Half of the Virginia General Assembly session is over. And now that each chamber has forwarded its surviving bills to its counterpart, legislative groups are drawing lines in the sand over who lost focus this session, and what bills should be sent to Governor McDonnell.
Virginia has recently been in the national spotlight for the “personhood” bill. But Republicans say social issues are only about 2% of what’s passed. Speaker Bill Howell says, unlike the Democrats who proposed $2-billion in tax increases, Republicans stayed the course and sponsored laws for the greater good of the whole state:
“Over the last several weeks, we’ve been working very hard on our agenda–our caucus priorities of jobs and education, and government reform, and public safety,” said Howell.
But Virginia’s Legislative Black Caucus—all Democrats— says Republicans have infringed on the rights of women, the working poor, and minorities. Senator Yvonne Miller says the state can not function well without raising taxes, and the GOP has imposed unfair tolls on the working class in Hampton Roads.
“So we’re running a hoax and a game on people in Virginia by saying we are using a ‘user fee’ but it IS a TAX, and it is an unjust tax on the poor,” said Miller.
Caucus members say they’re outnumbered but will remind colleagues of their duty to do what’s best for ALL, not one constituent group.