My workload during the third week of Session seemed piled higher than the mighty snow heaps lining downtown Richmond’s streets and walkways. Despite this, several significant bills passed the House this week, including two bills to fight federal regulations.
HB2 requires that any state plan to meet the EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CCP) submitted to the EPA be approved by the people’s representatives: the General Assembly. Our own Virginia non-partisan State Corporation Commission (SCC) has stated our electricity rates will go up by 40%. Certainly the people via their elected representatives deserve a say in any such plan!
While many ‘watchers’ of SCOTUS predict the CCP will be overturned, that will take years to resolve any plan that Virginia submits. In the meantime, this is almost assured to drive up Virginia’s rates for everyone. The poor and the middle class cannot afford a 40% increase, and the impact on businesses and jobs would be devastating.
HB18 is related to another federal overreach. The U.S. National Labor Board is trying to say that a franchisee and his/her employers are not locally employed; rather, that they are employees of the franchisor, for example, the parent corporation of McDonald’s. This is nothing but a huge push to unionize millions of workers across the United States.
This regulation was approved, of course, by two of the three members of the National Labor Board who are past union officials. Lesson here: it matters who presidents and governors appoint and, by default, for whom citizens cast their votes during state and national elections.
We also passed a bill to prevent Virginia from signing onto the federal Common Core Education Standards. I supported this bill.
On Friday, after lengthy and candid discussions, an agreement with Governor McAuliffe was announced to restore and expand concealed carry reciprocity agreements. The House has made reversing Attorney General Herring’s announcement to sever these agreements a top priority.
The agreement grants universal reciprocity in return for prohibiting individuals under permanent protective orders from possessing a firearm and allowing voluntary background checks for transfers of firearms between individuals at gun shows. The bills carrying out this agreement will come to the House floor in a few days. I will be carefully monitoring them to ensure they meet the terms of this compromise agreement.
I spent much of the week working on the new two-year budget. I must say I am concerned over the size and scope of the Governor’s proposed budget. It is almost 13% larger than the prior budget and proposes $2.4B in borrowing for all sorts of capital projects across the Commonwealth.
And, of course, I am seeing budget amendment requests for even more money from numerous groups, agencies and organizations. My review and actions on the budget will include careful analysis of the “anticipated revenue,” how much Virginia prudently can borrow for needed capital expenditures (colleges, buildings, ports, parks, etc.), and prioritizing spending on core government functions, such as education, public safety, and operating the government.
This week my HB263 came on the floor for first and second readings and will be voted on February 2. The bill updates the membership for the Western Virginia Public Education Consortium.
Next week, several of my other bills will be in committee and possibly on the floor. Among these bills is my HB587, which clarifies the 1998 law preserving war memorials and monuments. Those erected prior to 1998 will be protected as well as those erected after 1998. I have received hundreds of phone calls, letters, and emails from all over the Commonwealth in support of HB587.
Once people were able to dig out from the snowstorm and safely travel, we welcomed an abundance of visitors.
Those making the long, snowy trip to Richmond and my office included Primland’s Steve Helms; Woolwine’s Doug Perry; Franklin County Farm Bureau’s Scott Sink; Rocky Mount Town Manager James Ervin, Assistant Town Manager Matt Hankins and Town Council member Jon Snead; Patrick County Treasurer Sandra Stone and Henry County Treasurer Scott Grindstaff; Patrick County Commissioner of Revenue Janet Rorrer and Franklin County Commissioner of Revenue Margaret Torrence.
To schedule a meeting with me, contact my legislative assistant, William Pace, at (804) 698-1009 or DelCPoindexter@house.virginia.gov or write to me at P.O. Box 406, Room 802, Richmond, VA 23218. I invite you to visit my page on Facebook and my website at www.votepoindexter.com.