Wednesday, April 3, 2013
Sen. Chap Petersen (Fairfax City) introduced the bill, which will make it easier for local officials to enforce a growing number of zoning violations across Fairfax County.
A new Virginia law will make it easier for localities to prosecute the renters behind illegal boarding houses. Gov. Bob McDonnell signed the bill, SB 894, into law in March, giving local officials the power to issue summons and fines directly to renters, leasers or subleasers for zoning violations. Sen. Chap Petersen introduced the bill. "Unfortunately illegal boarding houses have become a problem in Virginia,” Petersen said in a statement. “What this law means is that if you have an illegal boarding house in your community, law enforcement can go directly to the person living in that home and breaking the law." In Virginia, no more than four unrelated people are legally allowed to live in a single-family home. But last year NBC …
Sunday, February 24, 2013
Sen. Chap Petersen spoke out against the bill earlier this year.
Sunday, February 24
By Stephen Nielsen, Capital News Service A divided Virginia Senate on Saturday passed Gov. Bob McDonnell’s signature issue of the 2013 legislative session – a bill to overhaul the state’s system for funding transportation. Just hours before the session’s end, 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 to the vote. Fairfax-area Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax) voted against it. “This isn’t any bill. This is the only bill,” said Senate Majority Leader Thomas Norment, R-Williamsburg. He said it’s the only way to provide the revenue Virginia’s transportation…
Friday, February 22, 2013
Virginia Sen. Chap Petersen speaks out against police power in bill headed to governor's desk.
Friday, February 22
Editor's Note: Written by Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax). One of the biggest public safety concerns over the past few years has been “texting while driving." There have been countless accidents, including fatal ones, caused by foolish people who send texts while operating a moving motor vehicle. It’s hard to think of a more dangerous activity. As with all public safety problems, the General Assembly of Virginia has the answer. Or at least an answer. In 2010, we outlawed “driving while texting” and made it a civil infraction. As noted before in this column, that was a mistake. By establishing a lesser penalty for “DWT,” we essentially removed that activity from the list of “reckless”driving offenses. So drivers who caused a fatal …
Friday, February 1, 2013
Virginia Sen. Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) leads charge against proposal, which now goes before the House.
Friday, February 1
By Shelby Mertens, Capital News Service Starting in 2017, Virginia voters could have the opportunity to re-elect the governor to a second consecutive term if the House joins the Senate in seeking to amend the state’s Constitution. The Senate this week approved a proposed constitutional amendment to allow governors to serve two terms in a row. The vote was 25-15. The resolution now moves to the House of Delegates, where its fate is uncertain. “I’m not real optimistic about its chances, but I think it’s the right thing to do,” Sen. John Miller (D-Newport News) said. "We ought to give the voters the opportunity to decide whether a governor should keep his job and be re-elected." Virginia is the only state that does not allow governors to …
Virginia Senate bill prohibits smoking in a vehicle when carrying kids aged 15 or younger.
Friday, February 1
By Paige Baxter, Capital News Service The Senate today passed a bill to prohibit smoking in a vehicle when a child under 15 is present. Senators voted 30-10 for the bill, which now goes to the House of Delegates for consideration. All Democrats — including Oakton's senators Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) and Janet Howell (D-Reston) — supported the bill, along with half of the Senate Republicans. Under Senate Bill 975, proposed by Sen. Ralph Northam (D-Virginia Beach and Norfolk), people who violate the proposed law would face a civil penalty of $100. On the floor of the Senate, Northam said the legislation was inspired by a third-grader who told Northam his parents smoke in the car with him. “It will protect our children and improve their …
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Del. Mark Keam votes for the amended package, which would eliminate Virginia's gas tax and hike sales taxes to raise $3 billion over five years.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s controversial transportation bill passed the House of Delegates Finance Committee on Wednesday, moving past its first hurdle in the state's 2013 General Assembly session. In a 14-8 vote along party lines, the committee passed McDonnell’s package, which calls for eliminating the state’s 17.5 cents per gallon gas tax and raising the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5.8 percent. The plan would also keep the 17.5 tax on diesel fuel and increase vehicle registration fees. It would also raise the amount of the state’s sales tax that goes to transportation from 5 to 75 cents over a five-year period. McDonnell said the bill would raise approximately $3 billion in that time, including $1.8 billion for new construction…
Saturday, January 26, 2013
Petersen: Republican effort to end winner-take-all system is 'anti-Democratic'
A Republican-led effort to end the Old Dominion's traditional winner-take-all approach to picking a president has drawn national attention and could weaken the influence of voters in urban areas like Northern Virginia. The bill, authored by state Sen. Charles Carrico, a Galax Republican, would divvy up electoral college votes based on who wins each of this state's 11 congressional districts. Carrico has said that the current system casts aside the wishes of rural voters and that his bill is an attempt to even the playing field, according to the Roanoke Times. More broadly, proponents in the GOP say the new system would better reflect the popular vote. The bill heads to the full Senate Privileges and Elections Committee next week. Gov. Bob …
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Virginia senators say GOP redistricting plan is unconstitutional; Republican legislators say proposal helps the state better comply with the Voting Rights Act.
Wednesday, January 23
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 …
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Tie vote sends part of senator's proposal to restore voting rights of felons to full Virginia Senate committee.
Tuesday, January 15
By Sam Isaacs, Capital News Service RICHMOND – A Senate subcommittee tied 3-3 Tuesday on proposed constitutional amendments — including one proposed by Sen. Chap Petersen (D-34th) — to restore the voting rights of nonviolent felons who’ve completed their sentences. The vote occurred in the constitutional amendments subcommittee of the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee. The tie vote is adequate to send the matter to the full committee for consideration. The subcommittee considered constitutional amendments proposed by Democratic Sens. Chap Petersen of Fairfax, Louise Lucas of Portsmouth and Donald McEachin of Richmond. The panel combined the measures and then voted on them. Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and other officials spoke …
Monday, January 14, 2013
At town hall in Vienna on Saturday, residents push for early voting, more online options.
Though it's January, the long wait times at Fairfax County polls in November's election are still a fresh memory in many voters' minds. When Sen. Chap Petersen asked the more than 100 residents at a town hall meeting Saturday in Vienna who among them stood for hours in hopes of casting a ballot, hands flew into the air — and calls to improve the process came with them. One way Petersen is hoping to prevent such long wait times, which plagued polling stations across the state in the 2012 General Election, is SB739, which would require there be at least one voting device for each 500 registered voters in a precinct, instead of the current 750 voter standard. Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova has already called for a …