Wednesday, July 24, 2019
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Welcome Back to the VAPLAN Legislative Scorecard!

Last year after tracking bills throughout the General Assembly session, VAPLAN had this *great* idea to make a scorecard, summarizing how progressive--or not--the legislators...

As Virginia General Assembly Kicks Off 2019 Session, Here Are Some...

Since my last update (12/13/18) on bills introduced for the 2019 Virginia legislative session, there's been a slew of new legislation filed. with the...

A Few Interesting New Virginia Bills Cover Gender-Neutral Terms, “Bawdy Places,”...

Since my last update on November 27, there have been a bunch of bills "pre-filed" for the 2019 Virginia General Assembly session that starts...

Excellent Legislation Introduced to Date for the 2019 Virginia General Assembly...

The 2019 Virginia General Assembly begins on January 9, unfortunately with Republicans still in control - albeit by small margins - of both the...

Despite Losing 15 Seats in November 2017, Republicans Decimated Virginia Democrats’...

People can try to put a positive spin on the 2018 Virginia General Assembly session all they want - and many have, for a...

64 Good Bills Killed by Virginia Republicans; This Exemplifies Why We...

There were a lot of excellent bills - and many bad ones as well - introduced in the Virginia General Assembly this session.  Here...

A Few Questionable Votes – and Bills – by Virginia House...

Overwhelmingly, so far the 2017 Virginia General Assembly session has been the story of Republicans - apparently not in the least bit chastened by...

Legislating is Harder Than It Looks!

I have to say, this year of local political activism has been quite humbling. Humbling to know that I should’ve been paying attention to...

Time to Go on Offense: 50 Legislative Ideas for the New,...

With 49, 50 or even 51 Democrats in the Virginia House of Delegates, including a slew of strongly progressive and pro-environment members, it's time...

Dominion gets what it wants, but Virginia doesn’t get what it...

No, you can't always get what you want.
You can't always get what you want.
You can't always get what you want.
But if you try sometime you find,
You get what Dominion Power wants.

--With apologies to the Rolling Stones

I guess there's a reason I never made it as a songwriter. That last line is a disaster. But that, in a nutshell, is what happened to SB 1349, known as the rate-freeze bill, the ratepayer rip-off, or the Dominion bill, depending on whether you were pro, con, or still trying to figure it out.

The bill began and ended as a way for Dominion Virginia Power to shield excess profits from the possibility of regulators ordering refunds to customers. Along the way, Appalachian Power jumped on board, even though its president had already admitted the company had been earning more than it should.

When we last looked, SB 1349 was undergoing radical rewriting on the floor of the Senate, in real time. Conflicting amendments were being passed around. Outside the chamber, lawmakers from both parties were huddled in hallways with Dominion lobbyists. The coal caucus had already tacked on language making it harder to close coal-fired power plants. Now the Governor, progressive leaders and clean energy supporters were pushing amendments guaranteeing more solar and energy efficiency programs.

To get a sense of how impossible it was for the rank and file to follow, check out the bill history with its amendments offered and rejected, and the readings of the amendments waived.

With cameras rolling and the clock ticking, senators made speeches about provisions other people told them were now in the bill, but without anyone having the time to read the language they were expected to vote on.  That being normal, they voted on the strength of promises made and assurances given.