Crash and Burn

Lots of truly awful legislation is making its way through the General Assembly, but at least two of the worst bills appear to be dead. No guarantees they won’t be back next year, but we can rest easy for now.

Electoral votes still mean something… A bill to award Virginia’s electoral votes to the presidential candidate winning the popular vote has failed to advance in the General Assembly. Under SB 399, Virginia would have joined the National Popular Vote Compact on the grounds that the electoral college is an archaic institution that thwarts the popular will. Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, withdrew the bill for unexplained reasons, reports the Associated Press. The purpose of the electoral college is protect smaller states from domination by the larger, or, as Sen. Ryan McDougle, R-Hanover, puts it in practical terms, “to ensure that certain large states like California and New York, now, don’t have all the control in making a decision for president.”

The United States is not a democracy, in which the majority will always prevails. It is a democratic republic with checks and balances designed to protect against the tyranny of the majority. In a vast, diverse state of nearly 330 million people, that’s more important than ever.

Labor union payoff bites the dust… A Senate bill that would have empowered some Northern Virginia localities to dictate labor standards to developers of large real estate projects died in committee Monday, reports the Washington Business Journal. Under the bill, also sponsored by Ebbin, localities could have made approval of special use permits in zoning cases contingent up private-sector to enter into “binding contractual commitments that provide protections for the skilled and unskilled workers hired to build the development project.” In other words, the bill was a payoff to the construction unions. Fortunately, the Senate didn’t go along.