Monday, February 04, 2013

News of the General Assembly session

I can't say that I was paying too much attention to this year's session of the General Assembly, before the redistricting maneuver in the Senate and the proposed electoral college bill sponsored by our own Senator Carrico became part of the national discussion that percolated down to my attention.

Evidently, there is a lot going on, and here is some of what I have been missing:

1. Some legislators want the DMV to study putting barcodes and/or RFIDs on license plates, as reported here. The summary of the DMV report is here. Maybe by the time the youngest step-daughter is driving, if she stays out too late I can just call up the DMV to tell me where she is, if they are tracking us all by then.

2. The Rutherford Institute is backing proposed legislation to lessen the regulatory burden on homeowners and small farm owners who want to raise food for themselves and their friends, as shown here. We have a can of unlicensed green beans at the house, I hope that is not a problem.

3. The City of Bristol is pushing a new law to allow it to recoup its investment in the new construction at Exit 5 through the sales tax from the new stores in that area, as shown here. I hope that the stores get built and the City gets its money back.

4. The newspaper trade association is opposing legislation that would allow localities to publish notices online instead of the classified ads in newspapers, as shown here. I guess they will agree the time has come for this change when there are no more printed newspapers. Coincidentally, the Cavalier Daily announced that it would discontinue its printed daily edition after 130 years.

5. Tazewell County have established a ridgeline protection ordinance to keep out wind power generation, a senator from the Tidewater is proposing a state law that would preempt the county ordinance, and the Bluefield paper is opposed, as shown here. The bill was stricken.

6. The Virginia Bar Association has endorsed a bill that would permit the members of a limited liability company to provide in their operating agreement that assigned membership interests would have the power to participate in the management of the LLC, which change would overrule the Supreme Court's holding in Ott v. Monroe. In the Ott case, the interest passed on the death of a member, and the Court held that the transferee had no management rights, notwithstanding the express language of the operating agreement between the members.

7. The General Assembly appears be on track to end the criminalization of cohabitation. I think this will finally overrule the "public policy" behind the Mitchem case, which has bothered me for years.

8. The General Assembly reappointed the first openly gay member of the judiciary, and might act against discrimination in state employment. It is absurd to think that anyone would tolerate discrimination that would exclude good people willing to serve in the public sector.

9. Senator Northam proposes to criminalizes smoking with children in the car. The bill has passed the Senate.

10. The House of Delegates rejected the views of Governor McDonnell and others in refusing to allow the restoration of civil rights to non-violent felons. This was a mistake that will fuel the perception that Republicans are out to keep non-Republicans from voting any way they can.

11. The Virginia Senate has passed the soccer goal safety act, for the purpose of keeping goals from falling on children Unrelated to this, the House has passed legislation regarding the participation of home-schoolers in interscholastic sports.

12. The General Assembly confirmed the reappointment of Helen Dragas, which seems ridiculous to me - some things aren't worth trying a second time. Unrelated to this, the Virginia Senate refused to agree to legislation that would allow the hunting of fast-moving, sharp-toothed beasts on Sundays.

13. The House Courts of Justice committee passed a bill that would prohibit the use of drones by state or local law enforcement in Virginia until 2014 or 2015.