A great deal of attention has been paid around the country to alleged voter fraud. Last winter, the Virginia General Assembly considered several different bills to make it harder to vote. Most of these bills failed. A voter ID-related bill passed, however, that changes the way a vote is tallied, or counted, if the voter appears at the polls without an ID. The bill is intended to eliminate "in- person" impersonation of a registered voter. The new law allows the voter to cast a "provisional" ballot if he/she does not have an ID.
Virginia last raised the gas tax from 15 cents to 17.5 cents per gallon in 1986. Today, the per-gallon tax has an equivalent purchasing power of less than 8 cents.
Against the wishes of the General Assembly, Governor McDonnell has completed an “end run,” as one colleague put it, around the legislature and cobbled together a $6 million-plus grant for our own Washington Redskins, one of the most profitable sports franchises in the world. Both D.C.
In order to improve the overly burdensome traffic flow on Richmond Highway (Route 1) through Ft.
In a recent Kingstonian, I reported on some of the controversial issues debated at this winter’s General Assembly session. While the budget and social issues gained widespread coverage, here are several important but noncontroversial bills that may be of interest:
HB 279 provides that any person convicted of a DUI (.08 Blood Alcohol Content, or BAC) will be required to install an ignition interlock device in order to start a car. Under current law, it is required on the second offense, or the first offense if the BAC is .15 or greater.
As the 2011 legislative session comes to a close, it's time for an update on some of the newsworthy issues the General Assembly tackled this year. Virginia made national news again, but it was not because it received another award as the best state for business. It was not for finding a long-term sustainable solution to our growing transportation crisis. Instead, we came under the national media glare for an array of far-reaching social legislation.
I write this as we enter our fourth week in Richmond. It has been very busy. While the two-year budget is being negotiated behind the scenes, an array of hot-button social issues has dominated the debate in the General Assembly. On their way to approval are bills covering voting procedures, abortion, guns, and gay rights. I will write about these issues next month when we know what will be sent to the Governor's desk.
I write this as I prepare for the 2012 General Assembly session, which will be framed by debate over Governor McDonnell's proposed two-year budget. Over my eight years in the House of Delegates, when budget agreements are hammered out in conference committee, I have often sensed broad satisfaction that we did the best we could. I'm afraid however, that Virginia's reputation for sound fiscal management is eroding away.
Responding to, and contributing to, the growth of Northern Virginia over the last twenty years has been the phenomenal evolution of George Mason University (GMU). As the demand for rigorous higher education has grown, the university has risen in stature among those who rank schools. More than 17,600 freshman applications are made each year. Only 7,000 are admitted in order to fill about 3,500 seats—85.7 percent of whom return for their sophomore year.
Congressman Jim Moran, with the help of Congressman Gerry Connolly and Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner, announced the approval of $180 million for the widening of Route 1 through Ft. Belvoir to accommodate the influx of military and civilian personnel serving the new Ft. Belvoir Community Hospital and wounded warrior facilities. Since Congress is not doing "earmarks" currently, this announcement was the result of a competition for funds to serve military bases with hospital-derived traffic. As a senior member of the Appropriations Committee, Rep. Moran, with Rep.