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Ready to rock

The 2016 General Assembly was contentious and a bit rocky.

It had Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment’s stunt that briefly sent the Assembly press corps to the gallery above the floor, making binoculars a necessary piece of equipment to cover the legislature.

It had an unseemly partisan fight over the seating of a Supreme Court justice. Justice Jane Marum Roush, appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe, became the first justice appointed since 1901 not to gain a full term. Just wait until the GOP holds the governor’s mansion and the Dems control the Assembly. Paybacks can come years later.

One bit of the people’s business that didn’t get so much attention provides another reason to call the ’16 session rocky.

We now have an official state rock in Virginia. Yep, with the passage of Senate Bill 352, sponsored by Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath County, Nelsonite is now the official state rock.

Nelsonite, also known as apatite-oxide, was named after Nelson County, Virginia. It looks kind of like granite to the untrained, non-geologist eye.

Longtime readers will recall that last year (“How emblematic,” 6/22/15), this column noted that the official bird of the commonwealth – the cardinal – was missing from the list of “official emblems and designations” in Virginia Code § 1-510. The cardinal had been adopted by resolution, not legislation, in 1950. Good to know there are readers on the hill: SB 352 puts the bird in the list.

Also added to the list was the official tree of Virginia – the dogwood, of course. It had been designated by resolution, in 1956.

And to complete the clean-up of the emblems list, the official “emergency medical services museum,” an outfit called “To the Rescue” in Roanoke, was removed from the list.

Good thing. “To the Rescue” went out of business 10 years ago.

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