark D. Sickles, D-Franconia                             24

David W. Marsden, D-Burke                               23

Christopher B. Saxman, R-Staunton                   23

Robert B. Bell, R-Charlottesville                         22

C. Charles Caputo, D-Chantilly                          22

Jeffrey M. Frederick, R-Woodbridge                   22

C. Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock                           22

H. Morgan  Griffith, R-Salem                             22

Joe T. May, R-Leesburg                                    22

Terrie L. Suit, R-Virginia Beach                         22

Christopher Kilian Peace, R-Mechanicsville        21

David J. Toscano, D-Charlottesville                  21

Adam P. Ebbin, D-Arlington                             20

James M. Scott, D-Merrifield                           20

William K. Barlow, D-Smithfield                      19

William R. Janis, R-Glen Allen                         19

Jennifer L. McClellan, D-Richmond                   19

Brian J. Moran, D-Alexandria                          19

Kenneth R. Plum, D-Reston                            19

Clifford L. Athey Jr., R-Front Royal                  18

Jackson H. Miller, R-Manassas                         18

Paul F. Nichols, D-Woodbridge                         18

Kristen J. Amundson, D-Mount Vernon             17

Robert H. Brink, D-Arlington                           17

R. Steven  Landes, R-Weyers Cave                 17

David A. Nutter, R-Christiansburg                   17

Robert  Tata, R-Virginia Beach                       17

Anne B. Crockett-Stark, R-Wytheville             16

Harvey B. Morgan, R-Gloucester                    16

Robert D. Orrock, Sr., R-Thornburg                16

R. Lee Ware Jr., R-Powhatan                          16

G. Glenn Oder, R-Newport News                     15

Dan C. Bowling, D-Oakwood                          14

Kathy J. Byron, R-Lynchburg                          14

Benjamin L. Cline, R-Amherst                        14

Albert C. Eisenberg, D-Arlington                     14

Matthew J. Lohr, R-Harrisonburg                     14

Samuel A. Nixon Jr., R-Richmond                   14

David E. Poisson, D-Sterling                           14

Beverly J. Sherwood, R-Winchester                 14

Onzlee  Ware, D-Roanoke                               14

David L. Bulova, D-Fairfax Station                   13

Paula J. Miller, D-Norfolk                                 13

Clarence E. Phillips, D-Castlewood            &nb
sp;      13

Edward T. Scott, R-Culpeper                            13

Riley E. Ingram, R-Hopewell                            12

Kenneth R. Melvin, D-Portsmouth                    12

Lionell  Spruill, Sr., D-Chesapeake                  12

Kenneth C. Alexander, D-Norfolk                    11

Charles W. Carrico, Sr., R-Independence         11

Thomas D. Gear, R-Hampton                           11

Clarke N. Hogan, R-South Boston                     11

Salvatore R. Iaquinto, R-Virginia Beach            11

G.  Manoli Loupassi, R-Richmond                      11

Daniel W. Marshall, III, R-Danville                    11

Ward L. Armstrong, D-Martinsville                    10

Mamye E. BaCote, D-Newport News                  10

M. Kirkland Cox, R-Colonial Heights                   10

Robert D. Hull, D-Falls Church                           10

Joseph P. Johnson Jr., D-Abingdon                    10

Dwight Clinton Jones, D-Richmond                    10

S. Chris  Jones, R-Suffolk                                 10

Lynwood W. Lewis Jr., D-Accomack                    9

Joseph D. Morrissey, D-Highland Springs            9

Brenda L. Pogge, R-Yorktown                             9

Shannon R. Valentine, D-Lynchburg                    9

Thomas C. Wright Jr., R-Victoria                        9

Frank D. Hargrove, Sr., R-Glen Allen                  8

Charles D.  Poindexter, R-Glade Hill                   8

Lacey E. Putney, I-Bedford                                8

James M. Shuler, D-Blacksburg                          8

Margaret G.  Vanderhye, D-McLean                    8

Watkins M. Abbitt Jr., I-Appomattox                    7

Robert W. Mathieson, D-Virginia Beach                7

Donald W. Merricks, R-Danville                           7

Johnny S. Joannou, D-Portsmouth                       6

Jeion A. Ward, D-Hampton                                  6

Rosalyn R. Dance, D-Petersburg                          5

Franklin P. Hall, D-Richmond                                5

Roslyn C. Tyler, D-Jarratt                                    5

Joseph F. Bouchard, D-Virginia Beach                   3

Algie T. Howell Jr., D-Norfolk                               3

James P. Massie, III, R-Richmond                        3


Senators ranked by how many Senate bills they filed


Senator                                                     Bills filed

John S. Edwards, D-Roanoke                            51

Ken Cuccinelli, R-Fairfax                                  47

Emmett W. Hanger Jr., R-Mount Solon              34

Janet D. Howell, D-Reston                               32

Phillip P. Puckett, D-Tazewell                           32

R. Creigh Deeds, D-Charlottesville    &nbsp
;              31

Patricia S. Ticer, D-Alexandria                         28

Mary Margaret Whipple, D-Arlington                 26

William Roscoe Reynolds, D-Martinsville           24

Kenneth W. Stolle, R-Virginia Beach                24

Mark R. Herring, D-Leesburg                          23

Ryan T. McDougle, R-Mechanicsville                23

Mark D. Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg                21

Linda T. Puller, D-Mount Vernon                      21

John Watkins, R-Midlothian                             21

J. Chapman Petersen, D-Fairfax                      20

R. Edward Houck, D-Spotsylvania                   18

Thomas K. Norment Jr., R-Williamsburg          17

Richard H. Stuart, R-Montross                        17

L. Louise Lucas, D-Portsmouth                       16

Stephen H. Martin, R-Chesterfield                  16

Richard L. Saslaw, D-Springfield                    16

Frank W. Wagner, R-Virginia Beach                16

Harry B. Blevins, R-Chesapeake                     15

Walter A. Stosch, R-Glen Allen                        15

Charles J. Colgan, D-Manassas                       14

Yvonne B. Miller, D-Norfolk                             14

Frederick M. Quayle, R-Suffolk                         14

George L. Barker, D-Alexandria                        13

Frank M. Ruff Jr., R-Clarksville                          13

A. Donald McEachin, D-Richmond                      12

Jill Holtzman Vogel, R-Winchester                      12

Mamie E. Locke, D-Hampton                             11

Ralph S. Northam, D-Norfolk                            11

Robert Hurt, R-Chatham                                  10

John C. Miller, D-Newport News                         9

Ralph K. Smith, R-Roanoke                               8

William C. Wampler Jr., R-Bristol                       8

Stephen D. Newman, R-Forest                           7

Henry L. Marsh, III, D-Richmond                       6