Sunday, April 7, 2013
Virginia's legislature passed an amendment prohibiting some insurance companies from providing abortion coverage.
This week, Virginia’s legislature approved a measure by Gov. Bob McDonnell that prohibits certain health insurance companies from providing coverage for women seeking an abortion. The exceptions to the insurance coverage rule are in cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is in danger. While the new Virginia legislation isn’t as restrictive of abortions as recent legislation passed in North Dakota and Alabama, critics are concerned about the financial effect the legislation may have on a woman’s decision. Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun) said, “Women should be able to make decisions about their own health care without interference from politicians here in the state Capitol.” The Virginia Society for Human Life, an anti-abortion group, …
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Bill would impose harsher penalties, make texting while driving a primary offense.
A bill that would impose tougher penalties on those convicted of texting while driving cleared the state Senate on Tuesday and now heads to the desk of Gov. Bob McDonnell. The bill increases the fine to $250 — up from $20 — for the first texting-while-driving offense and $500 for each subsequent conviction. It also makes texting while driving an aggravating circumstance to reckless driving, and so anyone convicted of such would face a mandatory minimum $500 penalty if they were texting while they were driving recklessly. Texting while driving would also become a primary offense, which means police can stop someone on the suspicion that a driver is texting; current law allows police to charge someone with texting while driving only if they'…
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 Chantilly-area Sen. Dave Marsden — 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 opposition is what doomed SB 1355 on Tuesday night. …
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Gov. Bob McDonnell's task force releases recommendations to the General Assembly.
Tuesday, February 5
By Blake Belden, Capital News Service Gov. Bob McDonnell is urging state legislators to approve recommendations from his School and Campus Safety Task Force that would increase sentences for illegally buying guns, require mandatory lockdown drills at schools and establish more comprehensive suicide prevention programs, among other suggestions. Northern Virginia State Sen. George Barker (D-39th) serves on the task force. Read: Police to Discuss School Safety Feb. 13 at Sully District Governmental Center McDonnell sent the General Assembly a letter outlining initial recommendations from the panel, which the governor established in the wake of December’s school shootings in Newtown, Conn., where a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 …
Thursday, January 31, 2013
The amended package would eliminate Virginia's gas tax and hike sales taxes to raise $3 billion over five years.
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell’s controversial transportation bill passed the House of Delegates Finance Committee Wednesday, moving past its first hurdle in the state's 2013 General Assembly session. In a 14-8 vote along party lines, the committee passed McDonnell’s package, which calls for eliminating the state’s 17.5 cents per gallon gas tax and raising the state sales tax from 5 percent to 5.8 percent. The plan would also keep the 17.5 tax on diesel fuel and increase vehicle registration fees. It would also raise the amount of the state’s sales tax that goes to transportation from 5 to 75 cents over a five-year period. McDonnell said the bill would raise approximately $3 billion in that time, including $1.8 billion for new construction. …
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 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. McDonnell’s …
Thursday, January 17, 2013
Educators don't support arming teachers or principals, but would welcome more trained, armed School Resource Officers "if money was no issue."
A group of educators from one of Fairfax County's largest teachers' unions says it doesn't want guns in schools, according to a survey released Thursday morning by the union, which goes on to say security personnel "can help address a portion of the issue (of school security), but they cannot fix the entire problem." The results come after nearly 500 members of the Fairfax County Federation of Teachers responded to a survey on school safety and security — in an effort to make teachers' voices a larger part of state and nationwide conversations about gun control and schools, according to the federation's president, Steve Greenburg "The issue of guns being brought to schools and the issue of making our schools more secure is a complex effort…
Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Governor's five-year, $3.1 billion transportation overhaul aims to fund major road and infrastructure needs. Tell us: Do you think the governor's plan is a sustainable option for road maintenance and new projects?
Virginia residents could see a higher sales tax — and the state could become the first in the country to shed its gas tax — if a transportation plan unveiled by Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell passes the state's General Assembly during its 2013 session. The five-year, $3.1 billion transportation overhaul is the governor's attempt to address some of the state's major road and infrastructure needs in coming years; $14 billion in projects are already underway across Virginia. McDonnell said the 17.5 cent tax on gasoline — which accounts for more than 30 percent of Virginia's transportation revenues — was "dated," blaming inflation and better mileage on the dollar for making it a stagnant funding source. Raising sales tax from 5 to 5.8 percent, …
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 …
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
In light of Sandy Hook shootings and ahead of Virginia General Assembly kickoff this week, union turns to members to get opinion on guns in schools and what safe schools should look like.
In the weeks since the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., politicians and advocacy groups have issued recommendations for how schools can try to prevent the tragedy — which killed 26 students and school employees — from happening again. A voice so far largely absent from those discussions in Fairfax and Northern Virginia: teachers. One of Fairfax County's largest teachers unions is hoping to change that, launching Tuesday a security and schools survey asking its 4,265 members about the use of guns in schools, where the system could use extra security personnel, how safe schools are now and how to make them safer, among other topics. "What I see more and more of is politicians posturing up and taking positions …