Originally posted at Progress|VA.
Conservative Lawmakers Lining Up Ideological Legislation
Conservative lawmakers did not waste any time in getting partisan legislative proposals started for the next session that starts in January. Some controversial proposals are already public, just two weeks since the election, and they include:
- “Personhood” Anti-Abortion Legislation – Similar to legislation recently rejected in Mississippi, Del. Bob Marshall has already filed a “Personhood” bill for the upcoming session. (Washington Post, Virginia’s Legislative Information System)
- Ending Criminal Background Checks for Gun Purchases – The Virginian-Pilot reports, “Gun-rights advocates have lobbied Gov. Bob McDonnell to scrap the program… Efforts to cancel the state’s 22-year-old background check system… could be debated in the upcoming General Assembly session.” This will likely be just one of many pro-gun proposals from conservatives.
- Undoing Compromise Redistricting – Conservatives led by Republican Leader Tommy Norment would redo this year’s Virginia State Senate and House redistricting to be more favorable to Republicans. (Virginia Gazette) Conservatives are also trying to stall Congressional redistricting until January, in order to pass a map that will protect their 8 – 3 Republican Congressional majority and eliminate the creation of a second minority seat. (Washington Post)
- Conservative Immigration Policy - New legislation, and legislation copied from other states, will have significant anti-immigrant impacts on Virginia law enforcement, businesses, social and medical services, education, and housing. (Change Servant)
- Anti-Union Legislation – Del. Marshall has filed a bill to prohibit state revenue for the Dulles metro project if there is a project labor agreement. (VA Legislative Information System) Senate candidate George Allen also recently voiced opposition to Project Labor Agreements. (Progressive Point)
- Removing a Ban on Uranium Mining – Conservative lawmakers will likely help the uranium industry remove Virginia’s 30-year ban on uranium mining in the Commonwealth. (Keep the Ban)
- Exempting VA Coal Companies from the Clean Water Act, Clean Air Act, and All Federal Regulations – Last year, conservatives passed legislation in the House of Delegates that would exempt any products mined, manufactured, or produced in any other way and sold in Virginia from all federal regulations. That means coal companies would be exempt from the Clean Water Act and utilities would be exempt from the Clean Air Act if they were burning coal mined in Virginia. (Virginia Chapter Sierra Club) This will very likely be put forward again in January.
- Major Budget Cuts and Layoffs – Gov. McDonnell will soon submit a budget that will likely include layoffs and cuts of up to 6% for Virginia agencies, as well as many changes disingenuously labeled “reforms” from McDonnell’s commission that excluded Democratic members. (Richmond Times Dispatch Oct. 28, 2011; Richmond Times Dispatch Nov. 20, 2011)
Also likely to return is a proposal to change pension plans from defined-benefit to defined-contribution–a conservative plan to hand over teachers and firefighters’ retirement accounts to Wall Street for them to gamble away. (Virginian-Pilot) We can expect many other conservative legislative proposals, such as school vouchers, anti-transparency measures, and a right-to-work constitutional amendment.
Following Republican gains in Virginia’s State Senate and House, conservative lawmakers believe they will be able to force through ideological and controversial bills that had previously been stopped by the State Senate. These proposals are not in the best interest of Virginians and we cannot allow them to become law because we weren’t paying attention.