Legislation Committee Reports

RARC Legislation Committee
Chair:  Cher McCoy (pictured at left)
Members:  
Chuck Bedell
Mary Harvey-Halseth
Mark Reed

 




Submitted to RARC Unit Committee Aug. 20, 2019

Wouldn’t it be nice if your Representative was on this list of “Magnificent Thirty-seven?”

37 of 435 U.S. Representatives earned A+ grade in the first half of this year for exemplary efforts for (a) less immigration, (b) less foreign workers, and (c) less government-forced U.S. population growth.

Now that Congress has left the Capitol until after Labor Day, I’m going to share with you just how well they have served their constituents on immigration during the first seven months of the year.

There is an organization that has entered all the immigration votes on the floor of the House of Representatives and in its committees, plus co-sponsorships of bills that would increase or reduce the overall immigration numbers.

More than half (56%) of our U.S. Representatives earned an F or F minus thus far this year.  That means they always – or nearly always – acted to increase foreign labor competition to the most economically vulnerable members of society. It means they almost always acted to use immigration to force more population growth in communities where congestion is increasing and governments are unable to keep up with the extra infrastructure demands of the extra residents.

Most in the US will be quite disappointed in the grades their Rep brought home for summer break…..BUT NOT THE 6TH DISTRICT.  Our own Ben Cline finished with a grade of 97%.  Congratulations to Ben on an awesome achievement.

Altogether 23% of U.S. Representatives earned an A+ or A or A- (minus).  Although the Washington Post continues to indicate that our reduction efforts are “fringe,” 23% of the Members of the “People’s House” appear to be strongly committed and are far too large a bloc to be a fringe.

That said…..however, this is a very divided Congress, Reps tend to run either very, very hot for our cause or frigid.  Only 3% of Members have earned B grades.  Another 17% got C grades for being about halfway for more immigration and halfway for less immigration.

The rest……well, the majority of U.S. Representatives….earned no higher than a D.

That’s not all we have to brag about that Ben has done for the 6th. In the 8 months he’s been in Congress he has received 41,000 pieces of mail from constituents, closed 562 casework inquiries related to Federal agencies and cast more than 400 votes on the House Floor!  Wow!

Ben also authored 2 bills:  HR 3311 – The Small Business Reorganized Act which will help small businesses that need to restructure through bankruptcy and HR 3304 – The National Guard and Reservists Debt Relief Extension Act of 2019.  Both bills passed by large margins.

Other bills include bills which would designate the National George C. Marshall Museum and the Library at VMI; establish a permanent 9/11 Victim’s Compensation Fund to aid those impacted from their service at Ground zero; expand the jurisdictional waters for vets impacted with Agent Orange exposure during the Vietnam War and last but certainly not lease the LEGION Act which opens membership to the American Legion for all those who honorably served.  You probably all saw the picture in the paper of Ben in the News Gazette or elsewhere with President Trump in the Oval Office for the signing of the bill.  LEGION, for those who do not know what it stands for: Let Everyone Get Involved in Opportunities for National Service Act.

Well done Congressman Ben Cline!  Well done!

Congressman Ben Cline in the Oval Office for signing of the LEGION Act

Respectfully submitted,
Cher McCoy, Chair
RARC Legislation Committee




Submitted July 16, 2019

2019 General Assembly Legislation Wrap-Up

President Reagan once summed up the Government’s view of the economy this way:  If it moves, tax it.  If it keeps moving, regulate it.  And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

HB 2028 – Putting the brakes on unnecessary regulation was signed into law.  It requires the Board of Professional and Occupational Regulation to take a long hard look at legislation that would create new rules for existing occupations or begin regulating a new one.

HB 2653 – Creating a framework for creation of “Institutional Partnership Performance Agreements.”

HB 2586 by Delegate Rob Bell will increase penalties on those who aid in the commission of child prostitution and allow them to be investigated by multijurisdictional grand juries.  The bill will also ensure that offenders receive full punishment by each act of sex trafficking to be charged as a separate offense.

HB 2491 – The House of Delegates was on the front line of the national effort to protect innocent life and defend the unborn this year by defeating a bill to expand access to late-term abortion for almost any reason.  The world was outraged when a video went viral showing House Democrat introducing an extreme measure that would make late-term abortion legal up to the moment of birth.  The events in Richmond led Speaker Cox to stand up on the floor and speak about the promise of life.  It is believed that his speech was the first time in state history that a Speaker voluntarily stepped down from the podium to give a speech from the floor.

Animal Bills that passed that several committee members worked on this year:

     HB 1625 – Animal care, adequate shelter, exposure to heat or cold and – effective July 1, 2019.

     HB 1626 – Animal Fighting, one or more tethered cocks – Animal Control to confiscate.

HB 2344 – Rob Bell – This bill passed.  People who pass stopped school busses.

HB 2486 – Delegate Roxann Robinson passed.  This bill will cut red tape to put qualified teachers in the classroom.

HB 1731 – Emily Brewer passed – Bringing bookkeeping into the 21st century

Protecting Students – Delegate Dickie Bell’s legislation was signed by the Governor.  It will set forth criteria for return to play and requires local schools to update its policies and procedures twice a year regarding identification and handling of suspected concussions in student athletes.

 Preventing Cap and Trade Programs – The Governor vetoed Delegate Charlie Poindexter’s legislation that would prohibit the Governor from joining RGGI – a regional carbon tax program that would limit carbon emissions and drive up electricity costs program without General Assembly Approval – even though it passed both House and Senate!

Delegate Kathy Bryon’s legislation to lower the tax on essential personal hygiene products was signed by the Governor.

The ill-considered legislation on increasing minimum wage for the state was stopped because a wage that works in Alexandria would be a disaster in Rockbridge County.

 Summary of School Safety Initiatives in the final budget agreement: 

  1. Increased funding for school security Equipment Grant Program, $6.0 million
  2. Increased funding for school resource officer grants, $3.0 million
  3. School Safety Training in all public schools, $872,000
  4. Threat Assessment Team Case Management tool, $721,000
  5. Basic Training for school resource officers, $428,000
  6. School climate survey, $400,000
  7. Funding for active shooter training, $280,000

Speaker Kirk Cox was named 2019 Legislator of the Year by Virginia Chamber of Commerce!

Elevating Women to Judgeships
This year the General Assembly elected Judge Teresa Chafin to the Supreme Court of Virginia, and Judge Patricia West as the newest judge on the State Corporation Commission.

Since 2001, Republican-led General Assembly has developed a consistent track record of elevating women and minorities in Virginia’s Judicial System.

Judge West’s election to the State Corporation Commission means women will now hold the majority on this important court.  Data from the office of the Executive Secretary, the Republican-led General Assembly has elected over 100 women to judgeships across the commonwealth.  Congratulations Ladies!

The 2019 General Assembly Session produced a stark contrast for Virginia.  The controversies of the Democratic statewide office holders have led to chaos and embarrassment for our state.  But the Republican-led General Assembly has delivered leadership and results on the issues that matter most:

  1. Tax Relief for Virginia families
  2. Pay Raise for teachers
  3. Passed a Conservative and Balanced Budget
  4. Keeping our children safe in school

Respectfully submitted,
Cher McCoy
Legislation Chair – RARC

____________________________________________________________________________________________________

Submitted July 16, 2019

Top States 2019 Overall Ranking:

  1. Virginia
  2. Texas
  3. North Carolina
  4. Utah
  5. Washington
  • Virginia is America’s 2019 Top State for Business in CNBC’s 13th annual study.
  • Its world-class workforce, high-performing education system and business-friendly regulations propel Virginia to the top spot.
  • Amazon chose Virginia for its new second headquarters based on many of the same factors.
  • Defense spending, which is rising, accounts for nearly 12% of Virginia’s economy — more than any other state.

Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox recently released the following statement after CNBC awarded Virginia with the top spot as the nation’s Best State for Business:

“There’s no secret behind Virginia’s climb to the top of the rankings this year. Our highly-educated workforce, our business-friendly regulatory environment, low taxes, and our ongoing commitment to education make our Commonwealth a great place for any business, from a mom-and-pop startup to the Fortune 500.”

“CNBC specifically cited Republican initiatives in their report. We provided nearly $1 billion in tax relief to working families, championed the bi-partisan legislation to cut burdensome business regulations by 25 percent, gave our teachers a 5 percent raise, put the brakes on college tuition hikes for the first time in 20 years, and put an emphasis on workforce training and college degrees that businesses actually need.

“The ranking comes despite policy proposals from Democrats that would have set Virginia back. We blocked more than $17.9 billion in bad business bills that would have killed 156,000 jobs, including an energy tax scheme that would significantly increase electricity rates and the Democratic bill to repeal the right-to-work law that protects employees from mandatory union membership.

“The stakes are high for Virginia. The narrow, 51-49 Republican majority in the House of Delegates is the only thing standing between the Commonwealth and unchecked Democratic control of state government. They will enact policies that cost Virginia its top business ranking, while Republicans will continue to promote an agenda that creates good paying jobs, lifts people out of poverty, and fortifies our already strong economy.”

Special session of the General Assembly

The General Assembly met in special session on Tuesday, July 9, at the Governor’s request. There were several gun control bills he was hoping to sign into law.  This is what happened:

Delegates filed:
31 Bills for laws
3 Joint Resolutions
46 House Resolutions.

State Senators filed:
32 Bills
2 Joint Resolutions
20 State Resolutions

The resolutions were basically to celebrate the lives of named individuals or to commend individuals and organizations.

The Senate’s two joint resolutions, however, would establish two study commissions on violence.  The House joint resolutions would determine the rules of the special session (HJ 4003) and recognize the Virginia Beach Tragedy Fund as a good thing (HJ 4002).  There was also HJ 4001 which that was sponsored by Kaye Kory (D-Falls Church) which would have established an annual “Gun Violence Awareness Day” so liberals could demonize gun owners.

Of the 63 actual bills introduced, 6 were good and 9 were harmless.  The other 48 were not good from the very beginning.

All of the good bills were by Republicans.  Delegate Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg) introduced HB 4001 that would have codified into Virginia law the US Supreme Court’s District of Columbia v Heller decision that clarifies the right of individual Virginians to keep and bear arms.  Delegate Cole also introduced HB 4002 that would require state and local government entities to allow their employees who have concealed handgun permits (CHPs) to carry concealed in their workplace unless the government provides armed security on site.

Delegate David Yancey (R-Newport News) introduced HB 4014 that would allow persons convicted of stealing firearms to get a reduced sentence if they provided substantial help to authorities in apprehending other persons involved in the crime.

In the Senate, Bill Stanley (R-Moneta) introduced SB 4011 to allow public and private schools to have “volunteer school security” officers (retired law enforcement officers not paid by the school) who can be armed on school property.

Senator Majority Leader Tommy Norment (R-Williamsburg) introduced SB 4015 which would require schools to teach firearm safety at all grades.  The courses would be taught by law-enforcement officers and would not use actual firearms.

Dick Black (R-Leesburg) introduced SB 4016, which would allow local government employees CHPs to carry or possess a firearm at their workplace whether armed security is provided or not.

All of the bad bills were introduced by Democrats with a few notable exceptions.  Former Lt Governor candidate Glenn Davis (R-Virginia Beach) introduced HB 4007 which would allow localities to ban guns in their government buildings.  This would infringe on the rights of gun owners to protect themselves both in the buildings and going from and to their vehicles.  Davis also introduced HB 4008 which would reduce options for CHP applicants to get training that our laws require. That was a disappointment as it would limit our constitutional rights.

While Senator Norment introduced one good bill, he also introduced a bad one.  SB 4013 would ban firearms for anyone other than a certain privileged few in any government building and would change violations from misdemeanors to felonies.  Then he turned around and asked that the bill be stricken.  This is somewhat of a mystery.

You would think with all those bills that the special session would last for days.  It did not. It lasted only a mere 90 minutes before it was recessed until November 18th.  In the meantime the bipartisan Virginia State Crime Commission led by its chairman Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Harrisonburg) and vice-chairman Delegate Rob Bell (R-Albemarle) are directed to “undertake a systematic review of the events that occurred in Virginia Beach and propose legislative changes to Virginia’s laws concerning firearms and public safety.”  In the letter to the Crime Commission, Speaker Cox Senate Majority Leader Norment noted that they “have asked the committees of the House and Senate to refer all legislation introduced during the Special Session to the Crime Commission for review,” including any additional legislation filed before July 19.

Here’s the takeaway:  The General Assembly reconvenes after the November election.  That means legislators cannot be held accountable at the polls this year for their votes when the special session reconvenes.  It also means that people by in large lose interest easily and our legislators can act in November without the scrutiny that they are currently facing.  It’s a safe bet to say we need to stay abreast of this as our constitutional freedoms are at stake.  We must also remind our representatives in Richmond that we are watching what they do.  We have to.  It affects us all.

Respectfully submitted,
Cher McCoy
Legislation Chair – RARC