Today’s General Assembly Quote of the Day is unique and an instant classic. It is the product of the House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Agriculture, which early this evening considered HB 1430, the “Right To Farm Act,” one of the most highly anticipated bills on the entire General Assembly docket this year.
In the General Assembly Building’s incredibly cramped 5 East conference room, perhaps intentionally scheduled there to depress a turnout of Tea Party types, with people from all over Virginia spilling out in the hallways, and with the pro-Right To Farm Act witnesses already over the 15 minutes of allotted time he himself instituted for each side, sub-committee chairman Delegate Danny Marshall (R-14, Danville) allowed 10-year-old Dylan Stefl, who stood patiently raising his hand, to step forward and add his comments to the intense, but thoughtful, debate over the bill.
The young man approached the committee members table, pulled out his script, and stared at it for a few seconds. Sensing nerves and trying to put him at ease, Delegate Marshall said, “Why don’t you start with your name?” To which the young man snapped:
“I’m getting to THAT!”
After the room recovered from several seconds of laughter and applause, the bill’s patron, Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-31, Woodbridge), told the red-faced chairman to another burst of laughter:
Mr. Chairman, sounds as if you’re out of order!
The bill, also known as the “Boneta Bill” after Fauquier County farmer Martha Boneta, who faces massive court costs defending her right to sell products and host activities on her own farm, also testified. After Dylan’s testimony, full of historical facts and a Hollywood-like pleading to pass the bill met with huge applause, an emotional Boneta gave him a huge hug. Alas, after the opponents’ 15-minute piece and several more minutes of discussion by sub-committee delegates, the bill was pared down to a temporary compromise. It will be carried to the full committee where further negotiations between several factions remain, and its future still uncertain.