Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Narrowly passed surprise legislation would shift Marsden's 37th District, mainly into Prince William County.
Surprise legislation proposed and passed Monday by Virginia's Senate — which would redraw some of state senate district lines in favor of Republicans — make it "a sad day for the Commonwealth," said State Sen. Dave Marsden (D-37th) on Tuesday morning. Virginia's Senate Republicans tacked on the redistricting proposal as an amendment to a larger bill, saying the move would help better represent African Americans in some of the state's districts. But opponents of the measure — introduced by Sen. John Watkins (R-10th), who represents a district west of Richmond — say it was an "underhanded" way to give Republicans a senate majority: The state Senate is currently split between Democrats and Republicans; some say the end result would leave …
Saturday, January 12, 2013
Gov. Bob McDonnell wants to raise transportation revenue, but is this a good solution?
Saturday, January 12
Dear Editor, It is disturbing to me that Delegate Tim Hugo and Gov. Bob McDonnell have considered to propose a bill charging Hybrid owners a $100 annual fee. This will directly, and ultimately, negatively impact Virginia's economy by decreasing the demand for hybrid cars and promoting the purchase of cars that are not environmentally friendly. As a Citizen of Virginia and an environmentally conscious consumer I purchased a Toyota Prius C last year. I’m a young professional in the Northern Virginia area producing and editing viral web videos and I direct the annual Clifton Film Fest. I saved up for a long time to put down money and buy this specific car. I knew hybrids were more expensive than the average car, but I was also aware I’d save…
Thursday, January 10, 2013
It's going to be a busy session.
The Virginia General Assembly convened Wednesday for its 2013 session at the state Capitol in Richmond with lots of hot-button issues before them such as transportation, school security, gun laws and uranium mining. As they arrived, lawmakers likely saw several hundred protesting demonstrators on both sides of the abortion debate demonstrating outside of the Capitol. According to Richmond Sunlight, the 100 members of the House of Delegates have filed 1,153 bills and the 40 members of the Senate have filed 597. The 140 elected representatives are from an equal number of constituent districts across the commonwealth. The House of Delegates is presided over by the Speaker of the House. The Senate is presided over by the Lieutenant Governor of…
Governor lays out proposals, challenges in speech to state lawmakers.
Transportation funding, teacher raises and restoring rights to non-violent offenders were a few of the topics explored Wednesday night by Gov. Bob McDonnell in his State of the Commonwealth speech at the Capitol in Richmond. "The Virginia General Assembly has met in this building for 220 years — the Speaker was just a young boy during that first session," the governor said, grinning at Speaker Bill Howell (R-28th) seated behind him. "I ask that you not conclude this session without approving a long-term transportation funding plan for Virginia," said McDonnell to members of the General Assembly in the House Chamber. "Do not send me a budget that does not include new transportation funding. We are all out of excuses. We must act now." "We …
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Virginia governor's proposed $3.1 billion transportation overhaul gives higher percentage of sales tax to projects, leaves tax on diesel in tact.
Wednesday, January 9
By Mark Robinson, Capital News Service RICHMOND – With the General Assembly set to convene, Gov. Bob McDonnell proposed Tuesday increasing Virginia’s sales tax and abolishing its nearly 27-year-old gas tax, making Virginia the first state in the country to do so. The measures are a part of the governor’s proposed $3.1 billion plan to fund improvements to Virginia’s transportation system over the next five years. The funds would supplement $14 billion of transportation projects already under way in the commonwealth, the most in Virginia’s history. “Declining funds for infrastructure maintenance, stagnant motor fuels tax revenues, increased demand for transit and passenger rail and the growing cost of major infrastructure projects …
Sunday, January 6, 2013
Fairfax County residents gathered Saturday for a four-hour hearing.
Human services funding was a major talking point Saturday during a public hearing before Fairfax County’s delegation to the Virginia General Assembly. About 70 residents and stakeholders gathered at Fairfax County Government Center to speak during the nearly four-hour hearing, advocating for programs including family services funding, the Northern Virginia Training Center and Medicaid expansion, among others. Sharon Bulova, chairman of the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors, reiterated the county’s need for transportation funding – money many lawmakers in Richmond don’t think will arrive, and the restoration of the "cost of competing" salary assistance program that helps the county to attract and recruit teachers. In Gov. Bob McDonnell’s …
Friday, January 4, 2013
House of Delegates speaker says review likely to come on laws restricting gun ownership for the mentally ill.
Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William Howell (R-Stafford) told WTOP he expects the 2013 General Assembly to review restrictions on gun ownership for the mentally ill and proposals for increased school security. Howell also said Connecticut has stricter gun laws than Virginia. But "it goes way beyond gun control," Howell said, referring to the killings at Sandy Hook. The General Assembly meets for 30 days in odd-numbered years, with an option to extend annual sessions for a maximum of 30 days, according to the General Assembly website. This year's session begins on January 9. Related Stories on Gun Control and School Security: Virginia Educators Rebut Governor's Interest in School Staff Carrying Weapons NRA Calls for 'Armed Security…
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Virginia officials doubt Fairfax County will get money for transportation projects in 2013 legislative session.
As officials sat down Tuesday to discuss priorities for the legislature’s fast-approaching 2013 session, the county’s widely publicized road funding woes—a $3 billion need for road projects and improvements over the next decade—took center stage. The county faces a $300 million per year funding shortfall for the next 10 years. But nobody is quite sure where the money will come from. And at Tuesday's joint meeting of county supervisors and representatives from the Virginia State Senate and General Assembly, tidings were grim. “I honestly don’t expect a transportation bill to pass this session,” Del. Vivian Watts (D-39th) said. The Commonwealth’s Secondary Road Program, from which the county used to get $29 million annually, is dry. The …
Monday, December 10, 2012
Sen. Dick Saslaw says it's tough to get a bill offering more controls on guns through the Virginia General Assembly. Sen. Adam Ebbin agrees.
Trying to get more stringent gun control legislation through the Virginia General Assembly is something of a losing battle, according to at least two state lawmakers representing Northern Virginia. Sen. Dick Saslaw (D-35th) lamented that he’s tried multiple times to tighten up Virginia’s gun rights, but to little avail. He told audience members of a state legislative forum held at Alexandria’s City Hall that three years ago he introduced a bill after a man shot and killed two police officers before shooting and killing himself. Saslaw said in response, he introduced a bill making it illegal in Virginia to bring a gun onto police grounds. The Senate then narrowed that measure by making it illegal to bring a gun into a police station. House …
Tuesday, February 28, 2012
An amended mandating ultrasounds to women seeking abortions passed the Senate on Tuesday
In a vote mostly along party lines, the Virginia Senate passed a watered-down version of the controversial ultrasound bill that mandates women receive an ultrasound before getting an abortion, The Washington Post reported Tuesday. The bill once required an ultrasound in every case, even those in the first trimester that typically include a vaginal probe. But a backlash last week from protestors in Richmond, late-night comedians, and the national media prompted Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) to ask for amendments to the bill that would exempt transvaginal ultrasounds. "The Senate amended the bill to exclude women who have reported to law enforcement that they are victims of rape and incest," according to the Post. "But they excluded women who know…