After Senate Committee Kills Sen. Chase’s Ivermectin Bill, Capitol Police Direct Upset Supporters to Leave

 

Virginia Capitol Police directed upset members of the public out of a Senate Education and Health Committee meeting after the committee killed Senator Amanda Chase’s bill aimed at protecting medical providers who prescribe ivermectin and hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19.

“This bill is about a patient’s right to life. A patient has a right to life and should not be prohibited from potential life-saving medication by a hospital, a pharmacy, or other administrative agency. Patients should be able to make decisions about their care and treatment in conjunction with the knowledge and expertise of their treating physician,” Chase told the committee on Thursday morning.

If passed, Chase’s SB 73 would have banned the Board of Medicine from disciplining licensed health care providers for prescribing ivermectin or hydroxychloroquine for COVID-19.

Many supporters of Chase’s bill were present both in person and on a teleconference used for remote speakers. Committee Chair Louise Lucas (D-Portsmouth) warned Chase that she would give five minutes total for public comment in support of the bill and five minutes total for public comment in opposition.

Dr. Paul Marik was the first to speak, and spoke for most of the five minutes, although Chase tried to interrupt him.

“This is an absolute travesty that the federal government, state hospitals are banning doctors doing what doctors do. Doctors treat patients based on their best clinical judgement, and we should not have state agencies and hospitals telling doctors how to practice medicine,” he said.

With about a minute left, Dr. Sheila Furey also spoke: “It is a travesty that the physicians in this country and in this state are not allowed to practice and give this life-saving medication.”

With time up for those speaking in favor, staff mistakenly called on some people who were also in favor of the bill, including Charlottesville talk show host Rob Schilling.

“It’s time for medical freedom in Virginia,” Schilling said from a remote teleconference before the mic cut out.

There were no members of the public who wished to comment in opposition to Chase’s bill.

Committee member Senator Stephen Newman (R-Bedford) said he was more interested in a different bill that Chase has introduced, focused broadly on physicians’ right to prescribe drugs for off-label use.

Committee member Senator Siobhan Dunnavant (R-Henrico), who is an OB/GYN, spoke in favor of SB 73.

“I will just say: we have recently made medical marijuana available in Virginia, because we believe that there are decisions that can be made between doctors and patients about the risk and the value of medications and how they’re used, and I really don’t think that the state should be obstructing those conversations,” Dunnavant said.

Newman moved to roll SB 73 into Chase’s broader bill, but was overridden when Senate Majority Leader Richard Saslaw (D-Fairfax) proposed passing by the bill indefinitely. The committee voted along party lines, nine to six, effectively killing SB 73.

Lucas asked those in support of SB 73 to leave the committee room to make room for people who wished to speak on other bills.

“My husband is in the hospital right now,” one audience member said before being cut off by Lucas: “I’m sorry ma’am, this bill is passed by indefinitely. Could those of you who are here on that bill please leave the room?”

Somebody in the audience booed. Someone waved a copy of The Real Anthony Fauci. Capitol police directed people to leave the room.

“Senator Lucas you will repay, you will pay for this one day, making a decision that we can’t talk,” an audience member said.

Eventually, Lucas called on Senate Minority Leader Thomas Norment (R-James City) to present the next bill to the committee.

“I apologize up front that I won’t have the excitement you’ve just endured and I’ll cut to the chase very quickly,” Norment said.

Lucas said, “Senator Norment, you know me well, I thrive on excitement.”

Follow Up Remarks on Senate Floor and Social Media

Later, on the Senate floor, Chase spoke about the moment, addressing Lucas, who was presiding over the session because Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears was absent.

“We had multiple speakers, we had doctors, we had pharmacists, the room was packed. The thing that was disappointing to me, and quite honestly Madam Chairman, is that I was embarrassed. I was embarrassed at the way these people who have never been to the capitol before were treated,” she said. “They didn’t understand that there was going to be a total of five minutes to speak, for all fifty of the guests to speak. And I’m going to take responsibility for that because I should know that we have a total of five minutes on that committee.”

Chase said that she spoke with Lucas after the committee meeting.

She said, “I want to thank her for that, because we had a great conversation, and we’re going to bring a similar bill up next week, and I just want to encourage those who came and spoke in favor of those bills to come back, and they are welcome here at the capitol.”

Lucas replied, “And they will still have five minutes.”

Lucas has dramatically increased her Twitter activity since the session began and the new Republican administration took office, and has boasted that she has passed Senator Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) for number of followers. She likens Senate Democrats to a firewall against Republican reversals of Democratic policy.

She tweeted about Chase’s bill, “If you don’t understand how important our Senate firewall is then take a look at this. Prescribing horse meds to people is now a party line vote in the Virginia Senate.”

She added, “One good thing about masks is you can’t see the face I was making while this was being presented. Thanks to my friend in the audience for the picture. Any reporters asking for comment: FIREWALL STANDS in the Senate Education and Health!”

Chase’s SB 711, focused more broadly on off-label medications, is tentatively scheduled to go before the Education and Health Committee on January 27.

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Eric Burk is a reporter at The Virginia Star and The Star News Network. Email tips to [email protected]astarnews.com.
Photo “Amanda Chase” by Virginia Senate. 

 

 

 

 

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One Thought to “After Senate Committee Kills Sen. Chase’s Ivermectin Bill, Capitol Police Direct Upset Supporters to Leave”

  1. John Bumpus

    The Democrats control the 40-member State Senate of Virginia by a margin of 21 to 19 with the presiding officer (the Lieutenant Governor) being a Republican. This is control by the narrowest of margins. Expect more highly partisan ‘stuff’ like this for the next two years from the Virginia Senate. In 2023, all members of the Virginia Senate will face another election.

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