Archive for January, 2013

Committee Sends ‘Boneta Bill’ to Full House

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

By Jessica Dahlberg
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – The grassroots-supported “Boneta Bill,” meant to protect farmers’ rights, won overwhelming approval from a House on Wednesday and moves on to its first reading in the full House of Delegates on Thursday.

The House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee voted 21-1 in favor of a substitute version of House Bill 1430, sponsored by Delegate Scott Lingamfelter, R-Woodbridge.

The bill seeks to expand the definition of agricultural operations to include the sale of products to consumers and businesses. In endorsing the measure, the committee made a few changes. One would prevent counties from classifying activities as non-agricultural without providing sufficient proof.

“If you’re farming, you’re farming. And if someone comes along and says you are not farming, the burden is on them to prove that you are not farming,” Lingamfelter said.

The committee also added a re-enactment clause to HB 1430. It says the regulations provided by the bill would not take effect unless the 2014 General Assembly also passes the legislation.

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NOVA May Get More Road Maintenance Funds

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

By Destiny Brandon
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Northern Virginia would get a bigger share of the state’s highway maintenance funds under legislation being sponsored by Delegate Jim LeMunyon, R-Oak Hill.

House Bill 1884 would allocate the funds “on the basis of vehicle miles traveled in each highway construction district compared to vehicle miles traveled in the Commonwealth as a whole.”

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NOVA May Get More Road Maintenance Funds

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013

By Destiny Brandon
Capital News Service

 

RICHMOND – Northern Virginia would get a bigger share of the state’s highway maintenance funds under legislation being sponsored by Delegate Jim LeMunyon, R-Oak Hill.

House Bill 1884 would allocate the funds “on the basis of vehicle miles traveled in each highway construction district compared to vehicle miles traveled in the Commonwealth as a whole.”

The Virginia Department of Transportation divides the state into nine districts. Under LeMunyon’s bill, for example, if a district represents 25 percent of all the vehicle miles traveled in Virginia, it would get roughly 25 percent of the highway maintenance funds.

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Senate OKs Soccer Goal Safety Law

Monday, January 28th, 2013

By Blake Belden
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – A bill that aims to prevent death or injury from falling soccer goals has cleared the Senate and is now being considered by the House.

The Senate voted 33-6 last week to approve Senate Bill 933, known as the Movable Soccer Goal Safety Act. A movable soccer goal is a freestanding structure that consists of at least two upright posts, a crossbar and support bars but no secure form of support or restraint.

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Congressmen Asked to Oppose Tolls on I-95

Monday, January 28th, 2013

By Whitney Spicer and Sam Isaacs
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – A bipartisan group of 10 Virginia House members has sent a letter to the state’s congressional delegation, urging the federal legislators to join in opposing the Virginia Department of Transportation’s plans to charge tolls on Interstate 95.

The letter noted that U.S. Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-Va., has come out against VDOT’s proposal to impose a $4 toll on personal vehicles and a $12 toll on trucks as they pass through Sussex County in the Tidewater area near North Carolina.

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I-64 May Get Millions to Ease Congestion

Sunday, January 27th, 2013

By Shelby Mertens
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Gov. Bob McDonnell’s transportation budget would provide millions of dollars for road and rail projects along Interstate 64 from Newport News to Richmond to ease traffic congestion.

According to McDonnell’s office, his transportation budget would allocate $64 million for reconstructive paving and $85 million for capacity improvements on I-64. Capacity improvements would widen the lanes so cars have more room to travel.

McDonnell’s transportation plan, dubbed “Virginia’s Road to the Future,” would invest a total of $3.1 billion into the state’s transportation network over the next five years. About $1 billion would go toward more than 150 rail and transit projects. (more…)

House OKs Extending Excise Tax on Peanuts

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2013

By Allison Landry
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – The Virginia House of Delegates has voted to extend the state’s excise tax on peanuts – a move that will help promote the sale and marketing of one of the commonwealth’s top cash crops.

Delegates on Monday unanimously passed House Bill 1320, which will extend the excise tax on peanuts grown and sold in Virginia until July 1, 2016. The tax, which was scheduled to expire this July, is 30 cents per 100 pounds.

Revenues from the tax fund the Virginia Peanut Board, which conducts campaigns for education, advertising, publicity, sales promotion, and research regarding peanuts grown in the state.

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VPA Opposes Moving Public Notices Online

Monday, January 21st, 2013

By Michael Schuster
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – At their annual lobbying day, members of the Virginia Press Association opposed two House bills that would let local governments post their public notices on their websites instead of publishing them in local newspapers.

The VPA, which represents the state’s newspapers, says the bills are a threat to the public’s access to government information.

“We’re just not to the point where this is a sensible decision,” said Ginger Stanley, executive director of the VPA. “Newspapers have permanence, and websites can easily crash or be hacked into.”

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Voting Reform Bill Killed in Senate

Monday, January 21st, 2013

By Steffanie Atkins
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Democratic leaders are speaking out after a Republican-led Senate committee killed a bill that would allow for more convenient voting options, later hours at the polls and easier absentee voting.

The Senate Privileges and Elections Committee, chaired by Republican Sen. Mark Obenshain of Harrisonburg, voted 8-5 to shelve the measure introduced by Sen. Mark Herring, D-Leesburg.

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Bills Would Let Schools Start Before Labor Day

Thursday, January 17th, 2013

By Kristen Smith
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Lawmakers from across Virginia are pushing a half-dozen bills this legislative session to let public schools start classes before Labor Day.

Delegate Kaye Kory, D-Falls Church, is among legislators sponsoring bills to repeal Virginia’s “King’s Dominion law,” which prevents local schools from opening before Labor Day unless they get special permission from the state.

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