Howell statement on House resolution on legal counsel

bill howellVirginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) issued the following statement Thursday on the passage of House Resolution 566.

“Today the House of Delegates passed HR566, a resolution authorizing the Speaker to employ legal counsel to defend the laws and Constitution of the Commonwealth, as well as protect the responsibilities, authority and prerogatives of the House of Delegates.

“I am deeply concerned by Attorney General Herring’s refusal to defend the laws and Constitution of the Commonwealth. His actions represent a dangerous threat to separation of powers and the rule of law. I am also concerned by indications that the Governor may be willing to circumvent the law, legislature, and Constitution.

“This resolution will allow me to defend the laws and Constitution of the Commonwealth, including the marriage amendment, and to guard against potential abuses of executive power.

“As with all of the powers and responsibilities of the Speaker’s office, I will exercise this authority judiciously. I intend to use this authority to defend the law and the Constitution, and preserve the legislature’s status and authority as a coequal branch of government whenever necessary.”

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