Happening Now

Life in Blue Virginia: The left-wing agenda is taking hold

Democrats have passed legislation that will fundamentally change Virginia, including the following:

Taxes: Increase taxes for cigarettes, admissions, meals, and lodgings without a voter referendum — totalling up to $528 million. Another bill would allow localities to enact taxes on plastic bags.

Labor: HB 582 would repeal the ban on collective bargaining for public employees. HB 833 would require government contractors to pay the prevailing (union scale) wage.

Public Safety: HB 34 would make it harder to prosecute drunk drivers, while HB 33 would grant eligibility for parole to an estimated 280 violent offenders in Virginia.

Immigration: HB 1150 would eliminate the requirement that jail/prison officials determine the citizenship status of inmates. Other bills would allow undocumented noncitizens to obtain Virginia driver’s licenses and receive in-state tuition at state universities.

Firearms: The House Democrats passed 8 bills endorsed by Governor Northam, including HB 421which would allow any locality to pass its own criminal ordinances covering possession of firearms, and HB 961, which forbids purchase or sale of certain firearms.

Elections: Delegate Ayala’s HB 201 would allow Election Day registration in Virginia, while HB 19 would eliminate the photo ID requirement for voting. Another bill would establish Election Day as a Virginia state holiday.

Statues: HB 1625 will empower localities to remove Civil War – and other war — statues.

Abortion: House Democrats passed HB 980, which would eliminate most legal restrictions on abortions in Virginia, including the waiting period.

Life in Blue Virginia: Several Bills Water Down Voting Integrity in the Commonwealth

Election Day is set to become a state holiday as both chambers approved scrapping Lee-Jackson Day in favor of Election Day on the state calendar. The legislature also has backed no-excuse absentee voting and a repeal of the state’s photo ID law. Bills are pending that would not require a voter to ever vote in person, even after registering to vote on-line.

Life in Blue Virginia: Assault Weapons Bill Passes House Committee – Full Vote in House This Week

The Richmond Times filed the following report on February 7, 2020:

A House of Delegates committee on Friday backed the most controversial bill of Virginia Democrats’ gun control package, a vote that led to gun rights supporters being escorted out of a committee room.

The House Public Safety Committee voted 12-9 to send a revised version of an assault weapons ban proposed by Del. Mark Levine, D-Alexandria, to the full House of Delegates. The House will have to act on the measure, House Bill 961, by Tuesday — the deadline for the Senate and House to vote on their own bills so approved measures can cross over to the other chamber.

“These assault weapon laws have been shown consistently to reduce mass murder,” Levine said of the measure, which is one of the eight gun control bills that Gov. Ralph Northam backs. “We’re not banning guns … but we will reduce the incidents of mass murder and we will reduce, in particular, the fatalities from mass murder.”

The original version of the bill called for people who already own an assault weapon to register it with state police. The amended version of the bill gets rid of that requirement.

The substitute bans high-capacity magazines that hold more than 12 rounds while also outlawing bump stocks. The shooters in the Virginia Tech and Virginia Beach mass shootings each used high-capacity magazines.

Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran said that assault weapons “are not protected by the Second Amendment” and that the court system will uphold the legislation. A federal assault weapons ban was in place from 1994 until 2004.

“You just need to pass it,” he said.

The committee, in its final meeting before crossover, agreed, advancing the bill on a party-line vote.

The endorsement came during a tense early morning meeting at which gun rights proponents — many of whom came to Richmond on Jan. 20 for a rally that drew an estimated 22,000 people — said the bill would infringe on their Second Amendment rights.

“They’re not listening to massive numbers of people saying, ‘No, you’re not going to violate my constitutional rights,’ ” Philip Van Cleave, the president of the Virginia Citizens Defense League, said in an interview.

Immediately after the vote, gun rights supporters, who wore VCDL’s “Guns Save Lives” stickers, started yelling at committee members, saying things such as: “We will not comply.”

The crowd, which filled the House Committee Room in the Pocahontas Building and had overflow supporters in the hallways, was then forced to leave the room under threat from Capitol Police that people who did not leave would be arrested. (In the opening days of the session last month, Democrats approved a prohibition against carrying firearms either concealed or openly into the state Capitol and the Pocahontas Building. Members of the public must now go through metal detectors.)

Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, the committee’s chairman, stood behind the decision to have Capitol Police clear the room.

“I just thought just for the safety of the committee, safety of the public, safety of the staff that have to be here, we made the best decision,” he said in an interview after the meeting.

The meeting continued after the incident, with only committee members, police and media present.

The proposed ban on assault weapons is the only bill of the Northam-backed package that hasn’t yet cleared the House of Delegates.

Even with the changed version of the bill, which Levine described as a compromise so current assault weapon owners can keep their guns without registration, supporters of the bill say it will save lives.

“These guns were never, ever designed for civilian use,” said Del. Jeff Bourne, D-Richmond. “They are military assault rifles designed to kill as many people as possible.”

Opponents say it infringes on the Second Amendment.

“We have a right to protect ourselves,” said Del. Tommy Wright, R-Lunenburg.

NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen called the proposed ban “egregious.”

If the House approves the bill, it will go to the Senate, which does not have its own bill to ban assault weapons.

Senate Majority Leader Dick Saslaw, D-Fairfax, had proposed an assault weapons ban, a measure that did not include a “grandfather” provision for current owners of weapons deemed assault weapons. That prompted concerns from gun rights supporters about confiscation. Saslaw withdrew his bill the first week of the session.

Hope, chairman of the House Public Safety Committee, said he’s optimistic about the bill’s future if it gets to the Senate.

“We want to do something about this. Our House members feel very strongly about leading in this area,” Hope said. “It’s a strong bill, and I think the Senate will be supportive.”

Also Friday, the committee voted to remove the option for people trying to get a concealed handgun permit to demonstrate their competence by completing an online test. The Senate has already approved that measure.

 

Life in Blue Virginia: Anti-Gun Bills Passed So Far (…and more to come)

Last year the The HEAR Project warned Virginia residents about the fate of gun ownership if Democrats took control of the General Assembly. Throughout the 2019 legislative session The HEAR Project posted numerous gun bills targeting lawful gun owners that the Republican majority killed in committee. Under Democrat rule, life in “blue Virginia” just became more difficult for lawful gun owners. Sadly, these measures will not prevent criminals from using guns to commit crimes.

On January 30th, the Virginia House of Delegates voted to pass all of the anti-gun bills before them not long after floor session convened for the day. The Senate previously passed four anti-gun bills. Neither chamber has considered a bill from the other yet.

House Bill 2 passed by a vote of 54-46. It criminalizes private transfers of firearms without first paying fees, with limited exceptions. Most transfers between friends, neighbors, or fellow hunters are not exempted. These proposals would have no impact on crime and are completely unenforceable.

House Bill 9 passed by a vote of 55-44. It victimizes gun owners who suffer loss or theft of their property with a fine if they don’t report a lost or stolen firearm within 24 hours of discovering them missing.

House Bill 421 passed by a vote of 50-48. It allows local governments to enact their own gun control ordinances, potentially resulting in a patchwork of laws and the Second Amendment not being protected across the state.

House Bill 1083 passed by a vote of 54-46. It severely restricts parental decisions about firearms in the home while attaching excessive penalties for violations.

House Bill 674 passed by a vote of 52-46. It allows the seizure of an individual’s firearms on baseless accusations without a hearing or other opportunity for the person to be heard in court. It permits the government to seize firearms based on weak evidence and nebulous standards of evidence.

A person subject to a suspension of a Constitutional right should be entitled to high evidentiary standards, an opportunity to be heard, and the right to face his or her accusers. Civil liberties advocates from across the political spectrum have expressed concerns on these “red flag” bills and how the procedure might lead to abuses of the process because of insufficient due process protections in the bill.

House Bill 812 passed by a vote of 53-47. It arbitrarily rations an individual’s right to lawfully purchase a handgun to once within 30 days.

Welcome to “Blue Virginia!”

 

Life in Blue Virginia: Bill prevents ICE from knowing if illegal immigrants are in jail

HB244 removes provisions requiring jail officers to ascertain the citizenship of any inmate taken into custody at a jail; probation and parole officers to inquire as to the citizenship status of an individual convicted of a felony in circuit court and referred to such officers, and officers in charge of correctional facilities to inquire as to the citizenship of any person committed to a correctional facility,

The bill also removes the mandatory duty of the clerk of a court committing a convicted alien to a correctional facility to furnish related court records to a United States immigration officer.

EFFECT: If this bill is passed and becomes law, ICE will not know if illegal immigrants are in jail, which prevents deportation.

http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=201&typ=bil&val=HB244

 

Life in Blue Virginia: HB567 Places Restrictions on Indoor Shooting Ranges

Prohibits the operation of an indoor shooting range, defined in the bill, in any building not owned or leased by the Commonwealth or federal government unless (i) fewer than 50 employees work in the building or (ii) (a) at least 90 percent of the users of the indoor shooting range are law-enforcement officers or federal law-enforcement officers, (b) the indoor shooting range maintains a log of each user’s name, phone number, address, and the law-enforcement agency where such user is employed, and (c) the indoor shooting range verifies each user’s identity and address by requiring all users to present a government-issued photo-identification card. The bill provides that any person that violates the provisions of this section is subject to a civil penalty of not less than $1,000 nor more than $100,000 for the initial violation and $5,000 per day for each day of violation thereafter.

https://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=201&typ=bil&val=HB567

Life in Blue Virginia: Senate Bill 16 – The First Volley at Restricting Firearm Ownership

Expands the definition of “assault firearm” and prohibits any person from importing, selling, transferring, manufacturing, purchasing, possessing, or transporting an assault firearm. A violation is a Class 6 felony. The bill prohibits a dealer from selling, renting, trading, or transferring from his inventory an assault firearm to any person. The bill also prohibits a person from carrying a shotgun with a magazine that will hold more than seven rounds of the longest ammunition for which it is chambered in a public place; under existing law, this prohibition applies only in certain localities. The bill makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to import, sell, barter, or transfer any firearm magazine designed to hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition.

Read the full bill here.

Life in “Blue Virginia”

Life in “Blue Virginia” is off to a sharp left turn. A number of bills have been introduced that will turn pisotls into assault weapons, restrict the rights of gun owners, raise taxes, repeal the Voter ID law, and allow minors to have an abortion without the consent (or knowledge) of their parents. Voters can follow the bills at https://lis.virginia.gov/. The HEAR Project will be providing regular updates on new bills and their progress through the House, Senate, and to the Governor’s desk.

Welcome to “Blue Virginia”

The Democrats have now gained control of the Virginia General Assembly. Welcome to “Blue Virginia.” Will the Old Dominion go the way of Illinois, California, New York and other Democrat controlled states?

Expect their far-left agenda to begin immediately. The HEAR Project will continue to follow Democrat bills and keep you informed, using their own words and policy statements.

See Their Voting Records for Yourself

The HEAR Project has pulled together the legislative records of the Democrat incumbents so that voters can see what they support – their bills, their words, their votes.

Delegate Carter’s Record
Delegate Roem’s Record
Delegate Ayala’s Record
Delegate Guzman’s Record
Delegate Carroll Foy’s Record
Delegate Torian’s Record
Delegate Bell’s Record
Senator Barker’s Record

Prince William Freshman Democrats are Bad for Business – See the Scores

FINAL RELEASE - Prince William Freshman Democrats Are Bad For Business

 

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI)

During the 2019 General Assembly Session, the State Corporation Commission testified before a House subcommittee and stated that if Virginia were to join RGGI, residential customers would see their energy bills increase by up to $144 per year.

House Democrat incumbents and candidates in competitive districts who support the RGGI energy tax scheme include:

  • House District 13: Danica Roem (D-Prince William)
  • House District 31: Elizabeth Guzman (D-Prince William)
  • House District 50: Lee Carter (D-Manassas)
  • House District 51: Hala Ayala (D-Prince William)

Read the full story here.

Steady financial leadership from Republican General Assembly leads to positive results for Virginia’s financial outlook

The Commonwealth of Virginia ended the fiscal year with a $797.7 million revenue surplus, according to final figures provided at Tuesday’s joint meeting of the General Assembly’s money committees. The surplus will allow Virginia to set aside additional resources in our state reserve funds, and means the taxpayer relief passed by the General Assembly in January remains on track. Virginia will have over $1.6 billion, or approximately seven percent of general fund revenue, in its reserve funds at the end of the biennium.

“The strong revenue surplus, increased reserve funding, and taxpayer relief fund rebate checks is a trifecta of good news for taxpayers and our Commonwealth,” said Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “The steady financial leadership from the Republican-led General Assembly is producing positive results for Virginia. We protected our AAA bond rating through the Great Recession, took action to shore up our reserve funds throughout this period of economic expansion, and provided tax relief for hardworking Virginians, all while continuing to invest in top priorities, including a teacher pay raise and a college tuition freeze.”

“We are seeing the results of our steady and conservative budgeting approach,” said House Appropriations Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk). “I am proud of the work the House Appropriations Committee, along with our Senate colleagues, have done to get us to this point. However, I am cognizant of the uncertainty on the horizon, and this tells me we need to recommit ourselves to a cautious financial approach that hedges against future economic downturns. A surplus does not mean there is money to spend, so there’s not much to be excited about. It will be business as usual in January.”

The full revenue report can be found here. 

 

 

 

AUTHORIZED AND PAID FOR BY THE HEAR PROJECT VIRGINIA