Saturday, February 16, 2013
Legislators join activists, fellow lawmakers in Richmond to call for change.
Saturday, February 16
By Amber Galaviz, Capital News Service State officials joined gay rights activists at a press conference Thursday to discuss their disappointment in Virginia's failure to repeal the state's constitutional ban against same-sex marriage in this year's General Assembly session. “I believe that marriage is about loving, committed couples wanting to make lifelong promises to each other – take care of each other, be responsible for each other and support each other,” Del. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) said at the event at the General Assembly Building. “And I think that if anybody – gay, straight – wants to stand up in front of their family and friends and make that commitment to grow old together, it’s not for me, or the judge or the state to …
Friday, February 15, 2013
Senate Committee Kills ‘Tebow Bill’ on Thursday night, but some Patch readers think proposal should be voted into law.
Virginia's Senate Education and Health Committee shot down a bill Thursday that would have allowed home-schooled students to participate in public schools’ sports teams. Committee members killed House Bill 1442 — also known as the “Tebow bill" — on a 7-8 vote, shelving it for the remainder of this legislative session. But should the bill have reached the full Senate floor? In a Patch blog post, Fairfax County School Board member Ryan McElveen highlighted the defeat of the bill as one of the three most important actions residents could advocate for this session as Richmond pressed on with what he called an "educational extremism." The school board voted to advocate against the proposal, McElveen wrote, "because, in short, the bill would …
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 …
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
Bill from Oakton's delegate would overhaul how money is allocated in Virginia.
Wednesday, January 30
By Destiny Brandon, Capital News Service Northern Virginia would get a bigger share of the state’s highway maintenance funds under legislation being sponsored by Oakton's Del. Jim LeMunyon (R-Oak Hill). House Bill 1884 would allocate the funds “on the basis of vehicle miles traveled in each highway construction district compared to vehicle miles traveled in the Commonwealth as a whole.” A subcommittee of the House Transportation Committee voted 3-2 in favor of HB 1884. The bill is awaiting a vote by the full committee. The three subcommittee members who favored the measure are all delegates from Northern Virginia: Republicans Tom Rust of Herndon and Randy Minchewof Leesburg, and Democrat Eileen Filler-Corn of Springfield. Republican …
Legislation modeled after federal DREAM Act moves forward Tuesday.
A bill that would allow certain undocumented students to receive in-state college tuition in Virginia cleared a key legislative hurdle Tuesday night and could see further consideration Wednesday morning. "This has been a very good day for this issue," state Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-Arlington) told Patch late Tuesday. "I'm overjoyed that it's gotten this far. But the fact is that we've got a lot of work to do still. And I'm going to continue working with Republicans and Democrats to hopefully bring this home." The Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce is among those who support the bill so far. Lopez introduced legislation modeled after the federal DREAM Act. Lawmakers on Tuesday combined it with a similar bill put forth by Del. Tom Rust, a …
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Virginia Democratic Caucus says there is no magic bullet for tolls, traffic solutions.
Del. Ken Plum (D-Reston), whose district includes parts of Vienna and Oakton, was among a group of house delegates Monday who spoke out in Richmond about Virginia traffic. Plum called "some of the worst transportation gridlock in the country" and offered bipartisan support to solutions to the problem. "From the north end of the urban crescent in Northern Virginia - with the third- worst commute in the nation - to the southern end at Virginia Beach with the 18th-worst commute, Virginians pay dearly with the lost time, money, and quality of life because of traffic congestion," Plum said at a news conference held by the House Democratic Caucus. Among the goals for the House Democrats: To see a 5-percent wholesale gas tax; giving urban areas …
Monday, January 28, 2013
A $2,500 credit for small businesses employing public university grads is on hold after subcommittee members ask for legislation that would include private colleges.
Monday, January 28
By Michael Shuster, Capital News Service A bill that would have given Virginia small businesses a $2,500 tax credit for hiring the state's public university graduates was tabled by House subcommittee members who said the offer should also apply to graduates of Virginia's private institutions. House Bill 1303, introduced by Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria), would have created an incentive system for small businesses that hired people holding an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from a public institution of higher education in Virginia, giving a $2,500 corporate income tax credit for each new full-time position created and filled after Jan. 1 of this year. Businesses could have claimed the credit after the graduate had been employed for …
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 …
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell tours state Thursday asking for support, says plan could jumpstart several projects in Northern Virginia.
Gov. Bob McDonnell spent Thursday traveling across the state to urge area business leaders and residents to support his “Virginia’s Road to the Future” transportation plan, saying his proposal could help jumpstart a number of projects in Northern Virginia that have seemed to stall. The plan has gotten mixed reviews from some state legislators so far this session, but a new poll from Christopher Newport University showed 63 percent of Virginia voters support McDonnell's plan, which hinges on doing away with the state’s 17.5 cents per gallon gas tax and increasing the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5.8 percent. The poll, released Thursday, surveyed 1,015 people across the state on a number of issues, including the governor's plan. …
State Sen. Janet Howell was a sponsor of bill that would demand background checks at gun shows.
A Virginia Senate bill co-sponsored by Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston) that would close the "gun-show loophole" allowing people to purchase firearms at gun shows without a background check died in committee Wednesday. The committee voted 8-7 to stop SB 1001 from going forward. Howell, whose district includes Tysons Corner and parts of Vienna and Oakton, had touted the bill in several town halls even before the session began, trying to garner public scupport. Tighter gun control laws were also a cause she took on in last year's session. Lawmakers were were unable to work out an acceptable compromise, even after Sen. William Stanley (R-Franklin County) said last week he would work with Sens. Henry Marsh (D-Richmond) and Don McEachin (D-Henrico…