Saturday, February 16, 2013
Legislators join activists, fellow lawmakers in Richmond to call for change.
Saturday, February 16
By Amber Galaviz, Capital News Service State officials joined gay rights activists at a press conference Thursday to discuss their disappointment in Virginia's failure to repeal the state's constitutional ban against same-sex marriage in this year's General Assembly session. “I believe that marriage is about loving, committed couples wanting to make lifelong promises to each other – take care of each other, be responsible for each other and support each other,” Del. Scott Surovell (D-Fairfax) said at the event at the General Assembly Building. “And I think that if anybody – gay, straight – wants to stand up in front of their family and friends and make that commitment to grow old together, it’s not for me, or the judge or the state to …
Friday, February 15, 2013
Senate Committee Kills ‘Tebow Bill’ on Thursday night, but some Patch readers think proposal should be voted into law.
Virginia's Senate Education and Health Committee shot down a bill Thursday that would have allowed home-schooled students to participate in public schools’ sports teams. Committee members killed House Bill 1442 — also known as the “Tebow bill" — on a 7-8 vote, shelving it for the remainder of this legislative session. But should the bill have reached the full Senate floor? In a Patch blog post, Fairfax County School Board member Ryan McElveen highlighted the defeat of the bill as one of the three most important actions residents could advocate for this session as Richmond pressed on with what he called an "educational extremism." The school board voted to advocate against the proposal, McElveen wrote, "because, in short, the bill would …
Virginia will remain among the 21 states that do not give home-schoolers access to play public school sports.
Friday, February 15
By Paige Baxter, Capital News Service. A Senate committee Thursday shot down the “Tebow bill” aimed at allowing home-schoolers to participate in public schools’ sports and other extracurricular activities. The Senate Education and Health Committee defeated House Bill 1442 on a 7-8 vote, taking the matter off the table for this legislative session. All of the Republicans on the committee voted in favor of HB 1442, except Sen. Harry Blevins (R-Chesapeake), who joined the seven Democratic committee members —including Reston-area Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston) in opposing the bill. Do you think the bill should have made it to the Senate floor? Speak out here. The legislation is nicknamed for NFL quarterback Tim Tebow, who as a home-schooler in …
Friday, February 8, 2013
The group will meet from 9-11 a.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax on Hunter Mill Road.
Nearly two months after the school shootings in Newtown, Conn., a local committee against gun violence has gained resident support across Vienna, Reston, Oakton and Herndon, gaining momentum for a "Week of Action" later this month. Saturday morning is the second meeting of the Community Committees Against Gun Violence (CCAGV), a group that formed in January as a result of the shootings. The meeting will run from 9-11 a.m. at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Fairfax, on Hunter Mill Road in Oakton. The group first met Jan. 17 in Oakton, as well as an additional meeting in Reston. More than 80 local residents attended the January meetings to discuss what action can be taken locally to reduce gun violence. The local groups began …
Thursday, February 7, 2013
Funding package was derailed by Virginia Senate Democrats late Tuesday, though the House version of the legislation still has a chance for approval.
Thursday, February 7
By Whitney Spicer and Alix Hines, Capital News Service All 20 of Virginia's Democratic senators — including Herndon-area Sens. Mark Herring (D-Herndon, Loudoun) and Janet Howell (D-Reston) — voted against Gov. Bob McDonnell's transportation plan late Tuesday, effectively blocking the Senate's version of the proposal for this legislative session. The move makes it less likely Gov. Bob McDonnell will pass a transportation package in his last year in office. While the House amended and approved a version of the plan, HB 2313, earlier Tuesday, sending it to the Senate Finance Committee, Senate Democrats "vowed to block any proposal that generated less than $1.2 billion a year in new roads money," the Washington Examiner reports. That …
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
A $2,500 credit for small businesses employing public university grads is on hold after subcommittee members ask for legislation that would include private colleges.
Tuesday, January 29
By Michael Shuster, Capital News Service A bill that would have given Virginia small businesses a $2,500 tax credit for hiring the state's public university graduates was tabled by House subcommittee members who said the offer should also apply to graduates of Virginia's private institutions. House Bill 1303, introduced by Del. Charniele Herring (D-Alexandria), would have created an incentive system for small businesses that hired people holding an associate’s or bachelor’s degree from a public institution of higher education in Virginia, giving a $2,500 corporate income tax credit for each new full-time position created and filled after Jan. 1 of this year. Businesses could have claimed the credit after the graduate had been employed for …
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell tours state Thursday asking for support, says plan could jumpstart several projects in Northern Virginia.
Gov. Bob McDonnell spent Thursday traveling across the state to urge area business leaders and residents to support his “Virginia’s Road to the Future” transportation plan, saying his proposal could help jumpstart a number of projects in Northern Virginia that have seemed to stall. The plan has gotten mixed reviews from some state legislators so far this session, but a new poll from Christopher Newport University showed 63 percent of Virginia voters support McDonnell's plan, which hinges on doing away with the state’s 17.5 cents per gallon gas tax and increasing the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5.8 percent. The poll, released Thursday, surveyed 1,015 people across the state on a number of issues, including the governor's plan. …
Wednesday, January 23, 2013
Virginia senators say GOP redistricting plan is unconstitutional; Republican legislators say proposal helps the state better comply with the Voting Rights Act.
Wednesday, January 23
By Mark Robinson • Capital News Service Virginia Democrats continued to call a Republican-backed plan to redistrict the state's senate seats unconstitutional on Wednesday -- but GOP leaders say the measure could actually help the Commonwealth better comply with the federal Voting Rights Act. After Republicans narrowly passed a bill Monday that included an amendment to redraw the lines of several state senate districts, the result of which in many cases was more seats with GOP-leaning voters, Democrats took to the Senate floor Tuesday to blast the measure, calling it unconstitutional. In remarks on the Senate floor on Monday, the bill's sponsor, Sen. John Watkins, R-Powhatan, said the move would create a sixth majority-African American …
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Some politicians, activist groups decry Monday proposal that could redistrict five Democratic senate districts.
Virginia’s State Senate narrowly passed a bill Monday night that could change the map of senate and house districts across the state. The Senate bill, which squeezed through with a 20-19 vote, shifts the districts of five senate Democrats—three representing Northern Virginia—toward more Republican-voting areas. (See a map of the proposed redistricting in the media box to the right.) Under the proposal, the districts of John Edwards (D-21st) Dave Marsden (D-37th), George Barker (D-39th), Chuck Colgan (D-29th) and John Miller (D-1st) would all change. Virginia’s legislature last redistricted House and Senate districts in 2011. Republican Sen. John Watkins (R-10th) defended the bill as "an effort to create another majority black Senate …
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Virginia governor's proposed $3.1 billion transportation overhaul gives higher percentage of sales tax to projects, leaves tax on diesel in tact.
Wednesday, January 9
By Mark Robinson, Capital News Service RICHMOND – With the General Assembly set to convene, Gov. Bob McDonnell proposed Tuesday increasing Virginia’s sales tax and abolishing its nearly 27-year-old gas tax, making Virginia the first state in the country to do so. The measures are a part of the governor’s proposed $3.1 billion plan to fund improvements to Virginia’s transportation system over the next five years. The funds would supplement $14 billion of transportation projects already under way in the commonwealth, the most in Virginia’s history. “Declining funds for infrastructure maintenance, stagnant motor fuels tax revenues, increased demand for transit and passenger rail and the growing cost of major infrastructure projects …