Monday, October 20, 2008

Redpath Endorsed by Veteran Democratic Legislator

A news release from the Redpath for Senate campaign notes that Theodore V. Morrison, Jr., a former member of the Virginia House of Delegates (he represented Newport News from 1968 through 1989) and a former member of the State Corporation Commission (1989-2007), will formally endorse Bill Redpath, the Libertarian candidate facing former Governors Jim Gilmore and Mark Warner, at a meeting in Richmond this evening. As a legislator, Morrison was once considered to be one of the most powerful members of the General Assembly, culminating in the chairmanship of the House Finance Committee. His nickname was "the Bill Killer."

When Morrison was first elected to the General Assembly, Virginia still had multi-member House districts. According to the 1977 Almanac of Virginia Politics, he represented House District 49 with Lewis Archer McMurran, who had first joined the House of Delegates in 1948, and Alan A. Diamonstein who, like Morrison, was in the class of 1968. (In a stunning upset in 1977, McMurran was defeated in the Democratic primary by Robert Scott -- now known as U.S. Representative Bobby Scott of the Third Congressional District.) Let me note that, as a result of both redistricting and the application of single-member districts to the Virginia legislature, House District 49 is now in Northern Virginia (Arlington County and the City of Alexandria, where it is represented by Delegate Adam Ebbin). That is also the same district where I sought election to the House of Delegates in 1991 and 1993.

The 1977 Almanac reported:

Theodore Morrison, as a member of the Courts of Justice committee, concentrates on the law and order issues. Crime is a big issue in this district and State-wide. He introduced numerous bills dealing with criminal procedures, such as provisions for handgun reporting by dealers and penalties for felons and misdemeanants on bail or recognizance who fail to appear. Neither bill passed. Passed were provisions dealing with search warrants, appointment of counsel for indigents charged with felonies, and disorderly conduct. Morrison also sponsored a bill to create a Juvenile Justice Information System which passed.
The 1981 edition of the Almanac of Virginia Politics added this information about Morrison's record:
Morrison has introduced a number of bills pertaining to arrest procedure and courtroom procedure. A 1979 bill, which passed, gave juvenile judges the right to order the parents of children in trouble to participate in certain programs to help rehabilitate their youngsters.

In 1980, Morrison wanted to give police the authority to attach devices to phones which would record the phone numbers called. The authorization, which would have been used for criminal investigations, was not approved by the General Assembly. Also killed was a Morrison bill to grant gas-tax refunds for gas used by race cars.

Morrison introduced a bill to tighten the Freedom of Information Act and called for a limit on the amount of money each legislator could spend on postage. Both passed.
By 1987, Morrison was representing a single-member district (House District 93) within the City of Newport News. The Almanac of Virginia Politics published that year had a much more extensive profile of him, which reported:
Ted Morrison has represented the city since 1968 and is one of the most powerful members of the House. In 1983 he became Chairman of the House Finance Committee, and he has previously chaired the House Chesapeake and Its Tributaries Committee and the Virginia Code Commission. He is second in seniority on the House Courts of Justice Committee, and he is a close friend and ally of Speaker A.L. Philpott.

Morrison is a defense attorney who is very well respected for his fine tuned legal expertise and his knowledge of the state code. Known by his colleagues as "The Bill Killer," Morrison considers himself to be an independent thinker whose duty lies frequently in preventing passage of bills he considers to be abominations.

One of his proudest accomplishments was the creation of the Intermediate Court of Appeals, a ten-member court established in January of 1985 to relieve the backlog of cases before the Virginia Supreme Court.

Morrison sponsored probably the most controversial bill of the 1985 session -- a bill which would have required teenage girls considering abortions to have either the consent of their parents or the consent of a judge before undergoing the procedure. His bill passed the House, but was amended in the Senate to substitute the approval of an "independent doctor" rather than a judge. However, this version was unacceptable to Morrison, and the bill did not pass.

He very quietly created a storm of controversy in Newport News right after the 1986 session ended. During the session he sponsored and passed a bill requiring all cities in Virginia (except Virginia Beach) to own their courthouses rather than lease them. His actions thwarted plans of the Republican-dominated City Council to lease a courthouse from a developer as part of the Newport Centre downtown development plan and saved the city's taxpayers a great deal of money. The city had planned to lease a building for one million dollars a year for seven years, with an option to buy at the end of that time, yet the building would cost only $6 million to build.

Morrison was a key budget negotiator during the special Transportation session of the General Assembly. Although he was not a supporter of increasing the sales tax, he worked closely with the Commission and the Governor to put together the revenue package. Hampton and Newport News will benefit greatly from the completion of Highway 664, an express connector which will give these two cities more direct linkage to Suffolk.
Here is the news release from Bill Redpath's campaign about Morrison's endorsement of the Libertarian Senate candidate:
Former 20-year Member of Virginia House of Delegates to Endorse William Redpath, Libertarian for US Senate

William Redpath, the Libertarian Party nominee for US Senate in Virginia in 2008, will be endorsed for that office by Theodore V. Morrison, Jr., a 20-year former conservative Democratic Party member of the Virginia House of Delegates and former Chairman of the Virginia State Corporation Commission.

The endorsement will occur on Monday, October 20, at 7:30PM, at the meeting of the Libertarian Party of Richmond, at the Legend Brewing Company, 321 W. Seventh St. in Richmond. A business meeting at 7PM will precede the endorsement.

Mr. Morrison will be endorsing Mr. Redpath due primarily to the candidate’s proposal for a Flat Tax to replace the complicated and deduction & credit-riddled individual and corporate income taxes in the United States. A Flat Tax would likely increase savings and stimulate entrepreneurism and economic growth in the United States.

Other positions of Mr. Redpath can be seen on his website,
(Click the graphic above to see the snapshot profile of Theodore Morrison from the 1987 Almanac of Virginia Politics.)

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