With over 4,000 requests for bills prior to the opening gavel yesterday this so-called "short session" of the Virginia General Assembly could turn out to be anything but. "The Governor told us this morning that he feels very optimistic about this session," said Sen. Linda T. "Toddy" Puller (D-36) on Tuesday morning in a phone call from Richmond. That assessment remains to be tested.
Contributing to that proposed legislative avalanche are bills and priorities from Puller, with transportation topping her list of priorities. "I hope we do something meaningful on transportation," she said. "But, we in the Senate will have to wait and see what comes out of the House."
"I believe the time is right to increase the gasoline tax. It's now at 17 and a half cents. It could be raised a dime without the price of gasoline going up a dime," Puller said.
"Raising that tax would also get those from out of state to help pay for our roads instead of placing the whole burden on Virginians. Other people use our roads and they should help pay for them," she said.
OTHER BILLS Puller intends to introduce include:
* A workforce affordable housing bill for Prince William County
* Allowing churches to conduct criminal background checks on potential employees similar to those conducted by the State Police
* A bill dealing with compensation for mental health issues
* Legislation to clarify the land ownership dealing with the transfer of land at George Washington's Grist Mill property in Mount Vernon District
* Legislation to allow Mount Vernon Estate to sell whiskey distilled at the reconstructed Grist Mill distillery through State ABC stores