Hi, This is Rob Bloxom with this week’s Capitol Report. A lot of bills with long lasting effects for our Commonwealth are being voted on in the House of Delegates. During the last election cycle I made a comment about our state becoming California East and that statement brought smiles and well as scoffing. Fast forward to today and upon looking at what the new majority in the House has voted for, one can easily see what I was referring to back then. I will highlight just a few bills due to not having enough pages or time to describe how far Virginia has swung. I also want to preface my comments by acknowledging that the Republican majority of the last twenty years probably became too pro-business as well as too tough on crime.
The first bill I would like to highlight is House Bill 1965. This legislation puts Virginia under the California Clean Air Act. It requires the car dealers in Virginia to sell 8% “Levs” and “Sevs” cars by the year 2025. It gives our autonomy to another state. We are currently under the Federal Clean Air Act which would change, making our state subservient to California.
Another bill is House Bill 1888. This bill makes the absentee voters list permanent. This list of people will receive an absentee ballot at every election, not an application for an absentee ballot, but a ballot. This sending of absentee ballots will continue until the voter opts out of receiving one or the voter registrar removes the person from the list.
There has also been an onslaught of criminal reform bills. House Bill 1936 lowers the penalty for robbery and House Bill 2290 lowers the penalty on repeat offenders. All this accompanies House Bill 2312, the legalizing of recreational marijuana which gives preference to convicted drug dealers in the selection of licensing sellers. Virginia legalized gambling last year which means that casinos are on the way and sports betting is currently being advertised on television.
I close with this: Not all change is bad, but many of these bills will have long lasting consequences that I feel will be detrimental to the Commonwealth. The collateral damage and the failure of the majority party to fully vet legislation or heed the warnings from the minority party is quite apparent and actually arrogant. I can only hope that the Senate takes a close look at the legislation we are sending them and change such pieces to a more acceptable form.
I encourage you to follow along the legislative process by streaming the committee and floor sessions at https://virginiageneralassembly.gov/house/chamber/chamberstream.php. As always, I welcome you to contact me with any questions or concerns at my district office at (757)824-3456 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.