Sunday, April 14, 2013
"No officer, I was just typing directions into my GPS…"
Texting while driving is dangerous, but some people do it anyway. This year, Virginia's General Assembly passed a measure that increased the fine to $125 (it was $20) for the first infraction and $250 for the second. But Virginia legislators did not pass a hands-free measure like they have in the District, and as such enforcing the law could prove difficult. The problem: Using cell phones to dial a number or setting the phone GPS is legal. “Distracted driving is a big problem, but it’s bigger than just phone use,” said Russ Rader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, to the Washington Post. “Even if a law were successful in stopping phone use and texting, it wouldn’t eliminate distracted driving.” Northern Virginia Del. Scott …
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Centreville-area senators Dave Marsden and Chap Petersen voted against amendment that will prohibit certain health insurance companies in Virginia from providing coverage for women seeking an abortion.
Thursday, April 4
By Mark Robinson Capital News Service The General Assembly on Wednesday narrowly approved an amendment by Gov. Bob McDonnell that will prohibit certain health insurance companies in Virginia from providing coverage for women seeking an abortion. McDonnell added the anti-abortion amendment to House Bill 1900, sponsored by Delegate Thomas Davis Rust (R-Herndon). The assembly passed the bill in February to comply with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Under the system, Virginians who cannot afford health insurance will participate in a federally operated health insurance exchange. McDonnell’s amendment will prohibit insurers participating in the exchange from covering abortion except in the case of rape or incest or if …
Thursday, February 14, 2013
Sen. Chap Petersen votes against measure aiming to thwart voter fraud, joining critics who say it will make it harder for residents to vote.
Thursday, February 14
By Michael Schuster, Capital News Service The Senate Privileges and Elections Committee has approved a bill supporters say would help thwart voter fraud — but the proposal's opponents claim it would only make it harder to vote. The committee voted 8-6 along party lines Tuesday for a bill that would limit the number of acceptable forms of voter identification – the types of documents someone must present in order to cast a ballot. Currently, voters can identify themselves by presenting a voter registration card, a driver’s license or various other documents. House Bill 1337, proposed by Delegate Mark Cole (Fredericksburg) would remove utility bills, bank statements and paychecks from the list of documents that would be accepted at polling …
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
The Virginia House and Senate will have to come together on a comprehensive package quickly.
Tuesday, a Senate Finance Committee passed a transportation plan for Virginia that varied from Gov. McDonnell's proposed transportation funding proposal. The Senate Finance Committee plan differs from Gov. McDonnell's proposal in key ways—it raises the gas tax instead of eliminating it, for example. (See the summary of the HB 2313 substitute in the media box at right for additional details.) The plan (which was not itself a bill but does move the discussions forward) passed on a 9 - 6 vote with bipartisan support. In an email to Patch, Sen. Janet Howell, who represents portions of Fairfax County, said she voted in favor of the bill, along with all Senate democrats on the Finance Committee. "The bill has a combination of revenue increases…
Monday, February 11, 2013
Taylor Marrow and Emma O'Brien help draft legislation preventing teens under 15 from using indoor tanning salons and require those older to get parental permission.
Monday, February 11
By Allison Landry, Capital News Service Virginians under age 15 would no longer be able to use indoor tanning salons under legislation moving through the General Assembly. The Senate recently approved Senate Bill 1274, which would prohibit individuals 14 and younger “to use a tanning device at a tanning facility.” Taylor Marrow and Emma O’Brien, students at Centreville High School, brought the issue to the attention of Sen. George Barker and authored the legislation. They testified before the Senate Committee on Commerce and Labor. “Through our research, we found that tanning is not only a carcinogen, but it is also particularly damaging to children and their development,” O’Brien said. The bill would require 15 to 17-year-olds to get …
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Republican-sponsored Senate bill proposed redrawing many districts for GOP edge.
Virginia Speaker of the House William J. Howell (R-Stafford) broke with his own party on Wednesday, using a procedural ruling to stop the Republican-sponsored redistricting plan. The plan might have had a chance of passing the Virginia House if it made it to the floor for a vote, but Howell quashed the bill, clearing the way for the House to concentrate on Gov. Bob McDonnell's transportation plan, The Washington Post reported. State Sen. Dave Marsden was vocal in his opposition to the bill passed by the Senate the day President Obama was taking the ceremonial oath of office, in an interview with Patch calling it a "sad day for the Commonwealth." “I am committed to upholding the honor and traditions of both the office of Speaker, the …
Thursday, January 10, 2013
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
State lawmakers gather Wednesday at Capitol in Richmond.
The Virginia General Assembly convened Wednesday for its 2013 session at the Capitol in Richmond, ready to tackle many hot-button issues before them, such as transportation, school security, gun laws and uranium mining. As they arrived today, lawmakers likely saw several hundred protesting demonstrators on both sides of the abortion debate waving signs 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 …
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
Senators Dave Marsden, Chap Petersen, Mark Herring, and Dels. David Bulova, Tim Hugo, Jim LeMunyon are heading to Richmond for the 2013 session of Virginia's General Assembly.
The Virginia General Assembly will convene at noon Wednesday for its 2013 session. In odd-numbered years, the General Assembly meets for 30 days, with the option to extend the session for a maximum of another 30 days. The General Assembly consists of the House of Delegates with 100 members and the Senate with 40 members. The 140 elected representatives are from an equal number of constituent districts across the commonwealth. Area representatives are: Virginia Senate 2013 Senator Dave Marsden Member since 2010 (delegate from 2006-09); Democrat; District 37: (see accompanying map) Contact Marsden at: email@example.com; 804-698-7537 Twitter: https://twitter.com/SenDaveMarsden Senator Chap Petersen Elected in 2007; Democrat; …
Saturday, January 5, 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, kicked off the proceedings with brief remarks to state legislators. Bulova reiterated the county’s need for transportation funding – money that many folks in Richmond don’t think will arrive – and the restoration of the "cost of competing" salary assistance program …