With the Virginia General Assembly (mercifully) done for 2015, I thought I’d list a few bills that are awaiting action by Gov. McAulife. Note that the following is just a short list, I’m sure there are a LOT more bills that Gov. McAuliffe should amend or veto. Also note that a ton of progressive legislation died in subcommittee, or in conference committee, or wherever, many times without even a recorded vote. That’s a topic for another diary…
HB 1318 Absentee ballots; photo identification required for submission of application. : Was opposed by almost every Democrat, and for good reason. This is simply a bill aimed at making it more difficult for people to vote, for absolutely no good reason, other than the mythical “voter fraud” the Republicans keep talking about, but never providing evidence it actually exists. Recommendation: VETO
HB 1400 Budget Bill: How aggressive does Gov. McAuliffe want to be in improving a bill, that as Del. Scott Surovell explained, does “not include enough money for pre-kindergarten programs, teacher raises or health care for the mentally ill.” Nor does it expand Medicaid, of course. Recommendation: AMEND or VETO
HB 1752 SOL; Bd. of Education prohibited from adopting revisions that implement Common Core State Standards: 15 Democrats voted against this in the State Senate, and two others (Dance and Puller) likely would have, but they were not present for the vote. Bottom line, this is a crazy bill by a far-right-wing legislator (Dave LaRock) and should be deep-sixed by Gov. McAuliffe. Recommendation: VETO
lots more on the “flip”
SB 1237 Senate districts; adjustments: This incumbent protection bill by Bryce Reeves has been excoriated by newspaper editorial boards, and for good reason, as a proposal that mocks democracy in Virginia. Recommendation: VETO
HB 324 Virginia Virtual School; established, report, effective date.: Basically every Democrat voted against this horrible idea from our pals at ALEC. For more on how bad this is, check out Special Report: The profit motive behind virtual schools in Maine. Recommendation: VETO
HB 1626 Students receiving home instruction; participation in public school interscholastic programs: Almost every Democrat voted against the so-called “Tebow Bill.” As Sen. Chap Petersen explained: “there are consequences in life, when you make decisions. If you choose not to attend the local high school, there is a consequence – you don’t get to play for its team. That only makes sense; especially when you consider that high school athletes have class attendance and grade requirements.” Recommenation: VETO
HB 1879 Coalfield employment enhancement; coal tax credits: Unless we want a dead planet, we should not be subsidizing this environment-killing fuel. Period. Recommendation: VETO
SB 948 Concealed handgun permits; sharing of information: Why on earth would we not want to require that “information on concealed handgun permittees in the Virginia Criminal Information Network shall not be shared with law enforcement in states that do not have reciprocity agreements with Virginia for the carrying of concealed handguns?” Stupid. Recommendation: VETO
SB 1349 Electric utility regulation; suspension of regulatory reviews of utility earnings: This one needs to be heavily amended, as per the suggestions laid out here (e.g., “include MANDATORY renewable energy portfolio standards for Virginia-only solar energy generation as you promised during your campaign, and provisions authorizing community solar projects and power purchase agreements through third-party financing of rooftop solar, then send the bill back with those provisions”). Recommendation: Heavily AMEND UPDATE: Unfortunately, it looks like McAuliffe went ahead and signed this deeply flawed bill without amending it. Very disappointing.
HB 1608 Local government; prohibits practices that would require contractors to provide benefits: So, instead of raising the minimum wage this year, we’re actually going to effectively lower wages for some people — by taking away a right localities already have and use? Crazy. Recommendation: VETO
SB 1424 Conflicts of Interests Act, State & Local Government, & General Assembly, etc.; ethics reforms: The ethics “reform” legislation passed this session was simply a bad joke, a charade, a non-serious attempt to make it SEEM like they did something on badly-needed ethics reform in Virginia, but actually do nothing. As Del. Scott Surovell explains: “lthough the bill lowered Virginia’s gift cap to $100, it deleted the $250 aggregate gift cap, so now elected officials can accept an unlimited number of gifts under $100 from the same donor. The also bill lacks a real enforcement mechanism. There are no mandatory audits. There is no independent ethics commission and the new ethics committee has no subpoena power. Stronger ethics laws are essentially meaningless if they cannot be enforced.” Recommendation: HEAVILY AMEND or VETO this garbage
As I said, this is just a short list, so please feel free to add more in the comments section, and I might add them to the main diary. Thanks!