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A Few Good and (Really) Bad Bills Prefiled for 2011 General Assembly Session

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As usual this time of year, Virginia legislators are gearing up – and prefiling legislation – for next year’s session, which begins on January 12, 2011. Also as usual this time of year, there are some really good and really bad bills that have been prefiled by members. Here’s a short list, a few good ones followed by some really bad pieces of…er, legislation.

On the positive side, there’s HJ 543 by Del. Charniele Herring (D-46th), providing for a constitutional amendment that “{a}uthorizes the General Assembly to provide by law for the restoration of civil rights for persons convicted of nonviolent felonies who have completed service of their sentences…” That seems like an obvious one that everyone should support, but something tells me Republicans will find a reason not to. Then there’s SB 747 by Sen. Donald McEachin (D-9th), which “{p}rohibits discrimination in state employment based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, sexual orientation, or status as a special disabled veteran or other veteran covered by the Vietnam Era Veterans Readjustment Assistance Act of 1974, as amended.” That one also seems like a no-brainer, except of course for the Bob Marshalls of the world, who will go ballistic that GLBT people can’t be discriminated against. Finally, Del. Patrick Hope (D-47th) has prefiled HB 1488, which would prohibit the use of “restraints on any prisoner who is pregnant during labor, transport to a medical facility, delivery, or postpartum recovery unless…there is a compelling reason to believe that the prisoner poses serious harm to herself or others, is a flight risk, or cannot be reasonably restrained by other means.” Again, that seems like a no-brainer, which probably means it won’t happen.

Now, on to the bad, the ugly, and the truly heinous category. For starters, check out the following three “Sideshow Bob” Marshall (R-13th) specials: 1) HB 1398 (prohibits the governor “from enforcing any climate change international agreement until such agreement is part of an international treaty that has been approved by the U.S. Senate”); 2) HB 1397 (“Exempts any residential building or manufactured home in Virginia from being subject to federal “cap and trade” legislation if such buildings comply with the Statewide Uniform Building Code.”); and 3) HB 1440 (makes “unborn children” the equivalent of “persons” under Virginia law). Then, there’s our friend, Del. Dave “Abuser Fees” Albo (R-42nd) and his anti-illegal-immigrant crusade (HB 1420, HB 1421 and HB 1430). Oh, and check out Del. James LeMunyon (R-67th) and his  call for a constitutional convention in order to propose an “amendment that permits the repeal of any federal law or regulation by vote of two-thirds of the state legislatures.” Oh joy.

Anyway, those are just a few of the good and bad bills prefiled for 2011. I’m sure there will be a lot more of both coming soon, so stay tuned…

  • DanielK

    To see how Bob is going to word his “I hate military gays and lesbians” bill (aka DADT for the Virginia National Guard).   Let’s see if he can humiliate Virginia even more than he and his party has done over the last year.

  • I’ll be writing about some of these bills later, but let me give you one good one and one bad one.

    good:  Del. Jim Scott introduced a bill, HB 1413, to finally change the fuel tax to a percentage rate instead of the flat rate.  This is one of the only realistic transportation funding solutions we’ve seen in the past year.

    bad:  Del. Tim Hugo, with HB 1412, wants to change the laws so that people who sell cars only have to report water damage if it’s over $3500.

  • robsmithiii

    Sideshow Bob re: energy standards for residential buildings:

    http://leg1.state.va.us/cgi-bi

    I thought this quote was particulary damning:

    “The bill also prohibits a state agency from assisting any federal agency in the implementation of global warming or climate change legislation.”

    Bob Marshall has some gall.  I bet he thinks he’s some sort of rough-rider cowboy (a la George Allen).