Recently in VA General Assembly Category

First, I'll start off with a nice wedding picture. Since the radical activists seeking to redefine marriage seem to really appreciate that.

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Now, the reason for my post (better late than never, right?):

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Victoria Cobb, President
Friday, July 27, 2007

Information Alert: Truth be told

Earlier this week, The Ohio state Supreme Court dismissed arguments that Ohio's marriage amendment undermined that state's domestic violence laws (State v. Carswell). I'm sure you vividly remember that opponents of Virginia's marriage amendment attempted to scare Virginians into voting against the amendment by pointing to the controversy in Ohio last fall.

This week's decision reaffirms what we said all during last fall's bitter campaign - the so-called "unintended consequences" arguments used against the marriage amendment were a figment of the opposition's imagination. As was clearly articulated in Attorney General Bob McDonnell's opinion of Virginia's marriage amendment, no one was going to lose a single existing right when that amendment was implemented.

Virginians can rest assured that domestic violence laws in this state will protect them. I hope that Virginians hold in contempt those who took the serious problem of domestic abuse and used the fears of women in crisis to try to accomplish their political agenda.

Marriage Commission

Almost two weeks ago I told you about The Family Foundation's efforts to reduce the divorce rate in Virginia. We recently convened the first meeting of our marriage commission to study the issue. Well, it didn't take long for the story to hit the media. We've been fielding calls for several days, and from media outlets as far away as Seattle, Washington!

Much of the coverage, particularly on talk radio has been less than flattering. It seems that there are many people out there who don't think a 50 percent divorce rate is such a bad thing. Or if they admit its too high, they simply throw up their hands and say that nothing can be done.

Regardless of the naysayers and those who simply criticize instead of seeking solutions, we are going to continue to look at this decidedly complicated issue in an attempt to seek real solutions.

Below is a sample of the media stories concerning the commission:

Va. Foundation seeks to reduce divorces - Washington Post, 7/26/2007
New Commission aims to make divorce harder - Virginian Pilot, 7/22/2007
Family Foundation focuses on divorce - WSET TV, Lynchburg
A marriage made in politics - Roanoke Times Editorial Page, 7/24/2007

Not surprising to see the cornerstone of the anti-Marriage Amendment folks' argument disintegrate. Let's not forget their entire million dollar plus effort was focused on distorting the issue and scaring voters about "unintended consequences" when in truth they were/are simply against the intended and real consequence-- constitutionally protecting marriage from radical redefinition via judicial decree.

I look forward to hearing more from the Family Foundation's Marriage Commission on ways our Commonwealth can support and encourage healthy marriages and prevent family dissolution and more children being raised without a loving mother and father under the same roof.

The Lt. Governor has a fantastic op-ed in the Washington Times today where he hammers Governor Kaine and the Democrats for their lack of fiscal discipline. Below is a juicy excerp:

Unfortunately, Mr. Kaine and the Democrats seem to think that public revenues are inexhaustible, and that it is unreasonable to ask government to prioritize spending like families and businesses must do.

In addition, they seem to think that the public's ability to pay higher taxes is inexhaustible, but it is not. Today, almost 40 percent of the average family's earnings are confiscated by one level of government or another. That is simply too much.

The people of Virginia want something done to address our transportation needs, but they don't support the massive tax increases that have been proposed by Mr. Kaine and Democrats in the General Assembly.

The people of Virginia expect us to use existing revenues to meet our transportation needs before we ask them to pay higher taxes. If the Democrats don't understand that, they will pay a heavy price at the polls this November.

It really makes me sick to listen to Democrats whine and scream that a possible reduction in the rate of growth of some programs (programs that have experienced unprecedented growth for years while transportation funding was basically nonexistent) is a "cut" and stealing money from children, etc. I am thrilled to see Bolling publicly standing up to their arrogance and deceit.

The General Assembly today passed a resolution expressing "profound regret" for Virginia's role in slavery. (The Washington Times article is here.)

I don't get it. One regrets one's own actions, not the actions of others. Did these assemblymen own slaves? Did they pass slavery laws? If they regret being assemblymen of Virginia, then they should resign.

Nothing like this vote to depress the conservative base ahead of Assembly elections...Times like this almost make me wonder why we need Republicans in charge anyway.

If you want to see someone who's obsessed with his own self-importance, NLS is throwing around election predictions like it's raining interns. This would be a totally depressing defeat except for the reminder that we still need to work to defeat NLS, 'Bubbles' Moran, and their bunch of goons.

If this Washington Post story is correct, the bill just passed by the House would, "strip charities and other organizations of state and local funding if any of the money is used to provide services to immigrants in the country illegally."

The clause in question reads, "No state or local funds shall be awarded or otherwise disbursed to any organization when the award or disbursement is made to circumvent the provisions of this section by enabling such organization to provide the type of benefits or assistance to those persons who are otherwise ineligible. Further, no organization receiving state or local funds shall use the funds to provide the type of benefits or assistance to those persons who are otherwise ineligible."

I can certainly see the logic in not spending public money on services to illegal immigrants. However, I do not think that the state should be providing money to any non-profit organizations, because of laws just like this. Once an organization takes the bait of public money, politicians will set the hook and start jerking the line.

This is why I oppose Bush's "Faith-Based Initiative." While Bush may not set the hook, you can believe that a President Clinton would, and force Catholic Charities to hire homosexuals and provide abortion and contraception services in their employee health plans.

Patricia Phillips Campaign Kick-Off

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Patricia Phillips kicked off her campaign for the Virginia 33rd District Senate seat tonight in Ashburn, amidst a huge turnout of over 65 local Republicans and prominent area conservatives.


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The Virginia budget has more than doubled in the past 10 years, and yet Virginia's population has only increased by 12%. Clearly, state government is expanding far too much. It should not take more and more money from hard-working people to fund these ever-expanding programs. And because government will always seek to overspend its revenues, I'm signing the Taxpayer Protection Pledge tonight...

I promise you that I will work to restrain the growth of state government; I'll work to hold state government responsible for their core responsibilities, and especially when it comes to roads...

Governor Kaine and Senator Herring insist that we need a dedicated revenue source for roads. Using code words like "dedicated revenue sources," when you really mean tax increases, is really hogwash. Taxpayers already pay "dedicated revenue" taxes. It's called the gas tax and the state income tax. In order for the state government to fund over $1 billion in new road construction takes only 3% of the state budget, and so all we really need is for the General Assembly to reprioritize their spending.



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The signed pledge certificate was handed to Sandra Fabry, State Government Affairs Manager of Americans for Tax Reform.


Also present were Morton Blackwell and James Na of the Arlington-based Leadership Institute.


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Phillips' supporters were thrilled by the "who's who" turnout of local political and policy luminaries, but most encouraging was the sheer number of activists - many of them young - signing up to work for and contribute to the campaign.


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Who else was there tonight? Check below the fold.

Check out this WSJ article, found over at Elephant Ears.

From the Family Foundation:

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Victoria Cobb, President
Friday, January 19, 2007

Information Alert: Marriage Amendment Repeal Defeated

Voters are famous for having short memories, but opponents of the marriage amendment are taking that old cliche to extreme. Fortunately, legislators tend to remember what happened in the last election.

Today the House Priveleges and Elections Committee scored another victory for the protection of marriage in the Commonwealth and killed two bills that were efforts to undo the marriage amendment you helped pass last November.

HJ 678, patroned by Del. Adam Ebbin (D-49, Arlington), would have allegedly answered opponents to the marriage amendments' concerns over "unintended consequences." The bill would have added a line to the amendment. Without discussion this bill was rejected.

HJ 721, patroned by Del. David Englin, (D-45, Alexandria), was a bill that would repeal the just recently passed marriage amendment that went into effect January 1, 2007. In the debate Del. Bob Marshall (R-13, Manassas), stated the bill was not needed as the voters of Virginia have overwhelmingly resolved the issue.

Fifty-seven percent of Virginians rejected the claims of marriage amendment opponents and voted to protect the definition of marriage. Frankly, to bring these bills up just weeks after the vote is an insult to the 1.3 million Virginians that voted for the amendment.

We are thankful to the members of the P & E committee who quickly dismissed these bills.

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With the Commonwealth coming off of the successful passage of the freshly minted Virginia Marriage Amendment, we all should be grateful for the strong support it received from both our Attorney General and Lieutenant Governor. It was great to see both of these Republican leaders come out swinging despite the well-funded deception campaign orchestrated by the anti-Marriage Amendment crowd (our other statewide official, Governor Kaine, lacked similar courage and quickly broke his campaign promise to support the amendment). Coming off this experience, it is hard for me, as a conservative, to fathom having to choose between these two leaders in the battle for the GOP's 2009 gubernatorial nomination.

However, if some recent stories are true the choice may be becoming a bit clearer. Spank That Donkey and Bearing Drift have posts up discussing purported meetings involving the Attorney General focused on generating a "compromise" on transportation funding that involve yet again raising taxes on Virginia families despite the massive surplus available. Meanwhile, Lt. Governor Bolling has clearly remained true to his principles and campaign promises and is pushing the General Assembly to address the transportation issue without raising our taxes. The most comprehensive MSM coverage of this development seems to be the Washington Times article, which states:

As the General Assembly began its session, some Republicans -- with the backing of Attorney General Robert McDonnell, House Speaker William Howell and Senate Finance Committee Chairman John Chichester -- have been meeting to discuss a transportation "compromise" that could include tax increases.

For more background on this and on Bolling's solid opposition to a tax hike, please see these other articles found here, here, here, and here.

As a resident of Northern Virginia I am (unfortunately) well aware of our troubled transportation system... and it is good that both men are speaking to this issue. That said, the problem is not one of revenue but one of spending (as Bolling rightly points out)... and when we have $1 billion in surplus state funds lying around and we had a massive tax hike just a few years ago the last thing the General Assembly should be doing is talking about raising taxes some more! Adding to our already significant (more so now thanks to Governor Warner's broken promises) tax burden when there is a large surplus and ongoing simultaneously efforts to create major new spending programs (see Kaine's universal pre-K proposal) will not help me get off of I-66 or I-495 and home to be with my family any quicker.

Bolling's unwavering position appears to be quite a contrast with McDonnell's apparent association with the Senate Overlord's tax hike proposal... especially when taken into consideration along with McDonnell's support for the 2002 tax hike referenda (which somehow I didn't know about until recently... how did I miss that?). Is the AG undermining his principled low-tax position? I certainly hope this is all simply flawed information... maybe McDonnell would be interested in coming online and quelling our concerns by participating in a Northern Virginia live-blog session similar to the one the Lt. Governor did just a week or so ago?

UPDATE: It appears some sort of transportation deal has been reached (see here and here). More soon...

UPDATE II: From the AG's office:

Statement of Attorney General Bob McDonnell on Transportation Announcement

“The Republican leadership in the General Assembly has crafted a comprehensive, long-term solution to improve our transportation systems in the Commonwealth. This plan combines statewide funding and accountability proposals along with regional options for Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia. This is a transportation plan that invests more money into transportation than proposed by the Governor, without a statewide tax increase, and requires new system reforms and spending cuts. Leadership is about finding common sense solutions and the House and Senate Republican leadership has crafted a plan to address the most significant public policy issue facing the Commonwealth.”

“While no compromise plan is perfect, there are major elements of this plan that are very positive. The long-term commitment of 50 percent of the state surplus, as well as hundreds of millions in general fund dollars to transportation is a decision that demonstrates Republicans understand the importance of transportation to the economic future of Virginia. Locking up the transportation trust fund is a move I have long called for, and it will restore trust in transportation spending. Issuing bonds in a time of low interest rates to start long delayed projects is a proactive step that will produce results promptly for the people of Virginia. Enacting major reforms to improve the effectiveness at VDOT, to revise Virginia’s land use policies, and to implement long term spending and accountability programs are forward-thinking achievements. Using surplus money to jumpstart public-private partnerships is an excellent idea to promote market-based solutions. The regional self-help options provided to the congested areas of Hampton Roads and Northern Virginia honor the Republican principle of local decision making and subsidiarity. It allows for progress on transportation as determined by the needs of local elected officials. These plans collectively repeal approximately $800 million in local income tax revenue authority, and replace it with authority of approximately $600 million in revenues. The proposal produced today provides the transportation solution Virginians have been calling for, while avoiding an unnecessary statewide tax increase in this time of budget surpluses. This is a conservative plan that will work for Virginia.”

“Forbes’ magazine has ranked Virginia the most business-friendly state in the country, while ‘Governing’ magazine has ranked us as the best governed state. With Republican leadership, we have a state with one of the highest per-capita incomes, and lower per-capita tax rates. To keep this distinction, we must lead and produce results for our citizens. Improving transportation is an economic issue, and it is a quality of life issue. Congested roads hurt Virginia businesses, and they keep parents stuck in traffic instead of home with their children. The failure to find solutions to our transportation problems imperils our future prosperity. Virginia Republican leaders have acted in a cooperative and diligent manner to create a comprehensive transportation plan. I congratulate the Republican legislators for their effort and support their work.”

Interesting to note the Attorney General repeatedly says this plan is "without a statewide tax increase."

Cuccinelli Announces Legislative Agenda Top Initiatives Are Transportation, Development Control

Centreville, Virginia, January 8, 2007 – Senator Ken Cuccinelli (R-37) today announced his top legislative initiatives for the 2007 General Assembly session. Cuccinelli said he will be introducing over two dozen bills this year.

Four of these bills address two of Northern Virginia’s most pressing issues: transportation and development growth. “I share the frustrations of every daily commuter who travels 20 minutes to get to a grocery store three miles away and every parent who spends hours a day in traffic,” Cuccinelli said. “My bills are designed to address the three most pressing problems in transportation and land use planning,” the Senator explained. “Northern Virginia needs additional sustainable transportation funding, localities need additional ways to control development and taxpayers need to know that money the General Assembly commits to transportation is actually used to improve our traffic situation.”

If his transportation legislation passes, Cuccinelli said that localities would finally have the right to reject denser development if it would negatively impact local transportation networks, the transportation trust fund would be constitutionally protected and a HOT lanes network would reduce congestion on our worst roads.

Cuccinelli also highlighted his initiatives addressing public safety and mental health system reform. Working with the local police union, Cuccinelli has introduced the Police Officers Bill of Rights for the second time.

And, if a minor is stopped for a traffic violation, use of a cell phone at the same time would become an additional offense under new legislation being introduced this year. The Fairfax Senator is also introducing several pieces of legislation designed to improve the mental health services delivery system. Cuccinelli’s bills would reduce the burden of juvenile mental health cases on our juvenile and domestic relations court by authorizing the appointment of special justices, the same system Fairfax used until a bureaucratic decision was made 15 months ago to force judges to address these matters. Additional legislation would make it easier for individuals with serious mental health needs to get necessary treatment.

More bills from the Fairfax Senator are designed to combat identity theft and protect private property owners from abuse of the state’s eminent domain authority. Cuccinelli is also co-patroning legislation with Senator Devolites Davis to remove any Virginia Retirement System investments from companies that support the genocidal Sudanese government. Cuccinelli explained that he is introducing several additional pieces of legislation requested by constituents, including bills to protect the rights of disabled drivers, help small business owners, and reduce fees for adoptive parents.

Cuccinelli invited all constituents to contact his office in Richmond about legislative concerns at district37@sov.state.va.us

Check out the Senator's campaign website for more information and to sign up to support his re-election efforts in 2007.

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