Here is Delegate Scott Lingamfelter‘s report on the General Assembly.
Session Update 6: The End of Crossover
As I wrote in my last report to you, this week was “Crossover” in the General Assembly. All the bills that were debated and passed in the House have gone over to the Senate and vice-versa. Although we now have significantly less bills on our docket, there is still much work to be done, we will have to wade through all the Senate bills, reconcile any changes that the Senate makes to the bills the House sent over, and finalize our biennium budget.
Just a couple items before I head into the weekly legislative update.
As you know, I sit on the House Appropriations Committee or the “Budget Committee”. This Sunday, we will meet in Richmond to finalize our version of the Commonwealth’s fiscal plan. Governor McDonnell sent his 2012-2014 biennium budget back in December and sent it over to the Appropriations Committee. Over the past three weeks we have combed through that budget the same way that a family goes through their house’s finances. The budget that will be released reflects the House’s steadfast commitment to long-term structural balance and a focus on core government services. With the input of all General Assembly members, we have taken the Governor’s strong budget and made it even stronger. I will be updating you in the coming week about the details of the House’s budget and will keep you updated as it makes its way through the General Assembly.
Debunking the Myths, Part II
Last week, I reported about some of the myths that Democrats have been spreading. They have continued to stay relatively quiet on the House floor but when they leave the Chamber they shoot straight towards the nearest reporter they can find. I want to continue dispelling some of the myths that you may have seen in the media.
Undoubtedly, you have seen the stories that House Republicans have been pushing through a “radical, conservative social agenda” and have neglected to address the issues that Virginians are most concerned about. There is absolutely no evidence to support this claim. In fact, social issues take up a small fraction of what we have been doing. If you don’t want to take my word for it, just check this out: http://bit.ly/yEJOyH . Only 2.2% of the bills that the House passed deal with social issues while 42.3% of the legislation that has passed the House has focused on education, government reform, public safety, and jobs. Their statements just don’t hold any water, which should not surprise you one bit
The other popular talking point myth (or “unicorn sighting” as I like to say) is that the Democratic Caucus are the ones most in line with the majority of Virginians and that their agenda addresses the concerns that we are facing on a day to day basis. Again, complete nonsense. For starters, I don’t really thing that tax increases are in line with the citizens of Virginia and that’s exactly what they have pushed for. A cursory look at bills introduced by Democrats shows that there were 11 bills that attempted to raise taxes by $2.2 billion, right out of the Obama playbook in Washington. You can find the listing here: http://scr.bi/z5ZjbA.
I’ll make this final point: the same folks who claim to have an agenda that synchs up with the rest of Virginia are the ones pushing for legislation to study the sale of marijuana in ABC stores, to impose a tax on plastic bags, to abolish the Court of Appeals, to reinstate the Death Tax, and to allow convicted drug offenders to receive government benefits.
Let me know if I’m wrong but those don’t sound like things Virginians are interested in right now.
Virginia State Police Association “2012 Legislator of the Year”
This week, I was informed that the Board of Directors of the Virginia State Police Association (VSPA) and their 2,100 members have chosen me as one of their “2012 Legislators of the Year” for my ardent support of public safety and advocacy for the Department of State Police. It is truly an honor to be recognized by this group that represents some of the most dedicated public servants in our Commonwealth. These are the folks that dedicate themselves to protecting our families and communities and they sacrifice a great deal doing so. A part of the “Trooper Pledge” states:
I shall wage unceasing war against crime in all its forms, and shall consider no sacrifice too great in the performance of my duty. I shall obey the laws of the United States of America and of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and shall support and defend their constitutions against all enemies whomsoever, foreign and domestic. I shall always be loyal to and uphold the honor of my organization, my State and my Country.
With that kind of commitment and dedication to public service, I am honored to advocate on their behalf in the General Assembly and I look forward to continuing to do so.
This Week in Review- Legislation
Government Reform and Reorganization
One of the Governor’s key priorities has been finding ways to streamline state government and make it more effective and efficient for all Virginians. One substantial part of his 2012 government reform legislative package is House Bill 1291, which has been called the Governor’s Reorganization of Executive Government. House Bill 1291 lays the groundwork to eliminate or merge over 40 boards, commissions, and agencies, and proposes regulation of three industries in the Commonwealth. Many of these agencies are outdates and/or duplicative and their elimination or merging will help reduce costs, increase cooperation, and improve the overall administration of duties. It has been estimated that this plan could save at least $2 million annually.
House Bill 1291 has passed both the House and the Senate but unfortunately the Senate had some changes so the bill will now be sent to conference to reconcile the difference. You can track the bill’s progress here: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?121+sum+HB1291
Eliminating Mandates on Localities
House Bill 1295, sponsored by Delegate Kathy Byron, seeks to eliminate various mandates on Virginia’s localitiesrelating to education and land use. Small, effective, and streamlined is how government should be and this bill is the first step in a series of legislative, regulatory, and administrative actions to make that happen. You can track HB 1295 here: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=121&typ=bil&val=hb1295
Protecting Personal Property Rights
As Conservatives, we know the importance of upholding the Constitution at all costs. The Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution was meant to protect the citizens against abuses of government, including the taking of private property for public use. The last clause of the Amendment limits the power of eminent domain by requiring “just compensation” be paid if private property is taken for public use. In response to calls for stronger protection against eminent domain abuses and to ensure that government isn’t overstepping its bounds and not adhering to the “just compensation” clause, the General Assembly approved an amendment to the Virginia Constitution to protect personal property owners. Changes to the Virginia Constitution have to go through an extensive approval process, rightfully so. If passed by the General Assembly this year and signed by the Governor, the amendment will then be put on the ballot in November of this year for the people to vote on. House Bill 5 and Senate Bill 240 are the final legislative action required before it is put on the ballot. I am pleased to announce that both of these bills have passed and with bipartisan support. You can track these bills here- HB 5: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?121+sum+HB5 and SB 240 http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?121+sum+SB240
As your public servant, I am here in Richmond to represent you. In order to do that best, I need to hear from you about what is on your mind. There are several ways you can get in touch with me:
Call me at our Richmond Office- (804) 698-1031.
Fill out my 2012 Legislative Survey:http://tiny.cc/t20a7
Submit comments to my office from our website: www.VA31st.com
I look forward to hearing from you!
– Navy calls off plans to move aircraft carrier to Mayport Florida- http://1.usa.gov/z7JFna
-Commonwealth posts 3.4% revenue growth in January- http://1.usa.gov/AsRYQB
-Governor McDonnell issues mid-session revenue review- http://1.usa.gov/zzEwEN