Sunday, April 14, 2013
"No officer, I was just typing directions into my GPS…"
Texting while driving is dangerous, but some people do it anyway. This year, Virginia's General Assembly passed a measure that increased the fine to $125 (it was $20) for the first infraction and $250 for the second. But Virginia legislators did not pass a hands-free measure like they have in the District, and as such enforcing the law could prove difficult. The problem: Using cell phones to dial a number or setting the phone GPS is legal. “Distracted driving is a big problem, but it’s bigger than just phone use,” said Russ Rader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, to the Washington Post. “Even if a law were successful in stopping phone use and texting, it wouldn’t eliminate distracted driving.” Northern Virginia Del. Scott …
Wednesday, April 10, 2013
Sen. Toddy Puller discusses two hot button issues in the Virginia General Assembly's veto session last week.
The General Assembly reconvened on April 3 to take up the Governor’s amendments and vetoes. HB 2313, the transportation bill, which caused so much debate during the session, came back with amendments which addressed concerns of constitutionality and reduced some of the burdensome fees that my constituents were displeased with. I heard from over one hundred constituents on the issue of the Governor’s recent transportation plan, HB 2313, who came down on both sides of the issue. Although I still feel the repeal of the gas tax and the fee on hybrid cars are misguided, I voted for the bill again during our April 3 veto session for one simple reason: this is the biggest increase in funding for transportation in 27 years, providing substantial …
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Fairfax City Sen. Chap Petersen voted against amendment that will prohibit certain health insurance companies in Virginia from providing coverage for women seeking an abortion.
Thursday, April 4
By Mark Robinson Capital News Service The Virginia General Assembly narrowly approved an amendment on Wednesday by Gov. Bob McDonnell that will prohibit certain health insurance companies in Virginia from providing coverage for women seeking an abortion. McDonnell added the anti-abortion amendment to House Bill 1900, sponsored by Delegate Thomas Davis Rust (R-Herndon). The assembly passed the bill in February to comply with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). Under the system, Virginians who cannot afford health insurance will participate in a federally operated health insurance exchange. McDonnell’s amendment will prohibit insurers participating in the exchange from covering abortion except in the case of …
Friday, March 15, 2013
The bill will generate $880 million for statewide transportation projects, and Northern Virginia is guaranteed a piece.
The recently passed state transportation funding bill isn't perfect, but it was reached through compromise - that was the message conveyed Tuesday night by local members of the Virginia General Assembly to the South County Federation. "The bill is pretty bullet proof," said Del. Dave Albo (D-42), a House representative on the transportation bill conference committee. "And if the money is not use for roads, the bill stipulates that all the revenue sources cease to exist… There's going to be some things in there you don't like, there are some things I don't like. It's not a perfect plan." The transportation bill will generate $880 million in new revenue for state roadway projects, and Fairfax County will see $47.6 million annually and the …
Thursday, February 28, 2013
It's now a County responsibility to clean up signs in medians and near roads managed by the Commonwealth.
Tired of seeing all those illegally placed signs on the median during election season? A recently-passed bill in the Virginia General Assembly has given localities in Virginia the ability to clean up local signs and fine offenders up to $100. “Not only is this a safety issue, but it is a quality of life issue. If you live near a neighborhood with 15 signs at intersection that say ‘We buy houses’ or ‘We clean gutters,’ it looks horrible and reduces our property values,” said Delegate Dave Albo (R-42), who sponsored the bill. According to House Bill 34: Any person who in any manner paints, prints, places, puts or affixes any sign or advertisement upon or to any rock, stone, tree, fence, stump, pole, mile-board, milestone, danger-sign, …
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Final budget amendments includes $3.4 million to add 1,700 in-state undergraduate seats at Virginia universities.
Tuesday, February 26
by Jessica Dahlberg, Capital News Service As the 2013 legislative session concluded, the Virginia General Assembly approved amendments to the state’s two-year budget Saturday that included expanding Medicaid and spending more money on education. The amendments were passed by both the House (on an 83-17 vote) and the Senate (31-8) after tense discussions over Medicaid, which provides medical care for low-income residents. Legislators agreed to expand the program if certain reforms are made. Del. Barbara Comstock (R-McLean) was the only Vienna-area legislator to vote against the budget. See vote tally below. The reforms will make Medicaid look similar to non-government health insurance policies, according to legislators. Under the reforms, …
Friday, February 15, 2013
Ebbin: Proposed law was aimed at protecting lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender state employees.
A Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee this week tabled a bill that would have prevented the state government from discriminating against someone based on their sexual orientation, essentially killing the matter for this legislative session. "What it means is that it's still perfectly legal to fire somebody because of their sexual orientation," state Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, told Patch. Ebbin and Sen. Don McEachin, a Richmond Democrat, were the primary sponsors of the bill, which passed the Senate late last month 24-16. Most of Virginia's top 25 employers have nondiscrimination policies in place that include sexual orientation, according to Ebbin's office. In 2005, then-Gov. Mark Warner issued an executive order that protected …
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Lorton-area representatives Sen. George Barker (D-39th) and Sen. Toddy Puller split on amendment. Barker votes "no," and Puller votes "yes."
Sunday, February 3
By Shelby Mertens, Capital News Service Starting in 2017, Virginia voters could have the opportunity to re-elect the governor to a second consecutive term if the House joins the Senate in seeking to amend the state’s Constitution. The Senate this week approved a proposed constitutional amendment to allow governors to serve two terms in a row. The vote was 25-15. SJ 276 was co-sponsored by Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-Alexandria) and Dels. Scott Surovell (D-Mount Vernon) and David Ramadan (R-South Riding). Sen. George Barker (D-39th), who represents a large portion of Lorton, voted against the constitutional amendment. Sen. Toddy Puller (D-36th), who represents a portion of Lorton, voted in favor of it. The resolution now moves to the House of …
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Virginia State Senator Toddy Puller asks constituents to write to local officials to push for 911 functionality.
This is an exciting week in Richmond with many important issues facing the General Assembly. There is one of particular note that I know everyone around the Commonwealth is talking about right now — the reconfirmation of Helen Dragas. The vote took place Monday, and as I have mentioned before, I will not support her confirmation. I believe her actions during the summer and since then have damaged the reputation of our stellar flagship university. These are serious matters and should not be rewarded with a reappointment. Several of my bills on military and veteran issues are gaining support and moving ahead. My “V3” bill (Virginia Values Veterans) SB 829, will create a pilot program in the Commonwealth to reduce the high unemployment among …
Monday, January 21, 2013
Sen. Puller addresses the issue of gun control.
(Editor's Note: The following letter was sent by Senator Linda T. "Toddy" Puller to her constituents on Jan. 18. It is also published on her website.) Thank you to all my constituents who have sent me emails and letters in recent weeks regarding the complex and important issue of gun control and the Second Amendment. In light of recent tragedies, from Columbine to Virginia Tech to Sandy Hook strong emotions and concerns on both sides are understandable. Legitimate concern over preserving rights of gun owners, however, must be examined carefully along with the issues of mental health and protecting our children. I believe any serious legislation or debate on the issue of guns must directly address keeping firearms away from dangerous …