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 …
Thursday, January 31, 2013
Del. Minchew supports proposal to overhaul how money is allocated in Virginia.
Thursday, January 31
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 Del. Jim LeMunyon (R-67). 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, including Del. Randy Minchew (R-10), who represents Leesburg and parts of Ashburn. Tom Rust (R-86) and Eileen Filler-Corn (D-41) also pushed …
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
On 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, Leesburg State Sen. Mark Herring also moves to repeal 2011 bill on women's rights, speaks at abortion rights rally.
Wednesday, January 23
By Katherine Johnson, Capital News Service As he joined abortion rights supporters on the state Capitol grounds Tuesday to mark the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision, State Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun) looked ahead to the future of women’s rights in Virginia with a bill he hopes will repeal Targeted Regulations Against Abortion Providers (TRAP) laws enacted in 2011. A crowd of a few hundred gathered to listen to Virginia legislators in support of women’s rights on the anniversary of the the landmark case that decided a woman’s right to privacy includes the right to have an abortion. Among them: Herring and fellow Democratic Sen. Barbara Favola (D-31st), whose district includes Great Falls and Potomac Falls …
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 22, 2013
Some politicians, activist groups decry Monday proposal that could redistrict five Democratic senate districts.
Virginia’s State Senate narrowly passed a bill Monday night that could change the map of senate and house districts across the state. The Senate bill, which squeezed through with a 20-19 vote, shifts the districts of five senate Democrats—three representing Northern Virginia—toward more Republican-voting areas. (See a map of the proposed redistricting in the media box to the right.) Under the proposal, the districts of John Edwards (D-21st) Dave Marsden (D-37th), George Barker (D-39th), Chuck Colgan (D-29th) and John Miller (D-1st) would all change. None of those senators represent Loudoun now, nor would they if the bill is approved. Virginia’s legislature last redistricted House and Senate districts in 2011. Republican Sen. John Watkins (…
Monday, January 14, 2013
Leesburg's Del. J. Randall Minchew among those who support bill, which would elevate penalty for texting while driving to include possible jail time and up to $2,500 fine.
A bill introduced in the Virginia General Assembly would make texting while driving a more serious offense — and the penalties upon conviction would be up to one year in jail and up to a $2,500 fine. It's not the first time such a measure has been proposed. But advocates say a recent court ruling that differentiates texting while driving from reckless driving should give them the support they need to get the bill through the General Assembly this year. "There's usually about 10 texting bills a year, and they usually all get killed," said state Del. Scott Surovell. "This year, something's going to change." State Del. J. Randall Minchew (R-10th), whose district includes Leesburg, has signed on to support the House bill, which would …
Friday, January 11, 2013
Lawmakers gather at Capitol.
The Virginia General Assembly convened Wednesday for its 2013 session at the state Capitol in Richmond with lots of 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 demonstrating outside of the Capitol. According to Richmond Sunlight, the 100 members of the House of Delegates have filed 1,153 bills; 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 Governor…
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Virginia governor's proposed $3.1 billion transportation overhaul gives higher percentage of sales tax to projects, leaves tax on diesel in tact.
Wednesday, January 9
By Mark Robinson, Capital News Service RICHMOND – With the General Assembly set to convene, Gov. Bob McDonnell proposed Tuesday increasing Virginia’s sales tax and abolishing its nearly 27-year-old gas tax, making Virginia the first state in the country to do so. The measures are a part of the governor’s proposed $3.1 billion plan to fund improvements to Virginia’s transportation system over the next five years. The funds would supplement $14 billion of transportation projects already under way in the commonwealth, the most in Virginia’s history. “Declining funds for infrastructure maintenance, stagnant motor fuels tax revenues, increased demand for transit and passenger rail and the growing cost of major infrastructure projects …