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House Democratic Caucus Chair Mark Sickles (D-43) expresses concern over House priorities

Richmond, VA - February 14th marked ‘Crossover Day’ at the General Assembly, where all bills introduced in the House of Del.s must be approved by the close of session in order to move to the State Senate.  This year 1,297 bills were introduced in the House and 603 passed.

This session Del. Sickles has seen four bills and one resolution pass the House of Delegates.  The first bill would allow 70% disabled veterans the ability to purchase disabled fishing licenses.  The second updates the tax code to reflect a previous commissioners ruling.  “Our tax code should be up-to-date, so that no one is snagged by a mistake that could have been avoided,” said Del. Sickles.

Del. Sickles also passed legislation, at the request of Supervisor Jeff McKay (D-Lee), to help Fairfax County go after tax cheaters.  His legislation raises the fee charged to Virginia residents that fail to plate their vehicle in the Commonwealth.  “I see it all the time in Northern Virginia, where people register their car in Maryland, which has no property tax on cars, to avoid taxes here,” said Del. Sickles.  “My legislation will help local tax departments crack down on these cheaters.”

The fourth bill passed by Del. Sickles will help ensure disclosure on online political ads.  Right now, when a candidate buys an ad through Google or Facebook they often cannot fit a disclosure statement.  HB 881 would make it so if the ad cannot fit a disclosure statement then the ad must link to a disclosure statement.  “My bill provides a 21st century solution to this problem,” said Del. Sickles.  “It will prevent people from hiding negative ads, provide sunshine to this new form of advertising and make sure that companies like Google and Facebook can continue to sell these ads.”

“Despite my success at various legislation far too much of my focus has been drawn to divisive social-issue legislation introduced by my Republican colleagues.  This session has seen an unprecedented amount of social legislation, ranging from allowing guns in airports to redefining ‘personhood’ as beginning at conception,” said Del. Sickles.  “During the 2011 elections Republicans campaigned on ‘jobs and the economy’, yet this year the House of Del.s saw more bills aimed at social issues than job creation.”

“I have been appalled at many of the bills introduced this session,” said Del. Sickles.  “Instead of debating how best to address our crumbling road system or invest more into higher education, we spent the first half of session allowing adoption agencies that accept state money to discriminate and forcing women to undergo unnecessary and intrusive medical procedures prior to an abortion.”

“In years past the State Senate has defeated many of these bills, but with the Republicans now in control I suspect many of these measures to become law,” said Del. Sickles.  “When voters gave Republicans the keys to Richmond last November, I don’t think they were expecting them to steer the state to the far-right.”