Pressed for time, Virginia lawmakers are pretending it’s Thursday

Del. Lee Carter, D-Manassas, and Sen. Joe Morrissey, D-Richmond, hash out differences on Thursday between two bills they proposed in a hallway outside the Senate chamber. (Ned Oliver/Virginia Mercury)

At the time of this writing, it is Friday. But in Virginia’s General Assembly, lawmakers are operating under the premise that it is still Thursday.

The procedural maneuver is intended to give Democratic majorities more time to hash out deals on big outstanding legislative debates on topics ranging from redistricting to the minimum wage. The legislative session is scheduled to end on Saturday, but can be (and often is) extended.

Lawmakers in the House and Senate managed to bend legislative time by simply not adjourning on Thursday evening and instead taking a prolonged, overnight recess that allowed them to resume Thursday’s legislative day on Friday morning.

Not long after noon, House Minority Leader Todd Gilbert, R-Shenandoah, inquired of Democratic leaders when his caucus could expect Friday to begin.

Democratic Majority Leader Charniele Herring, D-Alexandria, responded that she couldn’t say for sure, but perhaps later in the afternoon.

In the Senate, Sen. Chap Petersen, D-Fairfax, began the afternoon session at 1:30 p.m. by inquiring, “Is today still yesterday?”

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax confirmed, “Yes, it is.”