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, …
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'…
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
Sen. Janet Howell voted in favor of the proposal, but the Virginia House and Senate will still have to come together on a comprehensive package.
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. Sen. Janet Howell, who represents parts of Falls Church, McLean, Tysons Corner, Reston and surrounding areas, is on the Senate Finance Committee. In an email to Patch, Sen. Howell said she voted in favor of the bill, along …
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 …
Monday, February 11, 2013
All Falls Church-area delegates voted against the legislation, which passed the House of Delegates and is awaiting action in the Virginia Senate.
Monday, February 11
By Paige Baxter Capital News Service RICHMOND – Home-schooled students in Virginia could participate in public school sports under the so-called “Tebow bill” that has been passed by the House and will be considered by a Senate committee this week. Delegates voted 56-43 for House Bill 1442, which will be heard by the Senate Health and Education Committee Thursday. The bill, sponsored by Del. Robert Bell (R-Albemarle) would require public schools to allow home-schoolers to participate in sports and other extracurricular activities. All of the delegates who represent the Falls Church and the surrounding area voted against the legislation. That includes Delegates Alfonzo Lopez, Bob Brink, Jim Scott and Patrick Hope. Many parents who home-…