General Assembly Reconvenes Today

Veto Session starts today at 12noon. Delegate Rob Bell sent out an email last night briefly describing today’s session, which includes a link to the General Assembly’s live video feed, copied and pasted below.

McAuliffe has bragged to the media that he has vetoed more bills than any Governor in the history of Virginia. McAuliffe has also offered a budget amendment that would empower him to expand Medicaid in Virginia under Obamacare.

In addition to his 38 other vetoes, McAuliffe vetoed two of my bills. The first, House Bill 2343, would require state officials to provide local registrars with the list of their voters who are also registered to vote in another state. The second, House Bill 1578, is the “Tebow Bill,” which would permit schools to let homeschoolers play on high school athletic teams.

For a summary of all Governor McAuliffe’s vetoes, click here.

Not surprisingly, every single veto is of a Republican bill. Some represented years of work, and of course had to pass both houses to even reach the Governor’s desk. We will need 2/3 vote to pass any of these bills — which means we will need votes from some Democrats to be successful. You can follow the floor debate [starting Wednesday April 5 at 12noon] here.

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Petition Against Richmond Becoming A Sanctuary City

The mayor of Richmond wants to make the commonwealth’s capital a sanctuary city and Virginia First Foundation is pushing back against this unlawful idea. They sent out an email with links to their online petition and to their written petition for volunteers to print out and circulate, info copied and pasted below. Help out Virginia First Foundation in stopping Richmond’s mayor from his brazenly illegal decree.

How you can help:

1.Print off a petition and circulate it in your community. Completed petitions can be mailed to our organization at the address located at the bottom of the petition. Petitions for state-wide signatures can be found here and for Richmond City residents here.

2.Sign our online petition by clicking here.

3. Post information about the Mayor’s action on social media by sharing information and updates from our Facebook page. We are asking that when you send out Tweets to please use the hashtag “RVA1st”.

We appreciate all your support! Together, we can push back against the Mayor and his liberal friends.

VFF Logo Stack.

Virginia Senate Holds At 21-19

Two special elections today to fill open seats in the Virginia State Senate both went to the incumbent party. Republican Mark Peake won in the 22nd District and Democrat Jennifer McClellan won in the 9th.

No real surprise here. Democrats were hoping for a spoiler independent candidate in the 22nd who could take votes from the right, but he did terrible. There was an issue with ballots in Lynchburg, but everything seems ok. Peake was supposed to win, and he did. The 9th is so hopeless for Republicans that we didn’t run a Republican nominated candidate, so no surprise there either.

Tomorrow begins a new session in Richmond for the General Assembly. The scoreboard in the State Senate will remain as it did last year with a 21-19 majority for the Republicans.

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Physical Privacy Act Press Conference Thursday In Richmond

Virginia First Foundation has announced a press conference scheduled for Thursday morning January 12th in Richmond to support the Physical Privacy Act (HB 1612). Delegate Bob Marshall, patron of the bill, will speak at the press conference. Below is the email from Virginia First Foundation announcing the event.

Our first priority is passage of the Physical Privacy Act (HB 1612), sponsored by Delegate Bob Marshall. We will be holding a press conference on January 12th at the Capitol in House Room 1 at 10am.

This legislation, if passed, will ensure that the privacy of minors is protected and will ensure that no child is unwillingly or unknowingly violated in any way while utilizing public school locker rooms and restrooms. Students wishing to seek private accommodations may still do so, for whatever reason, as long as they do not violate the rights of privacy for other students.

This legislation also ensures that parents are included in making decisions. Parents will be notified if a child wishes to be acknowledged as the opposite sex and will be notified if accommodations are requested. It also encompasses protection in places like our family public restroom facilities, such as rest stops, and in government buildings.

Virginia First Foundation board member, Pastor Travis Witt issued the following statement: “HB 1612 is a positive and common sense approach to the safety, privacy, and well-being of all of Virginia’s children. To ensure that individual privacy and safety are protected for all of Virginia’s children, this bill must be passed. It makes adequate provisions for children seeking single-use restrooms when needed and ensures that children are not forced to experience forced physical exposure to the opposite sex against their will. This is a common sense solution for students, parents, administrators, and legislators. We urge all Virginia lawmakers to support this bill. This bill includes parents in the decision making and every liberty-minded individual supports privacy and safety for all of Virginia’s children. In 2010, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Children’s Bureau report entitled, “Child Maltreatment 2010,” highlighted that sexual abuse is not solely restricted to physical contact. Such abuse can include non-contact abuse such as exposure. The long term effect on children cannot fully be measured. Psychologists have been warning for years that early exposure to sexual issues can have long term damage on children such as early sex, high-risk sex, and sexual violence. Public school facilities are not the place for social experiments that permit early exposure to sexual issues when there is ample evidence that such exposure can lead to long term developmental damage. The Physical Privacy Act ensures that safety, privacy, and well-being of all of Virginia’s children are protected.”

You can sign-up for updates from Virginia First Foundation at VAfirstfoundation.org/join.

VFF Logo Stack.

Howell And Norment Request Special Session

House of Delegates Speaker Bill Howell and Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment have sent a letter to Governor Terry McAuliffe requesting a special session of the General Assembly. The Republican leaders want to discuss the governor’s unilateral and unconstitutional restoration of voting rights for over 200,000 felons.

Their letter is pasted below and linked here.

Norment and Howell letter to T Mac

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T-Mac Restores Voting Rights For Felons For Hillary

In a move to no doubt fill the voter rolls with as many Democratic votes as possible Governor Terry McAuliffe signed an executive action today restoring the voting rights of over 200,000 felons.

In a presidential election year with his good friend Hillary Clinton running for her last shot at the White House, T-Mac will do everything he can do to help deliver the Old Dominion. This move, done after the General Assembly has adjourned, is a political power play designed to stuff the ballot box for Clinton.

State Senator and congressional candidate Tom Garrett tweeted that T-Mac’s unilateral action “Does NOT comply with VA law.”

Get Ready For Hillary everyone. T-Mac and his cronies will rig the game for Clinton every chance they get.

Garrett tweet on voting rights for felons.

Marsden Mocks 2A Supporters

Today is Lobby Day at the General Assembly down in Richmond. This is a day intended for grassroots activists to directly engage their elected representatives in constructive dialogue about the issues of the day. It is supposed to be less confrontational and more cordial. But not everyone is decent enough to handle it that way.

Below is a photo of State Senator Dave Marsden from Fairfax putting up a sign that mocks 2nd Amendment supporters, the largest lobby group that will be in Richmond today.

So if you are at the General Assembly today please stop by Senator’s Marsden’s office, room number 429 in the General Assembly Building, and let him know that his out of touch politics and the inappropriate way he expresses them are unbecoming a member of the Virginia’s historic legislature.

Link to Marsden’s contact info.

Dave Marsden on 2A

SCOTUS Takes the McDonnell Appeal

The Supreme Court of the United States announced today that it will hear former Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell’s appeal. McDonnell was found guilty for potentially getting ready to help a wealthy contributor, but never got around to offering official state capacities to help his once thought to be friend.

McDonnell released the following statement moments after the Supreme Court made its announcement, available on McDonnell’s Facebook page;
“I am very grateful to the US Supreme Court for its decision today to hear my case. I am innocent of these crimes and ask the Court to reverse these convictions. I maintain my profound confidence in God’s grace to sustain me and my family, and thank my friends and supporters across the country for their faithfulness over these past three years.”

This is a good day for our nation’s justice system. In this case McDonnell did nothing that was unlawful. He does, however, deserve to be held accountable for his questionable decisions, which should be left entirely to voters. In the courtroom of public opinion he is guilty, in the real courtroom he is not guilty with the difference of serving the public in elected office or serving time in prison. The Supreme Court needs to step in and fix this miscarriage of justice.

The High Court will hear the case in April and will issue a ruling before the summer recess.

McDonnell and Bruce Smith

McAuliffe’s 2016 SOTC Address

Last night Governor Terry McAuliffe gave the 2016 State of the Commonwealth address.

McAuliffe began with nice things. He talked about the economy and “jaabs,” which is how the New Yorker says “jobs.” But then he mentioned he’ll try again to bankrupt us saying he will try to “find a way forward together on the important issue of Medicaid expansion.”

Toward the end the governor decided to flex his muscles a little with, “I am prepared to veto bills that roll back the progress that we have made on marriage equality and women’s access to health care.” And by “health care” in this context McAuliffe means abortion on demand.

Then he offered counterintuitive logic on the 2nd Amendment when he said, “I will also reject proposals that limit this Commonwealth’s ability to keep Virginians safe from gun violence.” Disarming law abiding citizens will keep them safe?

He also highlighted the urgency of giving in to the green lobby saying we need to “react to the very clear and present danger of climate change.” Clear and present danger is a term used to describe a test for the courts to apply to potential limitations on 1st Amendment rights. It is also the title of an exciting movie. Here, the governor got really creative. The term is not, in any way, an accurate way to describe climate and instead is just the latest example of the salesman governor saying what it takes to peddle his wares.

And then McAuliffe went from shady salesman to a downright dishonest political tactician when he said, “Even more important, I do hope that we will treat our newest Supreme Court justice with the respect that she deserves as a jurist who has served our Commonwealth with honor for 22 years. Allowing politics to deny this qualified and distinguished jurist a full 12-year term would send a dangerous message about this Commonwealth’s respect for the independence of the judicial branch.” What a ridiculous thing to say because of all the hyper-partisan political maneuvers made by McAuliffe when he placed this justice on the court through a recess appointment while not consulting with state Republicans. Now he talks about “a dangerous message” and “respect for the independence of the judicial branch.” If McAuliffe had any respect for an independent judiciary or for the traditions of the Virginia way, then we wouldn’t be in this controversy in the first place.

Governor McAuliffe and his “jaabs,” another attempt at bankruptcy through Medicaid expansion, a gun grab, a sky-is-falling push against climate, and a political play on the Supreme Court should make for a very active 60 day session in Richmond. Let’s hope Republicans stay on their toes and effectively push back on these plans.

Link to full text of speech.

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General Assembly Begins Today

Virginia’s General Assembly begins the 2016 session today. Here are some links to follow the action.

General Assembly Info
http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/membersAndSession.php?secid=1&activesec=0#!hb=1&mainContentTabs=1

House of Delegates live video (starting at 11:30am)
http://virginia-house.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3

State Senate live video (starting at 11am)
http://virginia-senate.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3

Who’s my legislator?
http://whosmy.virginiageneralassembly.gov/

Red NoVA’s coverage of the General Assembly
http://rednova8.com/wordpress/category/general-assembly/

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AFP at Lobby Day

One week from today Americans for Prosperity will have buses going down to Richmond for Lobby Day. This is a great opportunity to engage in grassroots activities with some serious grassroots activists. There are several places in NoVA to find a bus. RSVP is required, so sign up today. For more information, below are links from an email AFP blasted out this afternoon.

Americans for Prosperity 2016 Virginia Lobby Day
Virginia State Capitol
Monday, January 18th
Breakfast, lunch, dinner, training, and bus transportation provided!
All expenses are covered, but please RSVP TODAY!

AFP

Del. Marshall on Obama’s Gun Grab

Delegate Bob Marshall of Prince William County sent out the below email yesterday in response to President Obama’s executive orders regarding the 2nd Amendment. Please join us in supporting HB 83.

Dear Friends,

Barack Obama can enforce his own rules. Virginia is under no constitutional obligation to enforce Barack Obama’s executive efforts at restricting Second Amendment Rights.

Anticipating Barack Obama’s actions, I filed HB 83 to prevent the Commonwealth of Virginia or its localities from assisting Obama’s efforts which have been issued without Congressional authority and even in defiance of Congress.

In 1992 the US Supreme Court ruled that, “Congress may not simply “commandee[r] the legislative processes of the States by directly compelling them to enact and enforce a federal regulatory program.” (New York vs. United States, 488 U.S. 1041) The Court has ruled that way since 1842.

Yes, some actions proposed by President Obama are within his powers such as hiring FBI employees. Clearly, some of his acts require legislative powers which belong only to Congress and /or the state legislatures, not Presidents or Governors.

In the absence of more details or a better explanation, Obama’s proposal seems to require all persons who sell even a single firearm to have a federal license which would effectively prevent a citizen from selling his firearms through a licensed dealer without themselves having to get a federal firearms license!

Could these rules disqualifying people from firearms ownership and use be used as a tool reflecting Soviet practices of having psychiatrists neutralize political dissidents through mental health determinations to restrict their rights?

Obama failed to tell us how his executive orders would have prevented the violence he cites as justification for his unilateral and select disarming of American citizens who have committed no crime.

Further, Barack “you can keep your doctor” Obama presented a factually compromised narrative to justify his actions.

Please contact your delegate and senator to ask them to support HB 83 to stop Obama’s overreach. Thank you for your help and support!

Sincerely,

Delegate Bob Marshall

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Obenshain and Bell on Herring’s Gun Grab

Yesterday Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring made a unilateral move to restrict our 2nd Amendment rights. Herring is running his office as a hyper-partisan liberal politico, which is an entirely inappropriate way to administer Virginia’s justice system.

State Senator Mark Obenshain and Delegate Rob Bell, two men who understand Virginia law as well as anyone, issued the following statements yesterday in response to Herring’s unconstitutional gun grab.

HARRISONBURG—Senator Mark Obenshain (R-Rockingham) issued the following statement in response to the announcement by the Attorney General today that Virginia is rescinding its concealed weapon reciprocity agreement with 25 other states.

“This unilateral politically motivated executive action seriously limits the rights of those Virginians who have concealed weapon permits,” Obenshain said. “After claiming that this action doesn’t affect the validity of any permits that may have been issued by Virginia, the official announcement from the Attorney General closes with the warning that Virginia permit holders had better check the laws of states they may visit because in many of those states their permits will not be valid any longer.”

Obenshain added, “These permit holders are not the people committing gun crimes in Virginia. They are the people who go to the trouble to get permits to comply with the law. This decision by the Attorney General will have a tremendous impact on Virginia permit holders who travel to other states in reliance on reciprocity and who have been lawfully doing so for years.”

“In his announcement, the Attorney General has not pointed to a single crime committed by an out-of-state concealed weapons permit holder legally carrying in Virginia under the reciprocity agreement; not one,” stated Obenshain. “Indeed, the State Police concede that they are not aware of any either. It is evident that this is nothing more than liberal window dressing and political payback for the millions of dollars former New York Mayor Bloomberg has pumped into the campaigns of Virginia Democrats, including that of the Attorney General, over the past two and a half years.”

Senator Obenshain concluded, “I have always been and will continue to be a staunch supporter of second amendment rights. We need to continue to be creative in our efforts to keep Virginians safe. This action by the Attorney General is neither creative nor intended to do anything to make Virginians safer. I remember well the campaign promises made by Mark Herring as he ran for Attorney General. He promised that he would take the politics out of the Attorney General’s office. The level of his insincerity rises to new heights with each passing month.”

-from Mark Obenshain, 26th District

————

Today Attorney General Mark Herring announced that Virginia would stop recognizing concealed carry permits from 25 other states.

Virginia law allows Virginia to recognize permits from other states, and vice-versa. Over the last 18 years, agreements have been made under Democratic Governors (Warner, Kaine) and Republicans (Gilmore, McDonnell). This “reciprocity” enabled the 420,000 Virginians with permits to carry concealed weapons in a total of 30 states.

Herring’s unilateral announcement will result in revocation of the ability of the Virginians to carry in six states (FL, LA, ND, PA, SC, and WY). In addition, the other 19 impacted states may revoke Virginia’s permits as well, since their citizens are no longer allowed to carry in Virginia.

Herring took this action even though state police have stated that they have no evidence of crimes committed by in-state or out-of-state permit holders.

As the Washington Post stated, “Herring’s move is in keeping with his embrace of liberal issues as he seeks a second term.” In doing so, he is following the guidance of groups that directly advocate circumventing legislatures to accomplish their goals. This is exactly the sort of executive overreach we have seen coming out of Washington. As he has in the past, Herring continues to put the political goals of his liberal supporters ahead of sound legal judgement.

Legislation has already been filed to that would address Herring’s announcement. The General Assembly will take this up in January. In the meantime, you can share your thoughts with Attorney General Herring here.

Sincerely,

Rob Bell
Delegate, 58th District

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Virginia Needs More Charter Schools

School Choice is an important issue. Advocates for freedom, whether they be conservative, libertarian or even liberal, should support the principle of freedom to choose the best education available. Parents and their kids should be able to select their preferred method of education, especially if area public schools are providing inadequate services. Among the alternatives to public schools are charter schools, which is something Virginia needs more of.

This session the General Assembly will vote on an amendment to the Virginia Constitution which would allow the commonwealth to create more charter schools (HB3, linked here). This amendment passed last session and if it passes again this session, it will be offered as a referendum on the November 2016 ballot. And with 2016 being a presidential election year, turnout will be up creating a solid mandate for the results.

This is an important amendment, which deserves to be brought to the people. Last session the Democrats voted against this. They often oppose School Choice because of teachers’ unions and their donation money. The Republicans in the General Assembly support School Choice because they support the principle of limited government and freedom to choose the best available education for all citizens. A point the Democrats just can’t seem to understand is best described by Matthew Lynch writing for The Edvocate; “[Charter schools] must make some promises in their contracts in order to stay open. If these schools of choice habitually do not reach their goals, they close. Can the same be said of public schools?” When a school fails and needs to close down it is a really big deal when that school is the only school in town. The necessity of education then keeps terrible schools open when there is no alternative. Charter schools must perform in order to stay open and public schools will not be in any danger of closing should this amendment pass. Everyone wins, especially the kids.

Delegate Jim LeMunyon lays out the details of this along with a brief history behind why an amendment is the required remedy in an op-ed for the Richmond Times-Dispatch, linked here.

Let your Delegate and State Senator know that you support this amendment to be placed on your ballot.

school choice

House Republicans Name Leadership

Yesterday Virginia’s House Republican Caucus met to elect their leadership for the 2016-17 General Assembly sessions. The House Republicans unanimously chose the same leadership from last session. Bill Howell with serve an eighth term as Speaker, Kirk Cox will serve as Majority Leader, and Northern Virginia’s Tim Hugo and Jackson Miller will serve as Majority Caucus Chairman and Majority Whip, respectively.

After an election where we saw every sitting Delegate who sought re-election, and made it out of the primary, re-elected in a status quo wave, then returning the same leadership team should surprise no one.

The House has done well in holding the line against radical liberals like our Governor Terry McAuliffe and his minions. The November election left Republicans with a net of minus one, which is fine. Speaker Howell will have the votes he will need to push good, conservative legislation to the Senate. And therein lies the little problem in the General Assembly; the Senate. The leadership in the Senate needs a shakeup. State Senator Tom Garrett has called for his colleague Tommy Norment to not seek re-election as Senate Majority Leader. Red NoVA supports Garrett’s call for new leadership. A new Speaker in the House would be nice, but is not terribly needed right now. The Senate is where a change at the top will be most effective.

The House Republicans blasted an email detailing their unanimously selected team, linked here.

RPV leadership

VRMA Names Del. Miller Legislator of the Year

The Virginia Retail Merchants Association has named Prince William County Delegate Jackson Miller their Legislator of the Year for 2105.

Delegate Miller, who is in the House Republican leadership, is a great choice for this award as he has always worked to create a friendly environment for the business community. Knowing that jobs are created by the private sector, Delegate Miller has worked hard to allow Virginia’s government to best facilitate private sector job creation. We need legislators like him in the leadership in the General Assembly to keep Virginia a great place to do business.

From the VRMA press release announcing the award; “Delegate Miller was very strong on all of the retail community’s key issues this year,” said Kyle Shreve, VRMA director of government affairs. “We want to thank him for his continued support of free market policies and his commitment to keep Virginia’s businesses strong.” The full press release is available on Delegate Miller’s Facebook page, linked here.

Delegate Jackson Miller clearly deserves to be re-elected for a number of reasons. This prestigious award is just one of those reasons. Delegate Miller represents the 50th House of Delegate District which is made up of the Town of Manassas and part of Prince William County. A Delegate since 2006, he has served as Majority Whip since 2012. Delegate Miller is a homegrown talent having graduated from W.T. Woodson High School.

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NFIB Endorses Dick Black

The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has endorsed State Senator Dick Black for re-election.

Senator Black says on his website he will “work to ensure that Virginia supports the Right to Work, dampens costly litigation, reduces bureaucratic red-tape, and constrains taxes. These things will help businesses to save and invest in jobs.” He has also earned an A+ grade from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. He understands all the hurdles a small business faces and he is committed to reducing government regulations to help sustain a strong economy.

The Republican controlled General Assembly has helped make the commonwealth a great place to do business. Virginia received an A rating from a survey made up small business owners. The NFIB website describes the survey as “Reveal[ing] that Virginia business owners are the happiest with the state when it comes to licensing, environmental issues and the ease of starting a business. The state’s only non-A grade was in zoning issues, which still performed relatively well with a B+ grade.” Republican controlled Texas received an A+ and Democratic controlled California received an F. Neighboring Maryland, controlled by Democrats, received a C-.

This illustrates the importance of the 2015 elections here in Virginia. Our State Senate is controlled by the Republicans by a razor thin margin. Holding Senator Black’s seat is a big piece of holding this majority. Senator Dick Black knows how to help businesses and NFIB recognizes that. We need him and his Republican colleagues in the majority.

Dick Black NFIB

In Defense of The Virginia Way

The General Assembly will convene in Richmond today for a special session to comply with a court order to redraw the racially gerrymandered 3rd Congressional District. The timing of this special session is problematic for Gov. Terry McAuliffe, who tried to sneak in a State Supreme Court Justice during the recess without consulting the legislature. This brazen move of political gamesmanship will not work because under Virginia law, the General Assembly can take up other matters of business during the special session. So today, the General Assembly will correct McAuliffe’s power play.

What our carpet-bagging, professional fundraiser for a governor has forgotten is what is known in the Old Dominion as The Virginia Way. This is, and has been, a more cordial way to govern.

The Democrats are crying that removing McAuliffe’s pick would be unprecedented in modern Virginia history, which is nearly accurate but deliberately misleading. What really happened is McAuliffe pulled a fast one during a recess to avoid the legislature from weighing in on who the next member of Virginia’s Supreme Court should be. So it is McAuliffe who is breaking precedent, not the legislature. The disingenuous response from McAuliffe’s team is to just hit the usual talking points on partisanship which obviously do not touch on why McAuliffe chose to do what he did. Even Gov. Douglas Wilder called out McAuliffe for failing to handle this the right way.

Virginia’s General Assembly is the longest serving legislature, steep in tradition. It is the job of the legislature to approve the Governor’s nominee to the bench. When a governor ignores either the law or just protocol, then the legislative branch needs to step up and defend The Virginia Way. And fortunately for all of us, Gov. McAuliffe will see The Virginia way in action. Below is a foretelling post from State Senator Steve Martin’s Facebook page on what we can expect today.

Sen Martin on VA supreme court pick