Today is the first day in which Virginia state legislators can “prefile” bills for the upcoming, 2016 General Assembly session. So far, it looks like Gov. McAuliffe’s veto pen is going to busy, as Republicans are already “off and running” in proposing godawful legislation. A few bills that jump out at me as particularly stupid, counterproductive and/or harmful are as follows. My comments are in parentheses, in bold.
HB 1 by Del. Jim LeMunyon (R): “Prohibits tolls on existing components of Interstate 66 east of mile marker 67.” (Actually, congestion pricing is a smart idea, with conservative origins no less, that is far superior to widening highways and should most definitely be tried.)
HB 2 by Del. Israel O’Quinn (R): “Requires the Department of Environmental Quality to receive approval from the General Assembly for a state implementation plan to regulate carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants prior to submitting the plan to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval.” (Part of the Republicans’ ongoing war against protecting our environment, also – as I just posted a few minutes ago – this is NOT what the people of Virginia want.)
HB 4 by Del. Richard Bell (R): “Provides for a referendum at the November 8, 2016, election to approve or reject an amendment to prohibit any agreement or combination between an employer and a labor union or labor organization whereby (i) nonmembers of the union or organization are denied the right to work for the employer, (ii) membership to the union or organization is made a condition of employment or continuation of employment by such employer, or (iii) the union or organization acquires an employment monopoly in any such enterprise.” (Part of the Republicans’ ongoing war on working people, and specifically their right to organize. As if Virginia isn’t already harsh enough as a so-called “right-to-work” state — or as Leslie Byrne correctly called it, “right-to-be-poor” state.)
HB 8 by Del. Richard Bell (R): “Establishes the Board of the Virginia Virtual School as a policy agency in the executive branch of state government for the purpose of governing the full-time virtual school programs offered to students enrolled in the Virginia Virtual School.” (I wrote about why this is a horrible idea here. For more, see Special Report: The profit motive behind virtual schools in Maine. It didn’t make it last session, but now it’s baaaaack…)
HB 9 by Del. Mark Cole (R): “Specifies in greater detail the information that applicants for voter registration are required to provide on the voter registration application form. The bill also requires the general registrars to deny the application of any applicant who fails to provide his full name or indicate that he does not have a middle name; fails to provide his gender, date of birth, or social security number or indicate that he does not have a social security number; fails to provide his citizenship status or provides that he is not a U.S. citizen; fails to provide his residence address or indicate rural residence location or homelessness; fails to provide information regarding the circumstances of restoration of his voting rights after felony convictions, if any, or adjudications of mental incapacity, if any; fails to provide previous voter registration information or indicate lack thereof; or fails to indicate that he will be, or indicates that he will not be, at least 18 years of age on or before the date of the next general election.” (Part of the Republicans’ ongoing war on voting rights and their continued attempts to make it as hard as possible for people to vote. Disgusting and unAmerican.)
HB 18 by Del. Christopher Head (R): “Clarifies that neither a franchisee nor any employee of the franchisee shall be deemed to be an employee of the franchisee’s franchisor for any purpose, notwithstanding any voluntary agreement between the U.S. Department of Labor and the franchisee.” (I’m presuming this bill is a response to this ruling by the Nationsal Labor Relations Board (NLRB), which “gets to the heart of corporate responsibility” by “raises the bar for the treatment of corporate franchise workers or contractors.” Of course, given that it would “keep corporations accountable to all their employees,” Republicans like Christopher Head are against it. Republicans serving their corporate masters, who are “lovin’ it” I’m sure. )
UPDATE: Also, this bill (HB 19 by Del. Christopher Head) essentially lets marriage officiants discriminate by saying they don’t have an oath to follow the constitution. Lovely, eh?