Posts belonging to Category Virginia General Assembly



Thank you! Delegates Chris Peace and Albert Pollard vote against smoking ban!

Chief Local Idiot Politician Bobby Orrock voted for it.

It’s kinda of sad to see Bob Marshall support the ban, especially given his conservative credentials.

And former Attorney General and current candidate for Governor, Bob McDonnell, released a press statement a couple days stating that he did not support the ban (WTOP). Hey, he might actually get my support this year. Wonders will never cease. :)

The House of Delegates Elections Subcommittee shows Bobby Orrock the door.

Thank God.

As I pointed out a couple days ago, Bobby Orrock’s original version of HB 2642 was a monstrosity which required that anyone, who distributed a voter registration form to a citizen, register with the State Board of Elections (SBE) and provide quarterly reports to the SBE about who conducted voter registration activities and where such activities were conducted at.

Thankfully, the Elections Subcommittee of the of the Privileges and Elections Committee in the House of Delegates unanimously voted to remove that provision, along with a lot more of the bill, leaving only the requirement that registrars check the people currently on the voter rolls with those that are listed as being dead with the Social Security Administration. The subcommittee version of the bill also retains the prohibition on paying people on a per signature basis to solicit signatures on candidate forms or for voter registration forms, which was also part of Orrock’s original bill.

Nice to see that some folks in the General Assembly have some sense.

That’s it, I’m not voting for any Republicans this year…

I don’t smoke, but anyone that supports this crap shouldn’t be elected:

Governor Tim Kaine and members of the General Assembly announce legislation has passed to ban smoking in nearly all of Virginia’s restaurants and bars. Exceptions will only be made for private clubs and restaurants that have a physically separated and separately ventilated smoking area.

I can’t wait until the tax revenue at restaurants and bars plummets. God, I will absolutely love it…

Bobby Orrock wants to suppress voter registration!

At least that’s what can be determined by his sponsorship of HB2642:

Elections; voter registration procedures and revisions; duties of the State Board of Elections with respect to registration procedures; payments for petition signatures or registrations; penalties. Provides various revisions in voter registration procedures: (i) requires proof of citizenship with registration applications effective January 1, 2010; (ii) provides that third-party voter registration organizations must register with the State Board, which shall maintain a list of all registered voter registration drives and post this list on its website, that such organizations must provide quarterly reports to the State Board of all voter registration drives they conducted during that quarter

Let’s break this down, first:

Provides various revisions in voter registration procedures: (i) requires proof of citizenship with registration applications effective January 1, 2010;

Applicants are already required to show that they’re citizens as noted on the voter registration application form [emphasis in original]:

For Registration

If you are registering for the first time by mail, federal law (the Help America Vote Act) requires you to provide identification. To avoid delays, please enclose a copy of one of the following documents that shows your name and address with your application: (1) current and valid photo ID, (2) current utility bill, (3) bank statement, (4) government check, (5) paycheck, or (6) other government document. You can also present this required identification at the polls but may experience delays.

For Voting

Virginia law requires every voter voting in person to show identification or sign a statement, subject to felony penalties for false statements pursuant to §24.2-1016, that the person is the named registered voter.

But now Orrock wants you to provide of a copy of your birth certificate (or naturalization papers) before you can register to vote! I would say that about 10% (or more) don’t have a copy of their birth certificate with them due to whatever causes. Apparently, Delegate Orrock doesn’t think that those people should be allowed to register to vote in this state.

Then you have this part from Orrock’s bill:

(ii) provides that third-party voter registration organizations must register with the State Board, which shall maintain a list of all registered voter registration drives and post this list on its website, that such organizations must provide quarterly reports to the State Board of all voter registration drives they conducted during that quarter

Care to guess how broadly defined a “third-party voter registration organization” is?: “‘Third-party voter registration organization’ means any person, entity, or organization soliciting or collecting voter registration applications, except it does not include a person who solicits or collects voter registration applications (i) from any family or household member, as that term is defined in § 16.1-228, or (ii) pursuant to the provisions of Article 3 (§ 24.2-411 et seq.) of Chapter 4 of this title [relating to general registrars].”

Well, hot damn, that pretty much includes anyone that dares to hand out a voter registration form to anyone (excluding family or household members). Hell, it even includes candidates that happens to have voter registration forms with them while campaigning.

Imagine this scenario: Candidate John Doe is going door-to-door in a community during his campaign for whatever office. He comes across someone who wants to vote for him but isn’t currently registered to vote.

If John Doe happens to say something like, “Well, sir, I happen to have a voter registration form right here!” and gives the citizen a voter registration form, then John Doe would have to go to the State Board of Elections (SBE) and provide them with “the the name of the registered agent and the names of the individuals responsible for the day-to-day operations of the organization, including, if applicable, the names of the organization’s board of directors, officers, or other individuals engaged in similar duties or functions” to register as a “third-party voter registration organization”.

John Doe would then have to provide quarterly reports to the SBE “providing the date and location of any organized voter registration drives conducted by the organization in the prior calendar quarter.”

This bill would essentially criminalize the distribution of voter registration forms unless you want to register with the SBE and provide quarterly reports to them.

Hopefully the voters will show Orrock the door this year…

Heartache at The WaPo: Murderers and rapists stay in prison!

Seriously, why is this paper considered a serious news source anymore?:

Lawmakers and prison advocates say the Virginia Parole Board has virtually stopped granting parole to thousands of inmates convicted of crimes before the state halted the practice more than a decade ago.

Of the 4,500 Virginia prisoners eligible for parole in 2008, about 95 percent were denied early release, which is among the highest rejection rates in the country, according to experts. Many were convicted before 1995, when Virginia adopted a “truth in sentencing” policy that required felons to serve at least 85 percent of their sentences.

State officials say the reason for the small percentage is that most nonviolent criminals have been released in the past 14 years, leaving mainly rapists and murderers who might still pose a threat. In many cases, applications are rejected because of the “serious nature and circumstances of the crime.”

[…]

The issue was brought to the attention of [Senator Chap] Petersen and other state officials by the Virginia chapter of Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants, which advocates for the rights of inmates and their families.

Jae George is a member of the group. Her son, Gary A. Kammeter, was sentenced in 1995 to life in prison in the planned killing of a sheriff’s deputy in Mathews County and the death of a teenage girl in Middlesex County. The girl was shot as Kammeter and a companion were looking for another teenager who had reneged on a marijuana deal, according to media reports.

Wow, commit capital murder and be involved in killing a teenager girl and The Washington Post will treat you as a cause célèbre.

The piece of crap should be lucky he didn’t get the liquid styrofoam treatment [lethal injection]. It sure sucks that a guy that is responsible for two peoples’ death is actually getting the life in prison he was sentenced to. I’m so upset.

If you bother to read the whole story (don’t, it’s a waste of time) you will see that the paper didn’t bother interviewing or seeking comment from any of the murdered deputy’s or murdered girl’s family. But of course not, the real victim here is the murderer!

Gag a freakin’ maggot…

The Richmond Times-Dispatch can’t see the forest for the trees.

Or they’re just incompetent; take your pick.

Consider a recent “news story” from Jeff Schapiro about the recent General Assembly special session. First the intro:

Shame on our short-timer governor, Tim Kaine. How dare he berate the legislature for doing nothing on transportation.

On the contrary, the General Assembly was enormously productive during the six days in June and July it was, ahem, at work.

Belying the perception they are deadbeats, Virginia’s worthies actually passed nearly 120 measures. Some were important — to someone.

Yes, yes, no one cares, details please:

One was essential to making this a truly special session. It allowed legislators to pay themselves about $120,000 — for again ducking a $1 billion problem.

Wow, $120,000, which is only 0.00034% of the state’s budget, and that’s calculating the percentage using FY07 expenditures.

And considering there were 140 legislators working for 48 hours (six days), that’s only $17.86 a hour. (A lot of legislators are lawyers, for example, and would be making a heck a lot more at their office, for comparison.)

Right now, you have a state that spends $35,442,393,597.43 a year in their budget (again, FY07 numbers [Auditor of Public Accounts]). At what point, is enough enough?

From FY03 to FY07, the biggest growth, by percentage, in the Commonwealth’s budget has been in Capital Outlay Projects (126.19% increase), Education (45.57% increase), and General Government (35.78% increase) (Auditor of Public Accounts, different link). Who thinks we can find some cuts in there?

Meanwhile, transportation funding has only increased by 6.69% in the same time period (Ibid).

In the same time period that transportation only increased by 6.69%, the total statewide spending increased by 26.84%.

Back to RT-D:

The House version was carried by Del. Phil Hamilton, R-Newport News, an inartful dodger carrying water for the big companies angling to run, for fun and profit, vast hunks of the Hampton Roads road-tunnel-and-bridge network.

As Christina Nuckols, of The Virginian-Pilot, reminded her readers: Those firms are represented by lobbyists who sit in the privy council of Speaker Bill Howell, ensuring Republicans receive only objective, dispassionate advice on what could prove a giant government giveaway.

Oh my God! Those evil “big companies”!

They have some nerve employing people and giving them a paycheck for work! Those saps that work for those evil “big companies” should just quit, get on welfare, and live off the government.

What’s even worst is that the companies hire people (lobbyists) to represent themselves to the legislature. Those bastards should be executed for using their First Amendment rights.

Remember that hating corporations is #82 on Stuff White People Like.

The legislative calendar included some somber business: bills by Dels. Chris Peace, R-Hanover, and Albert Pollard, D-Lancaster, naming bridges over Interstate 95 in Caroline County for troopers Robert Tinsley Lohr and Robin Lee Farmer, both killed in the line of duty in 1978 and 1981, respectively.

Is that a complaint or what? The renaming of the bridges was requested by the Caroline County Board of Supervisors and Sheriff Tony Lippa. The idea was originally proposed by a private citizen of Caroline County, Roger Cavendish.

Delegates Peace and Pollard, along with Delegate Orrock and Senator McDougle, also introduced a resolution celebrating the life of Mildred Jeter Loving.

Are you going to bitch about that too, Jeff?

How about Bill Howell, et al., introducing a resolution celebrating the life of Fredericksburg Police Officer Todd Bahr, who was killed in the line of duty on June 6th?

Going to bitch about that one too, Jeff?

And there were tributes to war dead. Del. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, and Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, sponsored separate memorial resolutions for Army Lt. Col. Jim Walton, who fell in Afghanistan last month in an attack on his convoy.

Again, is this a complaint?

Veterans of Operation Iraqi Freedom would qualify for special license plates, under a measure by Del. Bill Janis of Henrico. The VMI guy and former naval officer is on the partisan special-ops squad of the House GOP Caucus.

Does that mean the license plate shouldn’t be allowed?

A prospective governor was honored by another. Sen. Creigh Deeds of Bath, running for the 2009 Democratic nomination, introduced a resolution “celebrating the life” of the late Bill Battle. Battle, defeated for the 1969 Democratic nomination, lived in Charlottesville, on the eastern edge of Deeds’ sprawling, sylvan district.

The problem?

The business of the just-adjourned session covers four pages on the General Assembly’s Web site. Some of it is heady stuff — not.

[Blah, blah, blah, blah…]

All are appointments with a $200-per-meeting paycheck. Unlike the other day, maybe the senators will actually earn it.

Okay, I guess that all the preceding was a complaint.

Does anyone notice that this reporter has time to go through and check out every little resolution that the General Assembly dealt with and proceeded to complain about the unimportance of them?

Did he write a story about the transportation bills that were dealt with? No, of course not; those aren’t important.

Is this not the very height of irony?

First, these resolutions probably take about a minute of time in each house of the General Assembly.

Second, while Jeff was tracking down every resolution the General Assembly dealt with, he missed the following:

The Republicans went from wanting (unconstitutional) regional taxes imposed on Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads to offering a no-tax solution: The Republican solution include appropriating money to NoVA and Hampton Roads from airport fees and taxes and port revenues to pay for the transports needs that are partly caused by the airports and port!

Where’s the story about Jeff Frederick’s bill that would give money to localities to pay for their own roads instead of giving money to the monstrosity that is VDOT (HB6025)? That bill didn’t even make it out of the House.

How about the bill that would implement the 2002 Governor’s Commission on Efficiency and Effectiveness that died in the House Rules Committee (HJ6061)?

How about the the great idea for the state to stop paying for roads in subdivisions (HB6041)? Why should I be paying for someone else’s subdivision roads that I and 99.99% of the state will never see or use?

How about the bill that would required an independent audit of the monstrosity-known-as-VDOT (HB6023)? The Senate refused to act on that bill.

RT-D had time to nitpick about every little resolution that was passed by the General Assembly, but couldn’t do their jobs and actually tell the people what did occur during the session.

While I was picking on the Richmond Times-Dispatch, D. J. McGuire was skewering The Free Lance–Black White Hole.

He also took care of another act of outright incompetence by RT-D here.

Don’t forget the tax raising hypocrites on transportation!

The Shad Plank reports:

For all the talk Monday over Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s transportation plan version 3.1, the most telling exchange may have occured between Del. Morgan Griffith and Del. Kirk Cox, two of the most influential voices in the House Republican Caucus.

After the pair criticized Kaine’s plan to levy sales taxes in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia (hits working people too hard) and increase the grantor’s tax (hits the struggling home industry) they were asked by a reporter:

Uh…both Griffith and Cox voted three times for HB3202, which was later ruled unconstitutional since it gave taxing power to unelected bodies. They want to “fix” HB3202 by making the bodies elected, but want to continue to impose (yes, that’s the right word) the following taxes:

Northern Virginia Transportation Authority

The proposed legislation proposes a number of fees and taxes that may be adopted by local governments in the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (the Authority) and paid to the Authority for specified uses. The proposed legislation, if all revenues were enacted on January 1, 2008, would generate $196.5 million in FY 2008 and $409.9 million in FY 2009.

The taxes and fees that localities are authorized to impose are:

Commercial Real Estate tax – 25 percent fair market value
Grantor’s Tax – 40 cents per $100
Motor Vehicle Rental Tax – 2 percent
Original Driver’s License Fee– $100
Transient Occupancy Tax – 2 percent

[…]

Hampton Roads Transportation Authority

The proposed legislation creates the Hampton Roads Transportation Authority, which is to be comprised of local and state elected officials as well as other state representatives. The Authority would be given authority to issue debt, impose and collect tolls, administer contracts, and hire staff. The Authority must be in place by December 31, 2007, and the legislation requires affirmative action by seven localities representing half the population to create. The localities must take action by December 31, 2007, to impose the taxes and fees. The legislation also includes provisions to incorporate the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Commission into the Authority in the future, once current debt obligations on the tunnel have been fully satisfied. The proposed legislation, if all revenues were enacted on January 1, 2008, would generate $84.6 million in FY 2008 and $188.8 million in FY 2009. The taxes and fees that localities are authorized to impose are:

Annual license fee – $10
Initial license fee – 1 percent retail value of vehicle
Vehicle inspection fee – $10
Sales and use tax on motor vehicle repairs – 5 percent
Grantor’s tax – $0.40 per $100 value
Rental car fee – 2 percent rental charge
Commercial real property tax – 0.10 percent fair market value of property
Sales tax on motor vehicle fuel – 2 percent

Notice anything that they’re now railing against? Like a grantor’s tax and sales tax increases in there?

Even funnier is Griffith is so much in love with HB3202 that he voted against repealing the “abusive driver fees” (part of HB3202) two times this last session.

Everyone (e.g., Tim Kaine, Bill Bolling, Bill Howell, et al.) wants to raise your taxes.

First, Tim Kaine’s master plan (via WTOP):

Kaine proposed increasing the titling tax from 3 percent to 4 percent and boosting the registration fee by $10. The governor released details of his plan at a state Capitol news conference Monday.

The governor also proposed increasing the state sales tax by a penny in traffic-clogged northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, with the revenue to be spent only in those regions. He also wants to increase the grantors tax, which is paid by people selling their homes.

Oh, great, the housing market sucks, so let’s increase the tax for selling a house. In one word: brilliant!

Bill Bolling’s and Bill Howell’s (just as scary) master plan (via Virginia Virtucon):

“If we are serious about finding a solution to Virginia’s transportation needs, rather than simply in engaging in another round of political grandstanding, we must keep our focus firmly fixed on solving the main challenge before us – developing a realistic and constitutional framework for providing additional transportation funding in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. To try and expand these discussions to a so called statewide solution is unwise and will jeopardize our ability to find workable regional solutions for Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.

“I look forward to working with the members of the General Assembly to find workable regional transportation solutions for Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. However, I will not support any effort to increase taxes on a statewide basis and I am confident this is a sentiment shared by a majority of Virginia taxpayers.”

I wonder if people in Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia have a similar sentiment that they shouldn’t be taxed (exclusively) as well?

Because, you know, those are the only areas that need transportation funding.

What Bill Bolling is calling for, by the way, is the revival of HB3202 (minus abusive driver fees). From the bill’s fiscal impact statement:

Northern Virginia Transportation Authority

The proposed legislation proposes a number of fees and taxes that may be adopted by local governments in the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (the Authority) and paid to the Authority for specified uses. The proposed legislation, if all revenues were enacted on January 1, 2008, would generate $196.5 million in FY 2008 and $409.9 million in FY 2009.

The taxes and fees that localities are authorized to impose are:

Commercial Real Estate tax – 25 percent fair market value
Grantor’s Tax – 40 cents per $100
Motor Vehicle Rental Tax – 2 percent
Original Driver’s License Fee– $100
Transient Occupancy Tax – 2 percent

Hey, great, he wants to increase the tax on selling homes too. Also, isn’t the transient occupancy tax supposed to go to tourism related stuff (§ 58.1-3819)?

Hampton Roads Transportation Authority

The proposed legislation creates the Hampton Roads Transportation Authority, which is to be comprised of local and state elected officials as well as other state representatives. The Authority would be given authority to issue debt, impose and collect tolls, administer contracts, and hire staff. The Authority must be in place by December 31, 2007, and the legislation requires affirmative action by seven localities representing half the population to create. The localities must take action by December 31, 2007, to impose the taxes and fees. The legislation also includes provisions to incorporate the Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Commission into the Authority in the future, once current debt obligations on the tunnel have been fully satisfied. The proposed legislation, if all revenues were enacted on January 1, 2008, would generate $84.6 million in FY 2008 and $188.8 million in FY 2009. The taxes and fees that localities are authorized to impose are:

Annual license fee – $10
Initial license fee – 1 percent retail value of vehicle
Vehicle inspection fee – $10
Sales and use tax on motor vehicle repairs – 5 percent
Grantor’s tax – $0.40 per $100 value
Rental car fee – 2 percent rental charge
Commercial real property tax – 0.10 percent fair market value of property
Sales tax on motor vehicle fuel – 2 percent

Hey, a two percent gas tax increase, not a two cent increase: $0.06 more per gallon of gas, with the tax increasing every time the base price of gas increase.

It won’t just be Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia, just in this last session of the General Assembly, someone wanted to create another “regional government” that would get to tax the counties in the Richmond area.

Bonds? You don’t have to pay those things off do you?

Oh — you do? You sure? Richmond Times-Dispatch:

Virginia lawmakers are divvying up $1.4 billion in bricks-and-mortar projects and handing an unexpected goody to Gov. Timothy M. Kaine: an appointment to the powerful agency that oversees corporate Virginia.

In unanimous votes, the House of Delegates and Virginia Senate yesterday endorsed a plan to finance through the sale of taxpayer-back bonds 75 construction projects over the next six years.

The bond bill will provide building funds for colleges, mental-health facilities, parks and state offices.

The projects include the purchase of an office tower in downtown Richmond to house the tax department and a replacement for the art deco-era hospital on the medical campus of Virginia Commonwealth University.

Elsewhere, the package includes $110 million to replace Western State Hospital, a state psychiatric facility; and $82 million to improve mental-health facilities.

Repeat after me: $1,400,000,000.00

Delegate Albert Pollard to hold constituent meeting at Caroline County Public Library.

When: Monday, April 21st, 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: Caroline County Public Library.

17202 Richmond Turnpike
Milford, Virginia 22514

(At least according to The Caroline Progress.)


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