The Virginia state Senate is expected to vote Monday on a measure that would weaken a land-use tool used for decades by local governments to get builders to add roads, parks and other improvements to new home developments.
The bill, which calls for placing restrictions on what local officials can ask for in development negotiations, is one of two measures working its way through the General Assembly. A House version of the bill passed 68-27 last week.
Both measures are generating strong opposition from local officials in Northern Virginia, where development deals have helped shape the character of some of the region’s fastest-growing communities.
Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William county officials say that changing the legislation would hamper their ability to negotiate for extra amenities from developers that, in the past, have been crucial to community support for new housing in places like Merrifield or Woodbridge. Officials also argue that amending the land-use tool would open them up to lawsuits if builders whose projects were rejected argued that they were denied because of their refusal to agree to “unreasonable” proffer requests.
Virginia Republicans concoct a highway horror story about I-66 tolls
By Editorial Board
TURN ON the World Series these days and, at the commercial break, you’ll be subjected to an onslaught of political advertising, courtesy of Republicans running for the Virginia state legislature. Like many political ads, these are crass, misleading and pitched toward exploiting voters’ fears — in this case, about the costs of commuting.
The bogeyman invoked to strike terror in commuters is the specter of punishingly high tolls on Interstate 66 in Northern Virginia — specifically $17 tolls, as scary as any Halloween fright. The 30-second spots suggest that Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) plans to impose that levy on all drivers who use I-66, a major artery for commuters in Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun counties.
That’s false. In fact, rush-hour drivers who drive legally on I-66 now — meaning those with at least one passenger — would be untouched by the governor’s plan. They drive the road for free now and would continue to do so.
Dick Black’s statement regarding Senate Bill 722:
There is a Federal Statute that says that if you give in-state tuition to unlawful immigrants then you must give in-state tuition to Americans from other states. It just makes sense that Americans should receive as much consideration as people here illegally. Giving in-state tuition moves illegal immigrants to the front of the line. For every unlawful person who get in-state tuition, there will be an American who can’t go to college in Virginia and that’s unfair. Any time you give something free to a person here illegally, you have to take it from an American.
I would like to see a copy of that law. I find it hard to believe that there is a law stating such bullsh!t.
Thanks to that royal D-bag, Phillip Puckett.
RICHMOND — Republican A. Benton Chafin Jr. won a state Senate seat Tuesday that secured GOP control of the General Assembly, dimming Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s legislative prospects and erasing the last vestige of blue from Southwest Virginia.
Chafin, a freshman state delegate, easily defeated Democrat Mike Hymes to fill the Senate seat that Phillip P. Puckett (D-Russell) abruptly resigned in June. The nonpartisan Virginia Public Access Project (VPAP) called the race shortly before 8 p.m.
The race — potentially the most expensive state Senate contest in Virginia history — was one of four special elections statewide Tuesday. Voters in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads chose Democratic delegates for two empty House seats. And in central Virginia, a town council race put the commonwealth’s new voter identification rules to their first test.
The Senate election was the most important of the day given its impact on Richmond’s upper chamber. Republicans already dominate the House, so the GOP victory in the Senate put the General Assembly fully in the hands of a party that opposes the Democratic governor’s top policy aims.
Time to start counting the anti-abortion bills. Terry McAuliffe, get your veto pen out. Rocky roads ahead.
Little attention was paid up here in Northern Virginia to this critical special election. The state Democrats sure didn’t do their job on this one. I didn’t see one ad, I didn’t get one piece of mail regarding this election. Are the Democrats broke?
The only hope the Democrats have is to pick up a couple of seats in the election Nov. 2015 election. Think that will happen? If I were a betting kind of lady, I would say no.
Senate Republicans on Thursday night used their new majority to pass a two-year budget that eliminates any opportunity for Gov. Terry McAuliffe or a year-old legislative commission to expand Medicaid or a private insurance alternative.
They were backed by House Republicans who said they would not approve the budget — even though Senate Democrats and moderate Republicans had removed an insurance marketplace — unless it included language to prevent any expansion without the approval of the full General Assembly.
The Senate passed the budget on a 21-18 vote. Sen. Lynwood W. Lewis Jr. of Accomack County was the only Democrat who backed the spending plan.
Just before midnight the House of Delegates voted 69-31 to adopt the budget, as lawmakers sought to end a three-month stalemate and address a $1.55 billion revenue shortfall.
The blame for this partisan stupidity cannot even be placed on the Virginia GOP. The blame clearly should be laid at the feet of Virginia’s own Benedict Arnold, Senator Phillip Puckett. Puckett chose his own personal career advancement and that of his daughter over 400,000 Virginians.
There are lots of significant developments in Virginia today. Former Governor Bob McDonnell and his wife Maureen have both been indicted for accepting money and gifts while McDonnell was governor. The charges are federal. McDonnell maintains his innocence.
This situation is very embarrassing for Virginia. While it doesn’t appear that any Virginia laws have been broken, the feds feel that federal law has been violated.
On a happier note, at least for me, Democrat Jennifer Wexton has won the special election for the vacant seat created when Mark Herring was declared winner of the Attorney General race. This win is significant because the Democrats will control the Virginia Senate if Lt. Governor Ralph Northam’s former seat is won by a Democrat. A special election will be held.
“The first time someone shows you who they are, believe them.”
― Maya Angelou
Throughout Virginia’s gubernatorial race, Terry McAuliffe, the Democratic candidate, has cast Cuccinelli as a tea party extremist, incapable of forging the centrist consensus necessary to manage the commonwealth. The portrait has stuck, according to recent polls; McAuliffe appears to be ahead in the race — and Cuccinelli’s conservatism is a leading reason.
For years, he articulated that conservatism in the Cuccinelli Compass, honing a combative political persona and providing opponents with material that has now driven up his negative poll ratings and lifted McAuliffe. At the same time, Cuccinelli has accused Democrats of turning him into a caricature, seeking to scare off voters by distorting and lying about his record as a state senator and Virginia’s attorney general.
The Cuccinelli Compass is where Cuccinelli presented himself as an unbridled firebrand, venting about the “left-leaning media,” “gun-grabbing liberals” and “liberals wigging out” over, say, his proposal to allow employers to fire workers for speaking inadequate English.
A recent Washington Post story explored Cuccinelli’s relationship with the fathers’ rights movement, which seeks to influence state and federal laws to give men a better position in divorce and custody cases. Many fathers’ rights groups have pushed to end or reform no-fault divorce laws, and Cuccinelli did the same during his time in the state Senate.
“2008. Ken Cuccinelli writes a bill to give Virginia among the most extreme divorce laws in America,” says the announcer in McAuliffe’s (D) new ad. “If Cuccinelli had it his way, a mom trying to get out of a bad marriage, over her husband’s objections, could only get divorced if she could prove adultery or physical abuse or her spouse had abandoned her or was sentenced to jail. Why is Ken Cuccinelli interfering in our private lives? He’s focused on his own agenda. Not us.”
Cuccinelli spokeswoman Anna Nix said her boss was proud of his record.
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 Manassas Park and Manassas Sen. Charles J. Colgan— 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.
Have you ever run into a law that you know is for the good but you also feel goes overboard? My common sense tells me this is a good law and that I should hope it passes. My old smoking self jumps into over-drive and starts thinking about those long car trips and how the kids would just have to stay home.
Republicans in Virginia and a handful of other battleground states are pushing for far-reaching changes to the electoral college in an attempt to counter recent success by Democrats.
In the vast majority of states, the presidential candidate who wins receives all of that state’s electoral votes. The proposed changes would instead apportion electoral votes by congressional district, a setup far more favorable to Republicans. Under such a system in Virginia, for instance, President Obama would have claimed four of the state’s 13 electoral votes in the 2012 election, rather than all of them.
A Virginia Republican delegate who led the effort to defeat the nomination of a gay Richmond prosecutor to a post on the general district court defended his opposition to the nomination, questioning how he would rule in the case of a “bar room fight between a homosexual and heterosexual” and added that “sodomy is not a civil right.”
Speaking Thursday on CNN, Bob Marshall said, “You could preside as a district judge for a marriage of two guys if he wanted to, in violation of the law.” He continued, “Moreover, if you have a bar room fight between a homosexual and heterosexual, I’m concerned about possible bias.”
Marshall makes no attempt to hide his bias. He pronounced to CNN: “Sodomy is not a Civil Right.” Marshall immediately proved that he does want government in people’s bedrooms. Does he worry that in that same fight he described, a heterosexual judge might be biased? I believe what we seek in a judge, regardless of level, is for that judge to be impartial.
The Lady Justice is often pictured holding the Scales of Justice while blindfolded. Wikipedia states:
Since the 15th century, Lady Justice has often been depicted wearing a blindfold. The blindfold represents objectivity, in that justice is or should be meted out objectively, without fear or favor, regardless of identity, money, power, or weakness; blind justice and impartiality.
Sideshow Bob Marshall’s attempt to justify his outright prejudice doesn’t fly in Virginia. He might have sealed his own political fate this time. I don’t believe the people of the 13th district are all prejudiced people who ignore a man’s job performance as a prosecutor because of their own bias against gays. Marshall has called attention to himself nationally. The 13th might just have its own Stonewall uprising next election and I don’t mean Stonewall Jackson, if you get my drift.
Marshall’s minions continued to make their political calls and one poor woman was unfortunate enough to get Mr. Howler on the phone yesterday. Mr. Howler launched into his usual diatribe against the senatorial wannabe claiming that Marshall is a single issue voter . The lady tried to tell him that Mr. Marshall wasn’t a single issue voter and that reproductive rights were just part of the Republican platform. Mr. Howler begged to differ. Finally the woman hung up on him before he could even get to the fact that Marshall had embarrassed the state of Virginia by being openly prejudiced against gay citizens. Most of us forget that he is running for Senate. What a joke.
What will Sideshow Bob do for his next act? I am meanwhile thinking of all the money that is going to pour into the 13th next election to defeat Marshall. Whoever runs against him will have money to burn. If I were a king-maker, I would run an Independent actually. That person won’t need party money. Elena, will you be busy in about a year? Carl? Ann?
Further Reading: Michael Paul Williams: A Turning Point in the Gay Rights Movement, Richmond Times Dispatch
Senate approves school EpiPen requirement
The Senate on Tuesday approved legislation that would require local school boards to adopt policies to have EpiPens on hand and for a school nurse or employee to administer to students believed to be having an allergic reaction.
The amended Senate Bill 656 easily cleared the chamber and now heads to Gov. Bob McDonnell for consideration. The legislation, sponsored by Sen. A. Donald McEachin, D-Henrico, was drafted in part as a response to the case of a Chesterfield County elementary school student who died after being exposed to peanuts at school.
It looks like the State is once again involved in medical decisions. Is this a bad bill? What are the dangers of this drug? How do schools get mass doses of a prescription drug? Can a student carry an IpiPen on their person? I don’t know these answers.
Allergies can be run from being annoying to being deadly. The danger with some allergies is that you don’t know if you are dealing with annoyance or if this time it is going to kill. I worked with a man who went down to his apple tree to spray a hornet’s nest. He got stung. He went back to the house, got a Benadryl was at the sink and dropped dead before he could get the pill through his system. His throat simply closed. He knew he was allergic to bees. He couldn’t convince his doctor that he was really allergic. No EpiPen.
Lt. Governor Bill Bolling cast the tie vote giving the Republicans control of the Virginia State Senate. Actually there is a 20-20 split in the Senate. However the tie breaker is the Lt. Governor who happens to be a Republican. Democrats had better take cover. This is a very conservative bunch of Republicans and they have been waiting a long time for this day. All sorts of things that have been held up in committee are going to be coming out, very rapidly.
What changes do you expect to see? Reproductive issues and gun rights are expected to head the list.
Legislation to sell Virginia’s state-owned liquor stores and devote the proceeds to transportation won’t pass this session.
Sen. Mark Obenshain effectively withdrew his measure Tuesday to divest the state of its Alcoholic Beverage Control stores.
Mr. Obenshain, Harrisonburg Republican, said he did it so Republican Gov. Robert F. McDonnell could study the measure, which was a pillar of the transportation funding plan he advanced in his successful campaign last year.
Mr. Obenshain said the bill would await a special session on transportation, should Mr. McDonnell call one, or next year’s regular session.
Mr. McDonnell claimed that selling the state-owned liquor retailers would generate about $500 million for transportation, an estimate many experts question.
Thanks to Chris for bringing this hot off the press story to my attention. I keep hearing that Virginia should not be in the business of selling liquor. It was good enough for those Virginians coming off of Prohibition. It was good enough for our parents, grandparents and great grandparents, If those are Republican values, then keep them elsewhere.
Marinm was kind enough to send me this notice from Senator Mark Obenshain (has to be from Staunton). We all need to give these items some thought. I never understand amendments when I go in to the polls and get blindsided by them:
From Senator Obenshain:
Many voters will be surprised to see three Virginia Constitutional Amendments on the ballot when they vote in three weeks (or earlier if voting by absentee ballot). I write this to provide a quick overview of the three constitutional ballot questions you will see when you vote.
All three amendments address taxation and revenue issues, and all three have passed the General Assembly two consecutive years (with nearly unanimous votes), as is required by the Constitution of Virginia, and they now go before the voters for final approval.
The first ballot question reads as follows: “Shall Section 6 of Article X of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to authorize legislation that will permit localities to establish their own income or financial worth limitations for purposes of granting property tax relief for homeowners not less than 65 years of age or permanently disabled?”
Currently, localities are only authorized to make exemptions for those who bear an “extraordinary tax burden,” or with the express approval of the General Assembly, which occasionally passes legislation authorizing specific localities to afford local property tax relief to senior citizens or the disabled. This amendment, if approved, would allow local governments to make the decision on their own, without going to the General Assembly for approval.
The second ballot question asks: “Shall the Constitution be amended to require the General Assembly to provide real property tax exemption for the principal residence of a veteran, or his or her surviving spouse, if the veteran has a 100 percent service-connected, permanent, and total disability?”
If approved, this amendment would require a statewide exemption from local property taxes for the primary residence of any 100% disabled veteran, provided that the veteran’s disability is service-related. A surviving spouse could continue to claim the exemption so long as the same home remains his or her primary residence, and s/he does not remarry.
Finally, the third ballot question says: “Shall Section 8 of Article X of the constitution of Virginia be amended to increase the permissible size of the Revenue Stabilization Fund (also known as the “rainy day fund” from 10 percent to 15 percent of the Commonwealth’s average tax revenues derived from income and retail sales taxes for the preceding three fiscal years?”
In other words, should we expand the allowable size of Virginia’s “rainy day fund,” to which state government contributes in good years to provide resources for lean years? Currently, the maximum size of the Fund – which is almost empty at present – is 10% of the Commonwealth’s average annual tax revenues from income and sales taxes for the preceding three fiscal years; this amendment would up the maximum allowable amount to 15%.