UNFINISHED BUSINESS?

Lt. Gov Bill Bolling reminds us that the courts still have more to do to straighten out the mess created by that rotten transportation bill, HB3202.

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 29, 2008

Contact: Randy Marcus
Phone: 804-786-2078
Cell: 804-814-7117
Email: randy.marcus@ltgov.virginia.gov

STATEMENT OF LIEUTENANT GOVERNOR BOLLING ON SUPREME COURT’S RULING ON NORTHERN VIRGINIA TRANSPORTATION AUTHORITY

RICHMOND – Earlier today, the Supreme Court of Virginia issued an opinion declaring the Northern Virginia regional transportation plan approved by the General Assembly in 2007 to be unconstitutional. The court concluded that the plan violated the Constitution of Virginia because it authorized an unelected body – The Northern Virginia Transportation Authority – to impose a series of fee and tax increases in Northern Virginia localities to raise funds for transportation construction. In response to this decision, Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling issued the following statement:

“The Supreme Court of Virginia has concluded that it was not proper for the General Assembly to delegate its taxing authority to the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority, an unelected body. I agree with the Supreme Court’s finding.

“The authority to tax is one of the most significant responsibilities of government and that responsibility cannot and should not be delegated to a body that is not directly responsible to the voters.

“I expressed these concerns when the Northern Virginia regional transportation plan was amended to remove the ability of localities to opt in or out of the plan by an affirmative vote of their local governing body. The Supreme Court has affirmed those concerns.

“We will also have to carefully review the Supreme Court’s opinion to determine what impact it will have on the Hampton Roads regional transportation plan. While there are differences in the manner in which fee and tax increases were imposed in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, it is my belief the Supreme Court’s decision may also invalidate significant portions of the Hampton Roads regional transportation plan.

“Needless to say, transportation continues to be the most important issue facing Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads. Now that these provisions of the regional transportation plans approved by the General Assembly last year have been declared unconstitutional, the General Assembly will have to revisit the issue of providing adequate transportation funding to meet the needs of these important regions. I look forward to working with the members of the General Assembly to find the most responsible way to accomplish that goal.”

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Randy Marcus
Chief of Staff
Office of Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling
804-786-2078
804-786-7514 (fax)
randy.marcus@ltgov.virginia.gov

VICTORY OVER THE NORTHERN VIRGINIA TAXATION AUTHORITY

vablogs2.pngThanks to the dedicated efforts of some public spirited people, the Northern Virginia Transportation (AKA Taxation) Authority NVTA no longer has the authority to tax us.

What are the blogs saying?

TwoConservatives observes how unfairly Governor Kaine selected his appointees.

In fact, in a slap to Prince William County, Governor Kaine appointed to one of the slots Sharon Pandak, who has been soundly rejected TWICE to represent the people of our county. (from here)

Below the Beltway reviews key parts of the court opinion (here).

Hoodathunk quotes a congressman and observes his educational deficiencies.

Democrat Jim Moran is pretty ticked off, from the sound of it. If the quotes in the story are accurate, Congressman Moran needs a refresher course on our system of government. (from here)

Bloggers 4 Bob Marshall provide their thanks (here).

The right-wing liberal offers its praises for those who fought for us.

The highest praise is for those who never gave up fighting this thing – such as Bob Marshall, who was among the plaintiffs in the lawsuit that led to his victory. Also deserving praise is the old Loudoun County Board of Supervisors for joining the suit (it should be noted that the Board did so unanimously, with everyone from Eugene Delgaudio to Lori Waters to Scott York stepping up to the plate here). If memory serves, Paul Jost (or the Club for Growth) and Dick Black were also plaintiffs in some form. (from here)

The SkepticalObservor wants his refund (here). ;-)

A BOOK REVIEW BY SENATOR KEN CUCCINELLI

Whenever I can, I happily purloin material from Senator Ken Cuccinelli’s Cuccinelli Compass. Here is the good senator’s latest edition.

February 29, 2008

Dear Fellow Republican:

Tuesday night I finished the book “Amazing Grace” by Eric Metaxes. It is a uniquely written biography of William Wilberforce and it was the basis of the movie of the same name put out last year. I have enjoyed reading books again since my last campaign ended at the end of 2007, and this book was one of the best I’ve ever read.

For those of you that are not familiar with William Wilberforce, he lived from 1759 to 1833 and his life was an incredible journey, one that would be of particular interest to any legislator, as he was an MP, a member of parliament, from 1780, entering at the age of 21 and prior to graduating from Cambridge, until 1825. That’s almost as long as Delegate Lacey Putney has been in the House of Delegates!

Wilberforce is best known for his work to abolish the slave trade and then to abolish slavery itself in the British Empire. Having taken up the cause in 1787, he doggedly pursued the abolition of the inhuman slave trade for 20 years. He finally succeeded in 1807, one year before our own U.S. Constitution called for the same abolition in America. But unlike America, Wilberforce kept pushing to abolish the entire institution of slavery for the rest of his parliamentary career.

Throughout his marathon political battle against slavery, Wilberforce faced overwhelming resources arrayed against him, both financial and political, at every step of his journey. He freely acknowledged that the only way that he could have possibly carried on for so long was the inspiration of his faith.

In 1785, 5 years after entering parliament, Wiberforce was what we would call today “born again” in his Christian faith. It very quickly changed not only his own life, as he gave up much of his drinking, card playing and other frivolous ways, but he also saw the world with fresh eyes. It was only then that he began to recognize the significance and severity of some of the problems in the world around him – foremost among them being slavery, though there were many other issues as well. And unlike many of his day, he acted on his newfound realization.

First and most famously among his targets was slavery. In the mid-1780s, Britain was a place that truly looked down on anyone who was seriously religious. Such people were looked upon much like the Washington Post views evangelicals today, with about as much basis in fact to do so. Nonetheless, by the late 1780s, Wilberforce was what we would call an evangelical Christian who was nakedly arguing that Christianity demanded that Britain abolish the slave trade. Think of how much the Washington Post would appreciate such an argument for anything today, and you get an idea of how Wilberforce was received as he started his greatest legislative journey.

It is worth noting that just as Wilberforce was concerned with ending slavery, he was also concerned about what the slave trade did to its participants. In fact, the Privy Council of Great Britain and then the House of Commons itself undertook to include the effects of the slave trade on its participants in its studies of the slave trade. What they found was surprising. The slave trade was shockingly destructive of the sailors that were taking and shipping the slaves from Africa to the West Indies. In just a few short years, overwhelming majorities of people employed in the trade were themselves reduced to little more than soulless brutes, incapable or barely capable of ordinary, civilized interaction with their fellow man.

In short, any lengthy exposure to the slave trade was utterly dehumanizing. Thus, Wilberforce sought to regulate various aspects of the slave trade for the sake of those that were in it, whom he also cared deeply about, while at the same time keeping up the pressure to abolish the trade entirely.

Early in his effort against the slave trade, Wilberforce challenged his fellow Britons in words to the effect of “What does the slave trade say about us as a people? What does our countenance of this barbarism say about our nation? What does our inaction say about each of us? What is our duty in this matter?”

He well knew in his own mind the answer to these questions, and so he acted.

This brings me to the Virginia Senate.

This morning, as has happened just about every year that I have been here, a set of good and straightforward legislative efforts to address various aspects of the abortion issue died in the Education and Health Committee – again.

Rather than re-argue the merits of any particular piece of legislation, I would rhetorically pose the question to every legislator to consider the same sort of questions about abortion and our nation and Commonwealth that Wilberforce asked about his nation and its Commonwealth: “What does the abortion industry say about us as a people? What does our countenance of abortion say about our nation? What does our inaction say about each of us?” And last, but not least, “what is our duty in this matter?”

I have not always held the position I do today on the life issue. There was a time that I questioned the government’s role in abortion. Then, one day, during an ordinary lunch conversation with some political friends in the early 1990s, I noted my understanding that life begins at conception. With that, one of my colleagues leaned over to me and asked a simple question, which he left me to answer: “If you believe that it’s a human life, don’t you have a moral obligation to defend it?”

I had never thought of it that way, but it was an easy question to answer when it was cast in that light. And with one thoughtful question, my position on the protection of the unborn was forever changed.

Wilberforce was on to something in his approach to his opponents (and the disinterested), and I wonder if similar introspection about life and abortion in our nation and in our Commonwealth – particularly in the Virginia Senate – might change the hearts of some legislators? Wilberforce offers us a model worth imitating, and despite setbacks like this morning in the Senate’s Ed & Health Committee, one of the greatest lessons from Wilberforce – perseverance – will serve us all well as we work in the long term to change the course of Virginia toward a greater respect for life and the families that sustain and nurture life.

Well, that’s tonight’s “Deep Thought” (not from Jack Handy*), gotta get some sleep to keep fighting tomorrow!

Sincerely,

Senator Ken Cuccinelli
Virginia 37th District

* Jack Handy was a fake author from Saturday Night Live when it used to be funny.

Others can sign up for The Compass at Senator Cuccinelli’s website at:

http://www.cuccinelli.com