Sunday, April 7, 2013
Virginia's legislature passed an amendment prohibiting some insurance companies from providing abortion coverage.
This week, Virginia’s legislature approved a measure by Gov. Bob McDonnell that prohibits certain health insurance companies from providing coverage for women seeking an abortion. The exceptions to the insurance coverage rule are in cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is in danger. While the new Virginia legislation isn’t as restrictive of abortions as recent legislation passed in North Dakota and Alabama, critics are concerned about the financial effect the legislation may have on a woman’s decision. Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun) said, “Women should be able to make decisions about their own health care without interference from politicians here in the state Capitol.” The Virginia Society for Human Life, an anti-abortion group, …
Monday, April 1, 2013
Significantly more Virginians support same-sex marriage than did in 2006, when Virginia voters passed a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
As nationwide support grows for same-sex marriage, so goes Virginia. Forty-six percent of Virginians oppose same-sex marriage and 45 percent support allowing it, according to a poll from the University of Mary Washington. That’s a marked change from 2006, when 57 percent of Virginia voters approved an amendment to the Virginia Constitution defining marriage as something between one man and one woman. Researchers from Princeton Survey Research Associates on behalf of the University of Mary Washington surveyed more than 1,000 Virginia residents between March 20 – 24 this year, completing the survey just as the U.S. Supreme Court started hearing arguments on two cases related to same-sex marriage rights. Decisions in those cases are pending…
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Bill comes with harsher penalties and makes texting while driving a primary offense.
A bill that would impose tougher penalties on those convicted of texting while driving cleared the state Senate on Tuesday and now heads to the desk of Gov. Bob McDonnell. The bill increases the fine to $250 — up from $20 — for the first texting-while-driving offense and $500 for each subsequent conviction. It also makes texting while driving an aggravating circumstance to reckless driving, and so anyone convicted of such would face a mandatory minimum $500 penalty if they were texting while they were driving recklessly. Texting while driving would also become a primary offense, which means police can stop someone on the suspicion that a driver is texting; current law allows police to charge someone with texting while driving only if they'…
Sunday, February 17, 2013
Virginia voters wishing to cast an absentee ballot would still be required to give a reason. The proposed bill is heading to the Virginia House of Delegates.
A bill designed to alleviate privacy concerns about the absentee voting process could be heard by the full House of Delegates as early as Tuesday. The legislation would still require a person to give a valid reason to vote absentee, but certain personal information would no longer be required on the application. "It's important that we not set up artificial roadblocks to voting absentee," said Democratic Sen. Adam Ebbin, the bill's sponsor. "While some of my colleagues seem to not want to make it easier to vote, I was happy that we are removing an unnecessary roadblock — or, an unnecessary invasion of privacy." The bill is a far cry from no-excuse absentee voting, sometimes called early voting, which would give any registered voter the …
Friday, February 15, 2013
Senate Committee Kills ‘Tebow Bill’ on Thursday night, but some Patch readers think proposal should be voted into law.
- On Patch
Friday, February 15
A bill that would make texting while driving a primary offense with a fine of $250 has received wide bipartisan support.
The Virginia Legislature is vetting a number of bills that would implement harsher texting while driving laws. Last week, the house passed a bill (HB 1907) that increases the fine for the first texting-while-driving offense to $250 upon conviction, and $500 for each subsequent conviction. The current fine is $20. The bill passed the House in a 92-4 vote, and was unanimously supported by the Senate Transportation Committee on Wednesday. Del. Kaye Kory, who represents part of the greater Falls Church area, is a patron. The bill is currently being vetted by the Senate Courts of Justice Committee. The legislation would make texting while driving a primary offense, which means police can stop someone just on the suspicion that a driver may be…
With days left in the 2013 Virginia General Assembly session, legislators are still trying to find common ground between eliminating the gas tax and raising it.
Friday, February 15
By Whitney Spicer, Capital News Service A conference committee of 10 legislators has less than a week and a half to hammer out a compromise between the House and Senate versions of a bill to increase transportation funding in Virginia. The committee was named Wednesday after the Senate passed a version of House Bill 2313 that differs greatly from a proposal approved by delegates last week. The group will have eight Republicans and two Democrats — including McLean-area Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston). Nearby, Fairfax's Republican Del. Dave Albo was also appointed to the group. McDonnell said that if the committee can agree upon “a fiscally responsible plan,” he will sign it into law. The panel must agree on a plan before the General Assembly’…
Thursday, February 14, 2013
A Virginia House subcommittee killed a non-discrimination bill this week.
A Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee this week tabled a bill that would have prevented the state government from discriminating against someone based on their sexual orientation, essentially killing the matter for this legislative session. "What it means is that it's still perfectly legal to fire somebody because of their sexual orientation," state Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, told Patch. Ebbin and Sen. Don McEachin, a Richmond Democrat, were the primary sponsors of the bill, which passed the Senate late last month 24-16. Tysons area legislators Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) and Barbara Favola (D-Vienna) voted for the bill. Most of Virginia's top 25 employers have nondiscrimination policies in place that include sexual orientation, …
House subcommittee rejects Senate amendment to allow Virginia governors to serve two consecutive terms.
Thursday, February 14
By Shelby Mertens, Capital News Service Virginia governors will not be able to serve two consecutive terms starting in 2017, as a House of Delegates subcommittee has rejected the Senate's proposed constitutional amendment that would have allowed it. Sen. Thomas Garrett, R-Lynchburg, introduced Senate Joint Resolution 276. The amendment passed in the Senate on Jan. 28 with a 25-15 bipartisan vote: 16 Democrats and nine Republicans voted for it, while 11 Republicans and four Democrats opposed it. When the Senate resolution “crossed over” to the House this week, however, it ran into trouble. The proposed amendment was assigned to the House Committee on Privileges and Elections. This week, that panel’s Constitutional Amendments Subcommittee …
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
The governor visited Fairfax County on Monday to rally support for his transportation bill, promising some money to reduce fees on the Dulles Toll Road.
Gov. Bob McDonnell made a stop in Northern Virginia on Monday afternoon to urge locals to push their representatives to support his divisive transportation-funding package, which the state Senate is scheduled to vote on again Tuesday. The governor said his proposal, which failed to pass the Senate in a partisan, 20-20 vote last week, would raise about $3 billion for road and transit improvements over the next five years. The bill would eliminate the state’s 17.5-cents-per-gallon gas tax and raise the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5.8 percent. The House last week amended their version of the bill, eliminating a $100 alternative vehicle fee for owners of hybrid cars and prohibiting tolls on I-95 south of Fredericksburg. Senate …