Believe it or not, Virginia Delegates and State Senators are already introducing legislation for the upcoming session, which runs from January 8 through March 8, 2014 (60 days in even-numbered years; 30 days in odd-numbered years). Some of this legislation appears innocuous, inoffensive, and not particularly earth shattering. Other proposed legislation ranges from abysmal to excellent. Here are a few that jumped out at me so far.
*Yep, crazy Del. “Sideshow Bob” Marshall has been reelected yet again, and he’s back yet again with his monomaniacal war on contraception. HB 18 (requires HMOs, insurers, etc. who offer health insurance policies “be required to offer a policy, contract, or plan identical in all respects except that no such coverage [for contraception] is included”); HB 19 (“no individual or group accident and sickness insurance policy, individual or group accident or sickness subscription contract, or health care plan for health care services shall provide coverage for contraception methods, sterilization procedures, abortifacient drugs or devices unless the subscriber or enrollee in the policy, contract, or plan requests such coverage”); and HB 20 (“no health insurance plan, regardless of whether such plan consists of self-insurance, purchased insurance, a combination of purchased and self-insurance, or the use of a health maintenance organization, offered by the Commonwealth or any locality to its employees or by any agency, department, division, or institution of the Commonwealth or any locality authorized by law to offer such a plan to its employees is required to include coverage for contraception methods, sterilization procedures, or abortifacient drugs or devices.”). Cuckoo! Cuckoo!
*Republican Del. Ben Cline also makes the abysmal list, with his absurd HB 3, which would mandate that the bipartisan transportation bill passed last year – with the support of Republican House Speaker Bill Howell, I might add – expire on July 1, 2014. This is beyond brain dead, as no matter what you think of the transportation bill, there is Z-E-R-O chance that it will be repealed by the General Assembly, let alone that such a repeal would be signed into law by Gov. McAuliffe. Total waste of time and brain cells (if any were expended in drafting this drooling idiocy).
*I strongly doubt that Republican Del. Tim Hugo cares about the dispute over what the Sea of Japan (which most Koreans believe should be named the East Sea) is labeled as in Virginia textbooks, yet he’s introduced HB 11 which “Requires all textbooks approved by the Board of Education to note that the Sea of Japan is also referred to as the East Sea.” What next by Del. Hugo, legislation requiring that the Persian Gulf also be called the Arabian Gulf; that Myanmar also be called Burma; that the Falkland Islands also be called the Islas Malvinas; that the West Bank also be called “Judea and Samaria?” What a complete waste of time and money.
*I need to find out more about this bill by Republican Del. Chris Stolle (“Allocations within highway construction districts“), but I don’t trust it as far as I can throw it. How much do you want to bet that this is simply a way to ram through more sprawl-inducing road construction at the expense of pedestrians, bicyclists, and transit?
*Democratic Sen. Adam Ebbin has introduced SJ1, which would repeal “the constitutional amendment dealing with marriage that was approved by referendum at the November 2006 election.” The sooner this abomination is out of Virginia’s constitution, the better.
*Sen. Ebbin and Del. Scott Surovell have both introduced legislation to repeal the “$64 annual license tax on hybrid electric motor vehicles that was first imposed beginning July 1, 2013.” This never should have been in the transportation bill to begin with, nor should it ever be, as it penalizes people simply for doing the right thing – buying more fuel efficient vehicles. Why not slap a tax on pollution-spewing gas guzzlers (gigantic SUVs, Hummers, etc.) instead?
*Republican Del. Greg Habeeb makes this list, for his HB 7, which “Provides for the automatic restoration of the civil right to be eligible to register to vote to persons convicted of nonviolent felonies (excepting felony drug and election fraud crimes) upon completion of sentence, including any term of probation or parole, and the payment of all restitution, fines, costs, and fees assessed as a result of the felony conviction.” This should passed unanimously, but I bet it won’t be, as most Republicans these days appea more intent on SUPPRESSING peoples’ right to vote (e.g., by inventing fictional “voter fraud” and garbage like that), rather than enhancing it.
So that’s my list for now; I’m sure it will be growing rapidly in coming weeks. Stay tuned!