Bolling Memorandum on Breaking Ties in the Virginia Senate

Virginia Lieutenant Governor Bolling has issued this ruling on his power to break deadlocks in the Virginia Senate. In brief, Bolling concludes that his power to vote includes organizational matters such as determining rules of procedure and voting on officers. However, he also finds that he lacks the power to vote on final passage of certain matters, such as appropriations bills, tax bills and state constitutional amendments, for which the Virginia Constitution requires the vote of a “majority of the members elected to each house.” The Lieutenant Governor, Bolling reasons, is not an elected member of the Senate and therefore cannot break ties on a final vote on such matters.