The 2013 legislative session will be a fast-paced and busy six weeks. While there will be the annual attempt to find reliable long-term funding sources for transportation, other interesting bills will keep us on our toes. Implementing the Affordable Care Act to meet unique Virginia conditions, and considering bills to restructure incentives for electrical utilities to build and utilize more renewable sources of energy are two time-consuming issues. The following are a couple of items I am working on:
Charter schools are public schools that perform missions that cannot be, or are not being, provided by your neighborhood school. The charter school movement has grown over the years, especially in urban school systems. These schools have obviously not taken hold in Fairfax County for a couple of reasons I will describe. I am not an expert by any means, and will welcome your views on this subject.
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.