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State Capitol Report   February 14-20, 2011

The Poindexter Report
By Delegate Charles Poindexter

Last Monday the House began processing Senate bills and the Senate the House bills. We also began comparing the Senate’s proposed budget with our House proposed budget.  House Majority Leader Kirk Cox said it best when he called the Senate budget “a continuing culture of spending.”

For example, the structurally unbalanced Senate proposal would have Virginia enter the next biennium budget $316 million in the hole, taking on $640 million in debt, and not being in position to fund core services as we would then face a mandatory Rainy Day Fund deposit, re-benchmarking for K-12, and further increased Medicaid costs demanded by the federal government. The Senate budget also includes $300 million for a new General Assembly Building, something that, while perhaps needed, should not be on the table in these distressed economic times when our citizens and businesses are experiencing extraordinary fiscal challenges.

This week the Senate killed 10 of 12 of the House’s bills on Illegal Immigration, actions taken which in hindsight would seem to conflict with a three-person homicide that occurred around the same time in Manassas that was apparently perpetrated by an illegal immigrant who had previously been turned over to federal authorities for committing previous crimes.  I co-patroned these bills and am disappointed the Senate Committee chose to kill them.

The Senate also killed the House bill that would give a 70% tax credit to businesses that donate to non-profit groups that provide private school scholarships to students eligible for free and reduced lunches, hence denying better education opportunities to many of these children in underperforming public schools.

The Senate also removed the provision to prevent taxpayer funding of abortion in the policies to be available under the new healthcare insurance exchange that Virginia must set up as a requirement of Obamacare. Regardless of one’s position on abortion, to force taxpayer support of this procedure when a majority of the public is opposed is just not right. This issue will come back again for certain next year.

SB868 came over this week to the House Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Committee on which I sit. The bill originated in response to the Game Commission’s decision to reintroduce elk in far SWVA. The bill would make significant changes to the existing permit process of killing deer causing crop damage to farmers.  The current process is not working as intended and in many cases farmers are suffering significant crop damage. After much debate, the House Committee decided to table the bill for now but task the Farm Bureau and DGIF to work together to recommend improvements to present to us next Session.  I have no doubt changes in DGIF communications and other functionality will be required as well. I will be following their joint efforts this summer and fall to see how we can alleviate the damages in a responsible manner.

By the end of the week, all my remaining bills had passed the Senate. The House budget fixes the huge increase in restaurant and other hospitality fees applied last year by returning those fees to prior levels. My bill HB2125 to provide the attorney general an additional two months to review proposed electricity rates on behalf of the customer passed and went to the Governor for his approval.  

Others include my Judicial Notice bill which will allow license verification via a state electronic database rather than having doctors and nurses, for example, take time off to go to court to testify they have a valid license; HB2472, which clarifies that local governments may not withhold performance bond funds to force landowners to make improvements or repairs to existing government infrastructure beyond the scope of the project; my bill to modernize the Coal Mining Safety Act; HJ645, which directs the Secretary of Technology to perform collaborative IT efforts statewide; HB2057, which updates the fertilizer section of the Code; and HB2123, which will assure that the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy (DMME) will use TMDLs as an element in issuing a NPDES permit and authorizes DMME to require additional testing if there is concern over the NPDES adversely effecting water quality from coal mining.

We enjoyed meeting with Diane Naff, Brenda Mash, and Kevin Simms from the Virginia Association for the Gifted when they visited my office. We were also happy to see Dr. and Mrs. Robert White and Dr. Jeff Harter.  Our time to greet visitors in Richmond grows short. Session is scheduled to adjourn on Saturday, February 26.  Until then, you can contact me at (804) 698-1009 and always at


“Entrepreneurs and their small business enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States".
Ronald Reagan
Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library
“Whatever else history says about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty’s lamp guiding your steps and opportunity’s arm steadying your way".
Ronald Reagan
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