“General Assembly: Right turn” was the heading of a Richmond Times-Dispatch editorial last week. It reflects many of the changes I mentioned in my previous article.
As the editorial states: “Elections do have consequences. That’s doubly true in the state Senate, where Republicans have assumed control of committees that once bottled up socially conservative measures.”
The Senate Courts of Justice Committee passed legislation to repeal Virginia’s one-gun-a-month bill. A bill to require an ultrasound before a woman can have a legal abortion passed. A House panel sent on a voter ID bill. Senate Bill 6 to drug test aid to welfare recipients passed out of the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee on a party-line vote 8-7. And a House plan moved forward to disallow payment for an abortion for a low-income woman expecting a baby with a deformity.
“There is not a great deal Democrats can do to thwart these actions, either. Republicans have a huge majority in the House of Delegates and, thanks to Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling, the 20-20 tie in the Senate can be broken by him on most issues, except the budget, judges and Constitutional Amendments.” And the Times-Dispatch ends its editorial, “But for now, Republicans in Richmond can claim almost a monopoly on power. And that has consequences — for good and ill.” This editorial appeared in a paper more associated with conservative views.
As I mentioned last week, one of my most important bills is SB 135 that would create a Virginia All Payer Claims Database. An editorial also ran in the Richmond paper supporting this legislation stating it could save health care costs and improve delivery of health care. It was referred to the Senate Committee on Education and Health Care Subcommittee on Health Care. This legislation is “backed by businesses big and small, the state’s hospitals and the Medical Society of Virginia.” The only large group that is not supporting the bill is Virginia’s largest insurer, Anthem.
My bill calling for stricter oversight over the state-owned Gunston Hall was “carried over” at my request. The Gunston Hall Board of Regents has agreed and announced that an education coordinator will be hired. Last year, the long-time education coordinator was fired. Gunston Hall is owned by the state. My bill stipulated a stricter oversight of the administration by the Gunston Hall Board of Regents, chosen by the National Society of the Colonial Dames of America and appointed by the Governor of the Commonwealth. I’m hopeful Gunston Hall will be able to move forward to provide outstanding historical education on George Mason and the Bill of Rights and continue to be an important part of the local community.
Please contact me on issues of interest to you: P.O. Box 73, Mt. Vernon, VA 22121, firstname.lastname@example.org, 703-765-1150, or 1-804-698-7536.
By Toddy Puller
State Senator (D-36)