Sunday, April 14, 2013
"No officer, I was just typing directions into my GPS…"
Texting while driving is dangerous, but some people do it anyway. This year, Virginia's General Assembly passed a measure that increased the fine to $125 (it was $20) for the first infraction and $250 for the second. But Virginia legislators did not pass a hands-free measure like they have in the District, and as such enforcing the law could prove difficult. The problem: Using cell phones to dial a number or setting the phone GPS is legal. “Distracted driving is a big problem, but it’s bigger than just phone use,” said Russ Rader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, to the Washington Post. “Even if a law were successful in stopping phone use and texting, it wouldn’t eliminate distracted driving.” Northern Virginia Del. Scott …
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Fairfax City Sen. Chap Petersen voted against amendment that will prohibit certain health insurance companies in Virginia from providing coverage for women seeking an abortion.
Thursday, April 4
By Mark Robinson Capital News Service The Virginia General Assembly on Wednesday narrowly approved an amendment by Gov. Bob McDonnell that will prohibit certain health insurance companies in Virginia from providing coverage for women seeking an abortion. McDonnell added the anti-abortion amendment to House Bill 1900, sponsored by Delegate Thomas Davis Rust (R-Herndon). The assembly passed the bill in February to comply with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Under the system, Virginians who cannot afford health insurance will participate in a federally operated health insurance exchange. McDonnell’s amendment will prohibit insurers participating in the exchange from covering abortion except in the case of rape or …
Tell us what you think.
Over the weekend Patch asked for opinions on new voter identification laws in the Commonwealth. The story garnered more than 350 comments. Virginia voters will need a photo ID when they're heading to the polls beginning in 2014 under new requirements signed into law by Republican Gov. Bob McDonnell. Democratic say the law are a form of voter suppression - that many Democratic voters, particularly seniors and college students, do not have a photo identification. For more local news, make sure to follow us on Facebook and Twitter! The new law will need approval by the U.S. Justice Department, a requirement for any voting changes in most Southern states because of a history of voter suppression. If approved, McDonnell has called for free …
Thursday, March 21, 2013
Barker spoke to Democrats at the Greenspring Retirement Community in Springfield on Wednesday.
Virginia Sen. George Barker (D-39th) says that the 2013 Virginia General Assembly session was a success, due in large part to the passage of a transportation bill that will bring $800 million in annual revenue to the Commonwealth. “The transportation bill will provide tremendous revenues to help us move forward long-term,” said Barker, who spoke 85 Democrats at the Greenspring Retirement Community in Springfield on Wednesday morning. House Bill 2313 will generate $880 million in new revenue for state roadway projects. Fairfax County, under the transportation bill, will see $47.6 million annually and the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority will receive $111 million from increased taxes. The bill also guarantees $300 million for …
Friday, March 15, 2013
The bill will generate $880 million for statewide transportation projects, and Northern Virginia is guaranteed a piece.
The recently passed Virginia transportation funding bill isn't perfect, but it was reached through compromise - that was the message conveyed Tuesday night by local members of the Virginia General Assembly to the South County Federation. "The bill is pretty bullet proof," said Del. Dave Albo (D-42), a House representative on the transportation bill conference committee. "And if the money is not use for roads, the bill stipulates that all the revenue sources cease to exist… There's going to be some things in there you don't like, there are some things I don't like. It's not a perfect plan." The transportation bill will generate $880 million in new revenue for state roadway projects, and Fairfax County will see $47.6 million annually and …
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Puller says Gov. McDonnell appears to be backing out on his agreement with Senate Democrats on Medicaid expansion.
Tuesday, March 12
During the final week of the General Assembly Session this year, the Virginia State Senate Democrats worked with Governor Robert McDonnell to reach a compromise to pass a transportation plan - a plan that is funded in part by funds not yet appropriated from Congress. Funds unlikely to ever materialize for Virginia. In return for the Senate Democrats’ votes for the transportation plan, the Governor signed an agreement on Medicaid expansion. We thought this agreement was made in good faith. We are disappointed that Governor McDonnell appears now to be backing out on this agreement, choosing to pacify the right wing of his party instead of working for the health and well-being of our Commonwealth. In a letter to the Obama Administration, …
Friday, March 1, 2013
Medicaid expansion would provide for more than 400,000 Virginians to have health care and provide some 30,000 jobs.
The Virginia State Senate passed a transportation plan after Governor Robert McDonnell agreed to sign off on a Medicaid expansion conference committee to come up “with a concept to ensure that significant reforms are attained prior to any potential expansion of Medicaid.” The committee will be made up of five members of the House of Delegates who serve on the House Appropriations Committee and five members of the Senate Finance Committee as well as the Secretaries of Finance and Health and Human Resources. At least three members of the House and three of the Senate members on the Committee must vote to approve the recommendations. The two secretaries will be ex-officio, non-voting members. Medicaid expansion would provide for more than …
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Final budget amendments includes $3.4 million to add 1,700 in-state undergraduate seats at Virginia universities.
Tuesday, February 26
by Jessica Dahlberg, Capital News Service As the 2013 legislative session ended, the Virginia General Assembly approved amendments to the state’s two-year budget Saturday that included expanding Medicaid and spending more money on education. The amendments were passed by both the House (on an 83-17 vote) and the Senate (31-8) after tense discussions over Medicaid, which provides medical care for low-income residents. Legislators agreed to expand the program if certain reforms are made. Del. Barbara Comstock (R-McLean) was the only Vienna-area legislator to vote against the budget. See vote tally below. The reforms will make Medicaid look similar to non-government health insurance policies, according to legislators. Under the reforms, …
Monday, February 25, 2013
Sen. Janet Howell calls compromise — expected to raise $880 million a year for roads and mass transit —"truly the best we're going to get."
Monday, February 25
By Stephen Nielsen, Capital News Service A divided Virginia Senate passed Gov. Bob McDonnell’s bill to overhaul the state’s system for funding transportation. Just hours before the end of the session on Saturday, the Senate voted 25-15 for House Bill 2313, which will raise about $880 million a year more for roads and mass transit by increasing sales taxes while lowering the fuels tax. The debate over how to increase revenue continued right up until the vote. Here's how Chantilly-area Senators voted: Voting for it were: Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd), Sen. Dave Marsden (D-37th), Sen. Mark Herring (D-33rd). Voting against it was: Sen. Chap Petersen (D-34th) “This isn’t any bill. This is the only bill,” said Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment…
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Virginia senators say GOP redistricting plan is unconstitutional; Republican legislators say proposal helps the state better comply with the Voting Rights Act.
Thursday, January 24
By Mark Robinson, Capital News Service Virginia Democrats continued to call a Republican-backed plan to redistrict the state's Senate seats unconstitutional on Wednesday — but GOP leaders say the measure could actually help the Commonwealth better comply with the federal Voting Rights Act. After Republicans narrowly passed a bill Monday that included an amendment to redraw the lines of several state senate districts, the result of which in many cases was more seats with GOP-leaning voters, Democrats took to the Senate floor Tuesday to blast the measure, calling it unconstitutional. In remarks on the Senate floor on Monday, the bill's sponsor, Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, said the move would create a sixth majority-African American …