As always, elections have consequences. In this case, the reelection of State Senator John Edwards (D-Roanoke) means that we continue to get excellent bills like the following. First, SB 130 repeals “mandatory minimum” sentences, which lawyers, scholars and judges have called “oppressive,” “racist” and “ineffective,” among their other charming qualities. Ditch them!
Second, SB 129 raises Virginia’s minimum wage from its current, disgraceful $7.25 an hour ($15,080 a year working full time) to the still-inadequate, but better, $10.10 an hour ($21,008 a year working full time) by 2018. If Republicans vote against this, it demonstrates that they are against working people trying to lift themselves out of poverty on their own, without “government handouts.”
Third, SB 142 provides for a tax credit for solar thermal systems in Virginia. Of course, what we also need is credits for rooftop solar power and a robust net metering system in Virginia, but good luck getting that past the Dominion Power Owned-and-Operated General Assembly. Still, SB 142 would be a step in the right direction towards a clean energy economy, which probably means that Republicans will vote against it, because they apparently love wasting money, killing the environment, protecting their fossil fuel donors/pals, and making it more likely that Virginia misses out on the multi-trillion-dollar clean energy economic opportunities we’re going to see in the 21st century.