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Bolling stranded in Italy, likely to miss Wednesday's reconvene legislative session

Anita Kumar

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) is stranded in Italy and is unlikely to make it back to preside over the Senate Wednesday when the General Assembly returns for its one-day session, Bolling's chief of staff Randy Marcus said this afternoon.

Bolling's flight from Florence scheduled for Tuesday night was canceled because of the volcano ash from Iceland that has created havoc in trans-Atlantic air traffic. His office has consulted with top United Airlines officials, the National Guard, the Virginia Department of Aviation and charter officials, but has been unable to get a flight earlier than next Tuesday.

"It's a very real possibility he will not be back,'' Marcus said.

The lieutenant governor's office informed Gov. Bob McDonnell and the clerk's office.

The Senate, which Democrats control by a slim 22-18 margin, will take up a number of sensitive topics Wednesday, including an amendment to state budget on abortion funding that could be decided by one vote. Bolling is the tie-breaking vote when he is present.

Sen. Charles J. Colgan (D-Prince William), who as president pro tempore of the senate would preside in Bolling's absence, said he had been informed of the lieutenant governor's predicament and remained hopeful he would make it back to Richmond in time.

"I think if they go the south of Italy, I think he's probably going to make it," said Colgan, a former pilot who founded his own regional airline.

"That's his job and if he doesn't make it, I'll be glad to do it," Colgan said. "But it's his job, and I hope he makes it."

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Colgan, who has cancer and has at times appeared fatigued in recent months, said he was confident he would be able to preside during the session, when the legislature will dispatch amendments to 122 bills and 96 amendments to the budget.

"That's child's play," he said.

Bolling left last week for a weeklong trip to Italy to participate in an economic development symposium.

Bolling, the state's chief jobs creation officer, also met with several Italian officials, but does not plan on talking to any companies interested in relocating in Virginia.

The City of Florence is picking up the travel costs of about $2,000, according to Bolling's office. James Madison University, which has a study abroad program, is housing Bolling. No state money will be spent on the trip.

Bolling's wife, Jean Ann, has accompanied him. The Bollings will pay for expenses that are not related to the participation in the symposium.

By Anita Kumar  |  April 19, 2010; 3:43 PM ET
Categories:  Anita Kumar , Bill Bolling , General Assembly 2010 , Robert F. McDonnell , State Senate  | Tags: Bill Bolling  
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"The Senate, which Democrats control by a slim 21-19 margin"

Seriously Washington Post? Did we choose to ignore the special election of Democrat Dave Marsden last December or just completely forget?

VA State Senate: 22 Democrats, 18 Republicans.

Posted by: antonioeliasiv | April 19, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

It's a shame that Ken Cuccinelli isn't stuck in Europe instead.

Posted by: frenchyb | April 19, 2010 4:59 PM | Report abuse

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