Legislation Committee Reports

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


Legislation Committee Report 2-18-20



January 2020 Report


The 2020 Virginia General Assembly Session got officially underway on January 8th. As you know, there was a shift in party power which brings a great deal of change to the legislature this year, but this year also marked many historic firsts for the oldest continuously serving legislative body in the Western Hemisphere.

As the General Assembly gaveled in the 401st year of the legislature, Eileen Filler-Corn was sworn in as the first female Speaker of the House of Delegates. She was elected to office in a special election in 2010,

The first African American female was also elected to the post of Majority Leader. Charniele Herring will serve in that role for the Democratic Caucus.

Finally, Suzette Denslow was sworn in as the first female Clerk of the House of Delegates. The Clerk is the head of the administrative functions of the legislature. Suzette comes from the Northam administration and has held numerous posts throughout state government and Democratic administrations.

Rules Vote and Firearm Prohibition

The first week got off to a bit of a slow start. Typically on the first day after everyone is properly sworn in, the House take up consideration of the House rules. The rules resolution is the document that governs the basics of how they operate and conduct business. Without the rules, they are unable to proceed with the normal conduct of business. While the session began Wednesday, Democrats did not present a new rules resolution until Thursday.

Many of the rules put forward were the same as what had been the practice over the past two decades while we were in the majority. Most notably, proportional representation on the committees was retained in the rules (Rules Committee being the exception). I do commend Democratic leadership for maintaining this practice that began in recent history when Republicans took control of the legislature as a way to bring more fairness to the process.

There were, however, some concerning changes. Several changes to the rules simply direct an issue to the Rules Committee to be the final arbiter rather than sending it to the House floor for final approval. Most notably, the House rules direct the Rules Committee to set the policy for firearms for Capitol Square buildings.

The Democrats on the stacked joint House and Senate Rules committee voted to ban weapons in the Capitol building and the legislative offices in the Pocahontas building. This would likely have been the final outcome on this issue had it went before the entire body, but at least then there could have been fuller debate with more transparency. What’s worse, Democrats used the excuse that Capitol Police made the recommendation, yet it was made clear by Col. Pike that no such recommendation was made.

Regardless of the individual policies, this sets a dangerous precedent moving forward and dis-proportionally provides further power to the majority party and the majority members on the Rules Committee. In addition, this also acts to limit transparency. Republicans attempted to offer amendments and to have a debate on the issue. Unfortunately the other side discarded those amendments before allowing for any discussion or debate.

Committee Assignments:

The majority party gets to decide on committee assignments. With a disproportionate number of their members coming from Northern Virginia, the Democrat majority shortchanged large swaths of the Commonwealth in doling out these assignments. Southwest Virginia, Virginia Beach, and the Richmond area were especially discounted in the assignments. Consistent with what has become the Democrat Party’s base of support, Northern Virginia will be decidedly over-represented on key committees such as the Finance & Appropriations and Commerce and Labor committees.

After the rules vote, committee assignments were named. Many will be serving on the same committees as last term, however the committees had major change in their names, such as Labor and Commerce (previously named Commerce and Labor); Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources; and Public Safety (previously named Militia, Police and Public Safety). The work of these committees is important to our local economy!


The transition of power is occurring at a time when Republican governance causes concern. Unfortunately, I think they will pursue a radical progressive agenda with their newfound power. Higher taxes, more job-killing regulation on small businesses, efforts to thwart your Second Amendment rights and the elimination of reasonable limitations on abortion are just a few of the areas where they hope to create a “new Virginia.”

While many of us have deep concerns, there are still some areas where we can find common ground to make progress on shared goals. This is clear for several of the initiatives that I will be working on this session in conjunction with a Democrat counterpart. These include measures to enhance services for survivors of sexual assault, provide some relief to our struggling dairy industry and a budget policy to give our school divisions the flexibility they need to provide mental health and other counseling services to our students.

Highlights from our Congressman Ben Cline: One of the highlights was the signing of a historic trade deal with China which will help Sixth District farmers by dramatically increasing U.S. exports. Along the same vein, I joined my Virginia colleagues in supporting the Norfolk Harbor Project which will allow Commonwealth manufacturers to more effectively ship their goods overseas.

Phase One Trade Agreement & USMCA: President Trump continued to make progress in working towards negotiating better, fairer trade deals for the United States. On Wednesday, the President signed the “Phase One” Trade Agreement with China which will serve as a tremendous boost to American businesses, farmers, manufacturers, and innovators. At the core of this deal, China has pledged to increase American imports by $200 billion over the next two years. Of that, $40 to $50 billion will be on agriculture products, $75 billion in manufacturing goods, $50 billion in the energy sector, and $40 billion in financial services. Further, this deal addresses longstanding intellectual property and trademark concerns and will establish enforcement mechanisms against pirated and counterfeit goods. This trade agreement rebalances the playing field for the United States and China and will be beneficial to both countries.

This deal comes on the heels of the Senate approving the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement. The measure creates a more level playing field for American workers, strengthens agricultural trade, and modernizes intellectual property protections. USMCA is a win for American workers, farmers, ranchers, and businesses and will create 176,000 new jobs and add $68 billion to the U.S. Economy. I look forward to the President signing this Agreement into law.

Town Halls

Prior to the new year, Ben hosted nineteen town halls – one in each locality – and plans to continue holding events like these throughout his term. Already in 2020, he has hosted three such forums in Staunton, Harrisonburg, and Botetourt County. He is planning to hold two additional town halls in Lynchburg and Roanoke City. In order to accommodate the diverse schedule of Sixth District constituents, he has rotated all of his town halls between morning, lunch, and evening meetings. Citizens of these two localities will be given priority regarding comments during the town hall. Please note that signs and noisemakers are prohibited.

Several thousand gun owners turned out at the temporary General Assembly Building on Monday, January 13! The hearing room was divided into two areas – the larger area for gun-rights supporters and the other was a smaller area for gun-control supporters. Gun owners filled up their side of the room quickly, while the gun controllers side was still pretty empty. To make it looked like they had more people and not look so pitiful, a search for gun-controllers in the waiting line outside the meeting room doors was conducted. Countless gun owners in the line were skipped over in the search for more gun-controllers. Whenever a gun controller was found, they were allowed to go into the meeting room, but no more gun owners were allowed in. Sheriff Scott Jenkins of Culpeper County and Sheriff Richard Vaughn of Grayson County were in the room in support of gun owners. Sheriff Jenkins spoke twice during the hearings. The meeting was chaired by Democrat Senator John Edwards. The Republicans on the committee pointed out multiple mistakes and even rules that were broken in the running of the committee, but the Democrat-controlled committee ignored the complaints and lurched forward anyhow, rules be damned. Republican Senator Bill Stanley, who could not be at the hearing due to a trial he had to attend, had been promised by John Edwards that no gun bills would be heard on Monday, but Senator Edwards went back on his word and gun bills were heard anyway. Senator Mark Obenshain brought up that broken promise, but to no avail.

Committee Assignments:

The majority party gets to decide on committee assignments. With a disproportionate number of their members coming from Northern Virginia, the Democrat majority shortchanged large swaths of the Commonwealth in doling out these assignments. Southwest Virginia, Virginia Beach, and the Richmond area were especially discounted in the assignments. Consistent with what has become the Democrat Party’s base of support, Northern Virginia will be decidedly over-represented on key committees such as the Finance & Appropriations and Commerce and Labor committees.

A need to tell our Senators NOT to support the gun-control bills that passed out of the Senate Judiciary committee on Monday, January 13, was sent out by multiple people multiple times via email blasts and trough Social Media. Those gun bills are:

1. SB 35 – Allows local gun control

2. SB 69 – One Handgun a month

3. SB 70 – Universal Background Check

4. SB 240 –Red Flag Law

Three gun-control bills pass the Senate, two on party-line votes and one with the help of two Republicans – Dunnavant and Hanger

Senate Red Flag bill is delayed

SB 70 passed out of the Senate by a 23 to17 vote on January 16. Senator Hanger voted yes with his Democrats friends. Please contact him to let him know you are not happy with his vote.

SB 35 passed out of the Senate by a party-line vote on January 16. SB 69, Senator Locke, reinstates the old One-Handgun-A-Month law, passed out of the Senate by a party-line vote on January 16.

Also contact Senator Deeds and tell him you are not happy with his vote.

Other bills I have been following:

Here’s the good news:

SB 104 – Stricken: would have stripped parents of their fundamental rights by permitting a minor to act as an adult for purposes of consenting to receiving any vaccination without parental notification or consent.

SB 430 – Defeated: would have forced counselors and therapists to take on clients against their wishes, while undermining the integrity of the doctor/patient relationship.

SB 32 – Carried over for the year: would have actually criminalized parents for using ANY inanimate object to discipline their own child, whether it’s a paddle, a ruler, or even a fly swatter!

I had a request at the Jan. 21st Unit Meeting for info on SB 18 – Firearms; criminal history record information checks; age requirement; penalty. I’m adding it here since I didn’t info on it at the meeting. The bill was stricken on 1/22/20 at the request of Patron (Richard Saslaw) (12-Y 0-N).

Now the BAD NEWS…

Equal Rights Amendment. SJ1 (McClellan – D) and HJ1 (Carroll Foy – D) – After a long, grueling battle, the House and Senate voted to pass the so-called ERA. And just yesterday, a House committee passed SJ1, which means it goes to the full House for a floor vote. So it’s clear the ERA resolution will be passed by the General Assembly very soon. Since the Resolution does not require the Governor’s signature, the Democrat led legislature will communicate the ratification to the archivist and then lots of litigation will ensue.

School Transgender Policies. SB 161 (Boysko – D) directs the Department of Education to develop model policies for all local school divisions on how to handle “transgender” students. These policies would impact bathroom and locker room use, participation on all-female sports teams, and likely the forced usage of a person’s preferred pronouns. It was passed by a Senate committee on a vote of 10-5.

Birth Certificate Sex Change. SB 657 (Boysko-D) will change Virginia law to allow any person to legally “change” their birth sex on their official birth certificate by doing nothing more than make a simple request to the State Registrar using a form. It was passed by a Senate committee on a vote of 10-5.

Non-Binary Driver’s Licenses. SB 246 (Surovell – D) would allow anyone to choose “X” or “non-binary” as their official sex on their driver’s license. This is nothing more than another attempt to undermine God’s design of creating mankind male and female. It is not clear what “X” means, or what the full implications of having a “non-binary” designation would be, but clearly it implies that there is some other sex than male or female. It was passed by a Senate committee on a vote of 10-5.

Same-Sex Marriage. SB 17 (Ebbin-D) and SB 39 (Edwards-D) formally repeals the statutory prohibition on marriage between individuals of the same sex. While the U.S. Supreme Court in 2015 issued a lawless 5-4 opinion forcing so-called same-sex marriage on all 50 states, God alone has authority to define marriage, and Virginians have rightly recognized that definition in our laws. These were passed by a Senate committee on a vote of 9-5.

SOGI Hate Crimes. SB 179 (Favola – D), HB 1058 (Kory – D), and HB 276 (Sullivan – D) adds “gender identity” and “sexual orientation” to the list of “hate crimes” for which a person can receive an enhanced penalty for certain crimes if those traits were part of the motivation of the crime. To be sure, all violent acts against innocent persons should be punished, but “hate crimes” actually criminalize a person’s mere thoughts separately from their actions. All of these bills passed out of Committees.

Prohibition Against Talk Therapy. SB 245 (Surovell – D) would prevent parents from seeking counseling for their children who may struggle with their sexual identity or are experiencing unwanted same-sex attractions. Under this bill, if any licensed health professionals (counselors, psychologists, physicians, etc.) provides talk therapy for these minors, they risk having their license taken away, jeopardizing their careers and livelihood. It was passed by a Senate committee on a vote of 9-6.

Gender Neutral Terms. SB 247 (Surovell) removes the titles “husband” and “wife” from the laws about divorce. This is a similar attempt to scrub from the record all traces of the reality of male and female as God designed. It was passed by a Senate committee on a vote of 11-0.

Contact me if you have a request for info on any 2020 Legislation or issue you would like me to report on. chergrindlemccoy@gmail.com – 540-570-2111.


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