Highlights of Proposed Legislation by Virginia Democrats

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    I’ve been looking through proposed bills by Virginia’s Democratic legislators, and I’ve found a bunch worth highlighting. Here’s are a few, in addition to the ones we highlighted here (HJ 543 by Del. Charniele Herring, SB 747 by Sen. Donald McEachin HB 1488 by Patrick Hope) and here (HB 1813 by Patrick Hope).

    *David Englin has a “Virginia Retirement System Lock Box Amendment,” which “Protects the future solvency of the Virginia Retirement System by preventing the General Assembly from raiding the pension trust fund as a way to balance the budget, as it did earlier this year.” Note that this is not intended as a comprehensive list. In fact, this is mostly meant to kick off a discussion, and to solicit other suggestions for proposed legislation that deserves to be highlighted this year.

    *Englin also has the “Virginia Textbook Accountability Act” (“Fixes the broken process that allowed textbooks containing egregious errors into Virginia classrooms by ensuring that content experts review each textbook and by holding textbook publishers accountable for their products.”), the “Anti-Bullying Responsibility Act” (“Strengthens anti-bullying standards, training, and accountability to improves how school systems ensure a safe learning environment for all students.”), a bill repealing the Marshall-Newman amendment, a bill that prohibits “racial profiling in enforcement of traffic laws,” a cigarette tax increase paired with cuts to the state sales tax on food and on income taxes for people making under $20,000 per year. Great stuff by David Englin!

    *Chap Petersen has several excellent bills, including SB 831 (“limits the power of the Attorney General to investigate state universities over ‘matters of academic research and inquiry'”), SB 832 (“requires all new state-owned buildings to build according to LEED-certified or equivalent standards”), SB 833 (“‘indexes’ our state fuel taxes so they adjust to raise more revenue as usage increases on our state highways”), and SB 836/837/838 (“protect homeowners from false foreclosure documents, while requiring creditors to record their assignments in local land records”).

    *Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple has SB 981, a “Renewable energy sources production tax credit.”

    *Del. Adam Ebbin has HB 2407, to impose a 5-cent fee on “paper and plastic bags used by purchasers to carry tangible personal property from the place of purchase.” Ebbin also has HB 2046, which “Prohibits discrimination in public 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 veteran.”

    *Del. Mark Keam has HB 1566, along with Del. James LeMunyon (R), to “post on the legislative electronic information system (LIS) the recorded committee, subcommittee, and floor votes of each member of the General Assembly on legislation acted upon in each house.” Is this a no-brainer or what?

    *Del. Kaye Kory has several good bills, including HB 1542 (“Income tax, state; renewable energy property and energy audit tax credits”), HB 1544 (“Increases the percentage of Transportation Trust Fund revenues flowing into the Commonwealth Mass Transit Fund from 14.7 to 19 percent”), and HB 1546 (“Makes texting while driving a primary offense”)

    *Del. Rosalyn Dance has HB 1401, providing that “qualified voters may vote absentee for any reason,” and HB 1402, which “Provides that qualified voters may vote absentee in person without providing an excuse or reason for not being able to vote in person on election day.” I also like HB 1854, which “Provides that any mandate on localities shall include a fiscal impact statement and identify the funding source.”

    *Del. Scott Surovell has his intriguing proposed amendment allowing 2/3 of Virginia localities, by population, to block a state law.

    *Also, put HB 1938 (“Changes the Commonwealth’s budget from a biennial budget to a budget covering a single fiscal year”), by Del. Albert Pollard, into the “intriguing” category. I’m definitely interested in hearing more about this one.