Blue, Sweet Blue

Blue waves have consequences

By Peter Galuszka

The Virginia Democratic party’s stunning success in November’s General Assembly elections has, as promised, lead to some big changes, after, forward-moving legislation was stymied for years by GOP politicians, often in committee,

Let’s run through a short list of where the Dems have succeeded and what else can happen. I’ll keep this short given the detailed coverage other columnists have provided.

Guns: Big wins so far on one-purchase-a-month and universal background check. Some movement on “red flag” laws to allow law enforcement to temporary take away firearms from people deemed dangerous. Exactly how to define that remains to be seen. The Big Enchilada, however, is assault style rifle. Proposals would restrict new sales of them and limit their magazines to 10 or so rounds plus banning “bump stocks” that allow semi-automatic weapons fire just about automatically. Whatever happens, this is progress, since for years anything related to firearms got killed in committee with no real discussion.

Marijuana: It’s not time yet to run out and stock up on little bags or buy gummies with THC in them, but it is likely that possession will be decriminalized.

Gay rights: A bill looks likely that will protect LGBTQ people from discrimination in renting, buying real estate or employment. It’s about time Virginia moved into the 21st century. There are quibbles about capping penalties if a suit succeeds and that it might hurt business, but there’s plenty of evidence (look to North Carolina and Georgia) that keeping or adding to discriminatory laws forces big, worthy and modern-minded companies away.

Gas taxes: Might go up 12 cents a gallon to help with Virginia’s sticking and gnarled transportation problems just as the congestion that makes driving from Richmond to Washington a nightmare. Would this have happened before? Zippo. Nada.

Menhaden. The Virginia Marine Resources Commission will be given authority to regulate agreements keeping schools of the oily little devils in balance.

Allowing state employees to organize. Here’s another blast from the past that needs to go and the proposal seems to be making progress. Current law denies collective bargaining rights to state workers without exception. That could change. State workers would be treated as adults.

Fornication. Consensual sex between two people who are not married is still a misdemeanor worthy of a $250 fine. Do have to wear a Scarlet A? Anyway this antiquity is on its way out.

Too Bad for Right to Work: Apparently dead in committee , this one is a real bug-a-boo and you can’t read any op-ed page or blog without a rightly unified propaganda effort to beat back any repeal. Of course, you’d expect the business lobby sector to raise hell about possible repeal or changes. Their big idea? Repeal would devastate Virginia’s economy, they argue. How very provincial. Getting out of the Old Dominion, let’s look at what four states have the largest economies. They are Washington, California, Utah and Massachusetts. Only one, Utah, has a right to work law. So much for that argument! Maybe next year.

That’s it for now. But I’d say, it’s a pretty good halftime score.

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25 responses to “Blue, Sweet Blue”

  1. Steve Haner Avatar
    Steve Haner

    Nothing is fully dead until the session adjourns, but yes, the Right to Work push appears over. Carter’s House Bill 153 went to Appropriations and never emerged. Saslaw’s bill to mandate union dues but not union membership, Senate Bill 426, was defeated in Senate committee yesterday. In both cases the Blue Team balked. The question will be, is the business community now finally “woke” to the deep threat.

  2. LarrytheG Avatar

    so the sky did not fall afterall? GADZOOKS!

    Chicken Little should be ashamed!

  3. The plundering of the middle class continues apace. Remarkably, the middle class is too obtuse to notice. Perhaps that’s because only Bacon’s Rebellion and Virginia Mercury covered this story (and the Mercury buried the lede). Once upon a time, a rate increase of this magnitude would have been front page news across the state.

    1. I do tend to feel Virginia hits middle class hard to let the other ends of the spectrum have a better life. However my energy about that issue ( I was going to compare to MD) was lessened when Gov Hogan basically said he also wants to move MD more in that direction.

  4. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Jim. Sorry but what rate hike are you talking about?

    1. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      Jim’s comment probably belonged on my earlier story (which of course you pushed off top within minutes of my posting it….something I don’t do to the others…..). But of course the total remake of the state’s energy economy is another “accomplishment” of the Blue Team, missing from your list.

      1. Yeah, whoops. Wrong story.

  5. sherlockj Avatar

    Chicken little didn’t buy gas or electricity nor was he the target of extortion lawsuits. Those skies will fall over time. As for local newspapers reporting news from Richmond, I believe the Times Dispatch may be the only paper with a General Assembly reporter and photographer. The sky has already fallen on the rest.

    1. Steve Haner Avatar
      Steve Haner

      Post, Daily Press/VA Pilot, Roanoke Times still in regular attendance. Some smaller papers from time to time. But compared to 35 years ago when I was among the ink-stained wretches, it is a very small contingent with very little output. The broadcast contingent is even more deeply reduced. This is truly dangerous. There are stories galore not getting touched.

  6. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    I didn’t post anything about energy because it is so complicated and a work in progress (as, of course, is everything else). I will revisit with my take when I feel ready. Already, there is no time frame for posting on this blog (at least in the decade or so I have been writing for it). I am not trying to somehow upstage you by timing my filing to overcome yours. I filed because it was convenient for me and I have other things to do today. I don’t know where you got that idea. It’s not how it works.

  7. johnrandolphofroanoke Avatar

    Number of days until Virginia’s Next Inauguration on
    Saturday January 15, 2022
    705 Days
    101 Weeks
    23 months
    16,920 hours
    1,015,200 minutes
    60,912,000 seconds

    1. djrippert Avatar

      Welcome to office Governor Petersen.

      1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
        Dick Hall-Sizemore

        Interesting prediction.

      2. johnrandolphofroanoke Avatar

        Controversial voting record on firearms and the his support of the name Washington “Redskins” makes dear old Chap incompatible with modern Democrats.

        1. djrippert Avatar

          Maybe. But if the Dems win the presidency in 2020 there will be blowback. There always is. 2021 will be a state referendum on whomever the Dems elect. Against that backdrop a relative moderate like Petersen might be the best chance to keep the office.

          1. johnrandolphofroanoke Avatar

            Chap likes bow ties. I think those have fallen out of favor thanks to photography from 1984.

  8. djrippert Avatar

    The problem with “The Blue Wave” is the same as with all government spending programs. They don’t work. Remember when Bob McDonnell pushed through “the biggest tax hike in Virginia history” to address transportation? That was quite some time ago. How has that gone? Significant improvements from all those additional tax dollars? How about the endless tolls on roads that have long since been paid for? How about the regional sales tax increment? Lots of progress on our transportation problems? Any progress on our transportation issues? Oh, but now we need another 12 cents per gallon for “transportation”. Who wants to bet that six years from now there won’t be any noticeable impact from that money either?

    1. Dick Hall-Sizemore Avatar
      Dick Hall-Sizemore

      They screwed up that “biggest tax hike” by indexing it to the price of gas. Part of what is going on now is to undo that mistake because revenues have been falling.

      1. djrippert Avatar

        Yes, government passed an incompetent law and then spent the next ten years admiring the problem. Exactly why we don’t need bigger government.

  9. Peter Galuszka Avatar
    Peter Galuszka

    Ripper, Gov. Petersen? You know my real role model is Steve Haner.

    1. djrippert Avatar

      I could support Steve Haner for Governor. But if Steve becomes governor who will monitor the way that you and I post articles and comments on BR? The blog will degenerate into the Wild Wild West of using the reply key to reply and posting articles when they are finished. No, we need Sheriff Steve here. How about “Mom” for governor? I was sold as soon as “Mom” adopted The Joker as an icon. I even have the election tag line – Vote Mom for Apple Pie and Mayhem. Who doesn’t like apple pie and mayhem?

      1. Peter Galuszka Avatar
        Peter Galuszka

        I agree Ripper, I just wish Haner would lighten up a bit

      2. If I can’t carry my 1911 into Capitol Square, I have no interest in being Da Guv. Da Guv needs to have the ability to walk into the Fraternity, err, House Chambers, let off a few rounds into the ceiling and bring those reprobates to order.

  10. warrenhollowbooks Avatar

    “let’s look at what four states have the largest economies. They are Washington, California, Utah and Massachusetts. Only one, Utah, has a right to work law. So much for that argument!”

    So . . . Utah has a larger economy than Texas?

    1. Reed Fawell 3rd Avatar
      Reed Fawell 3rd

      ““let’s look at what four states have the largest economies. They are Washington, California, Utah and Massachusetts. Only one, Utah, has a right to work law. So much for that argument!”

      NO, it’s the exact opposite, the total reverse.

      It shows why the lack of Right to Work laws have screwed up Washington, California, and Massachusetts despite those states’ incrediable advantages otherwise.

      And, conversely, Utah’s Right to Work laws explains that state’s phenomenal success despite it’s incrediable disadvantages otherwise.

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