BREAKING: Cuccinelli Says Transportation Bill, Medicaid Expansion Unconstitutional


    According to our fine Attorney General (and his office), the two main accomplishments of the 2013 Virginia General Assembly are not constitutional.

    1. Transportation

    It is my opinion that, although the imposition of different taxes on transactions in different localities does not violate Article X, § 1, HB 2313’s imposition of taxes in the specific localities constitutes a local law related to taxation prohibited by Article IV, § 14(5) of the Virginia Constitution. It further is my opinion that, because the taxes were imposed directly by the General Assembly, the taxes cannot be saved by the provisions of Article VII, § 2, even if they had obtained the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members elected to each house.

    Interesting, I actually thought Article X was a stronger argument against this bill. Go figure.

    2. Medicaid expansion

    It is my opinion that the provisions of the 2013 budget act that purport to authorize Medicaid expansion only “[i]f the Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission determines that” certain conditions set by the General Assembly have been met constitutes a delegation of the General Assembly’s legislative authority. It is further my opinion that the General Assembly may not delegate final legislative authority regarding budgetary or other matters to a committee composed of a subset of the members of the General Assembly.

    Of course, these are just opinions – correct or incorrect, you decide – by Virginia’s AG, not a ruling by the Virginia Supreme Court. Still, it will be fascinating to see how this plays out now, especially given Bob McDonnell’s obvious hesitation to make a decision on whether or not to sign the transportation bill. Also, it seems to me that the AG’s ruling could have an impact on future Supreme Court deliberations. Hmmmm.

    P.S. Big winner here? “Sideshow Bob” Marshall, who requested these opinions, of all people. Wonderful.

    P.P.S. Did the politics of 2013 just get scrambled? All I can say is, it’s going to be very interesting to see how this plays out…

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