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Senator backs down on bar of family members as judges

Virginia Sen. Thomas K. Norment Jr., R-Williamsburg, Wednesday withdrew a version of an ethics reform bill that would have barred immediate family of General Assembly members from being named as judges.

On the Senate floor Wednesday, Norment apologized and said he submitted the no-family-members provision without reading it first.

Norment’s proposal surfaced amid controversy over the bid by Tazewell County Juvenile and Domestic Relations Judge Martha P. Ketron to win a full term on the bench.

Ketron’s candidacy was sidetracked by Norment until he was displaced as chair of the Senate Courts Committee as Democrats took power in the Senate.

Norment cited what he said was an informal Assembly policy of not approving judges who are close family members of legislators. Democrats suggested Norment’s block on Ketron was aimed at getting her father, Sen. Phillip P. Puckett, D-Tazewell, to resign from the Senate.

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