Virginia’s General Assembly Is Back

by Kerry Dougherty

They’re saving the good stuff. They have to be.

No way is Virginia’s General assembly going to spend the next 30 days passing happy resolutions designating November 12 as Uyghur-American Friendship Day or dedicating September as Gospel Music Heritage Month.

Sure, the Democratic majority is going to legalize marijuana and outlaw the death penalty. They’re probably going to pass a Virginia version of the Green New Deal, too.

But where are the major gun control bills? Heck, where are the crazy measures?

I miss the old days when the opening of the General Assembly session was eagerly awaited by late-night comics looking for fodder. Seems both Democrats and Republicans in the General Assembly have lost their sense of fun.

Remember Norfolk Del. Algie Howell’s infamous 2005  “Droopy Drawers” bill? The one that would have made it illegal and punishable by a $50 fine for any man in Virginia to wear pants hanging below his derriere? That gem caused the entire nation to laugh at us and gave headline writers license to dust off puns like, “An Embarrassment of Britches.”

Howell’s proposal became such a distraction that an emergency meeting was held that winter to kill it.

A year earlier, Virginia made headlines over HB158 that would have banned teenaged nudist camps. Yep, that was a thing.

Here’s what I wrote at the time:

White Tail Park, the 19-year-old family nudist resort on about 50 wooded acres near Ivor, started a “leadership” camp for nudist youths last summer.

In addition to the predictable camp activities, this one focuses on self-esteem, promising: You go home from camp with a new respect for the “nude you.”

Oh my.

The pilot program lasted one week and included 38 campers. All were the children of nudists. Most had visited White Tail with their parents…

Try as we might, non-nudists are never going to understand people who want to play shuffleboard wearing only a hat.

My favorite bill came in 2007,  however,  when then-State Sen. Ken Cuccinelli of Fairfax — who now serves as Senior Official Performing the Duties of the Deputy Secretary for the Department of Homeland Security — introduced the Mr. Magoo Motorcycle Mandate.

At the behest of one of his visually impaired constituents who was itching to get on a Harley, The Cooch proposed that those who wear “bioptic telescopic lenses” — little telescopes embedded in glasses — should be allowed to drive motorcycles.

That bill failed. Not sure even Cuccinelli voted for it.

I spent most of yesterday reading through scores of bills filed so far in this session and I’m sorry to report that the amusement factor is missing.

There’s the annual bill that would revoke the Sundays ban on hunting on public lands, one of the last vestiges of Virginia’s blue laws that were abolished in 1988.

This measure has no hope of passing because city folk from Northern Virginia have no respect for hunters. Plus, the bill is the baby of Del. James Edmunds, a Republican from Halifax.

That R after his name pretty much guarantees his bills will be tabled by the majority.

Ditto for Del. Jason Miyares’ HB2145 that would cap tuition at $2,500 a semester for any state college or university that does not offer in-person classes.

Great bill. Pity it will probably languish in an obscure committee.

Same goes for HB1742 filed by Del. Michael Webert, a Republican from Rappahannock County. He wants schools that are not offering in-person classes to give vouchers to parents who want to put their kids in private schools where they might actually learn something.

As if the teachers’ unions and their Richmond poodles would allow THAT.

Another doomed measure is SB1131 that would limit a governor’s emergency orders to 45 days. That’s the brainchild of Sen. David Suetterlein, a Republican from Roanoke.

That common sense measure has as much chance of passing as HB1773, introduced by Republican Del. Nick Freitas of Madison County, who wants to make it legal for Virginians to carry a concealed weapon without a permit.

Dare to dream, Nick. Where do you think you are, New Hampshire?

I read through most of the bills filed so far. Not a lot there. Where are the heavy-handed gun control measures and the anti-cop bills?

It’s a safe bet that they’re coming.

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39 responses to “Virginia’s General Assembly Is Back

  1. Bill introduction continues through next Friday….Something fun will certainly appear.

    And no, on the issue of who loves the police the most, the world has turned upside down. That’s one more result from the freaking madness last week, Democrats who dissed the cops all last year are now their best buds. I love the video of the national guardsmen sleeping on the hard floors of the Capitol just for the visual — surely they could billet somewhere else and be mustered rapidly if needed. But the visual image rules…

  2. I’m surprised one of you hasn’t addressed the House plan to convene for its daily floor session at 4pm instead of noon. What’s the back story on that?

    • They think they can get more done in committees if they have several sets of those meetings first. Maybe at 4 pm we can spend less time on the “morning hour” (I call it moaning hour) political posturing and introductions of your fourth cousin visiting from Tennessee….Of course they won’t be meeting concurrent with the Less Numerous Body and that might get to be a problem….

      Yesterday’s House session crashed on me just as they were debating the schedule issues, so I missed most of that. “Fatal Error: Too Many Connections.” This is going to just suck.

      Even without the traditional rousing cheers and applause the Governor ran on for an hour last night. Poor Jeff Schapiro missed his time on the Boob Tube. Work expands to fit the time allotted.

    • Happy hour?

  3. And, who knows what could be introduced in a 2021 Special Session? The 2020 Special Session had its share of surprises.

    • They are moving rapidly to year-round. We need their genius near at hand more than just the winter months. Probably, what, one actual farmer in the GA now? Tony Wilt?

      • Nope. Wilt owns or manages a concrete company. Matt Fariss and James Edmunds are actual farmers. Charles Poindexter is also listed as a farmer, but I suspect that he may be what used to be called a “gentleman farmer”.

  4. “This measure has no hope of passing because city folk from Northern Virginia have no respect for hunters.”

    Silly comment. Plenty of people up here hunt. The ones who don’t hunt don’t think about hunting at all in my opinion.

    Of course you should be able to hunt on Sundays.

  5. I go through the same process every year and am also disappointed in the lack of fodder this year . About the closest I could come was from, no surprise, Del. Guzman:

    HB 2213 Study; gold mining; prohibition on permitting; report.
    Introduced by: Elizabeth R. Guzman | all patrons … notes | add to my profiles

    SUMMARY AS INTRODUCED:
    Study; gold mining; prohibition on permitting; report. Directs the Secretary of Natural Resources, the Secretary of Health and Human Resources, and the Secretary of Commerce and Trade to conduct a study of the mining of gold in the Commonwealth. The bill requires that the study be conducted in consultation with the Virginia Council on Environmental Justice and appropriate stakeholders, including experts in mining, hydrology, toxicology, and other fields; environmental organizations; representatives of potentially affected communities in localities with significant deposits of gold; and residents of Native American communities in such counties.

    The bill provides that the study shall evaluate the impacts of gold mining on public health, safety, and welfare; evaluate whether existing air and water quality regulations are sufficient; consider which processing and beneficiation techniques, including cyanide heap leaching and cyanide vat leaching, should be permitted; consider whether the dewatering of an open pit mine should be permitted; make a recommendation as to whether the issuance of any permit to operate a gold mine should be prohibited; and report its findings to the General Assembly by July 1, 2023. The bill also prohibits the issuance of any permit by the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy to operate a gold mine of an area larger than 10 acres until July 1, 2024.

  6. “Virginia’s General Assembly Is Back”

    Like a low-grade sinus infection that I just can’t shake…

  7. Aside from Amanda Chase, who else from the GOP are in the Virginia Quacus?

  8. Interesting:
    Introduced By Del. Lee Carter (D-Manassas) HB1906 to add § 24.2-947.4:2. Contributions from corporations prohibited; civil penalty.
    Prohibits contributions from any non-tax-exempt corporation to any candidate, campaign committee, political committee, or political party committee. The bill imposes a civil penalty of up to twice the amount of the contribution for a violation of the prohibition, to be levied and collected by the State Board of Elections.

    • So, Dominion has to create a tax-exempt shell?

      • Nope. That’s already not allowed.

        “Under the Internal Revenue Code, all section 501(c)(3) organizations are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office. Contributions to political campaign funds or public statements of position (verbal or written) made on behalf of the organization in favor of or in opposition to any candidate for public office clearly violate the prohibition against political campaign activity. Violating this prohibition may result in denial or revocation of tax-exempt status and the imposition of certain excise taxes.”

        So individual contributions only, and party committees?

        • “Nope. That’s already not allowed.”

          Uh yep. And they don’t coordinate either. No way in Hell that the candidate could possibly let them know how to spend their ad money on “issues”. Why, they’re forbidden.

  9. Introduced By Del. Lashrecse D. Aird (D-Petersburg) HJ537
    Racism; public health crisis. Recognizes that racism is a public health crisis in Virginia. House Joint Resolution that
    WHEREAS, as the site where the first enslaved African people arrived in what is now the United States, the epicenter of the American slave trade, and the former capital of the Confederacy, Virginia has a long and embedded history of racism, particularly against African Americans; and <>>
    Whereas, there are numerous steps that Virginia can take to address systemic racism and its impact on public health, including:
    1. Expand the charge of the Virginia Department of Health’s Office of Health Equity to address racism as a public health crisis to ensure that statewide policy efforts are analyzed through an intersectional race equity lens and offer funding recommendations;

    2. Retain the Commission to Examine Racial Inequity in Virginia Law as a permanent commission;

    3. Require training for elected officials, staff members, and state employees on how to recognize and combat implicit biases;

    4. Establish a glossary of terms and definitions concerning racism and health equity; and

    5. Promote community engagement, actively engage all citizens on issues of racism, and provide tools to engage actively and authentically with communities of color;

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