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Update: Under Democrat Control, Virginia Free-Falling Farther and Faster Than You Could Ever Have Imagined

Dear Friends,

We have now wrapped up our fourth week of the 2020 Session, and the free-fall is fully underway. This coming week, we face five very full days as we head toward the deadline for voting on bills that will go over to the Senate.

During the past week, we voted on more than 200 bills on the House Floor, in addition to countless hours of discussion in committees and subcommittees. With all the activity this week, I have several wins to report to you – as well as a few losses after hard-fought battles.

 

OVERREACHING GUN LAWS

As I’m sure you know, this week the Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms has continued to be a major topic of discussion here in Richmond as Democrats rammed several gun control bills through the House of Delegates with barely an hour of debate on the floor. During that hour, members pushing for gun control repeatedly gave incorrect information about current gun laws and even about their own bills, demonstrating how little they truly understand the issues surrounding the legislation they intend to pass. Here is a summary of Second Amendment-related House Bills that we voted on this past Thursday.

  • 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 it 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 uniformly across the state.
  • House Bill 1083 passed by a vote of 54-46. It severely restricts parental decisions about access to firearms within the home and attaches 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. Civil liberties advocates expressed concerns on 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.

A BAD DAY FOR WOMEN AND BABIES

Earlier in the week we also received a blow to the right to life. From the Winchester Star, “It is a huge disappointment that  Democrats are removing protections that will make abortion in Virginia more dangerous and assure that women are less-informed,” LaRock said. “In my opinion, Democrats are for abortion performed by almost anyone, anytime during a pregnancy, in sub-standard facilities and paid for with taxpayer dollars.”

On Tuesday the General Assembly voted to remove long-standing protections for women seeking a first trimester abortion with a bill that expands who may perform an abortion and eliminates requirements for informed consent, such as an ultrasound. Republicans offered amendments that would ensure two important protections: first, to forbid abortion providers from selling fetal tissue for profit, and second, to ensure that infants born alive after an attempted abortion receive immediate medical care. Democrats rejected both amendments.

 

A FEW SOLID WINS!

On a positive note, on Thursday, a bill targeting faith-based adoption and foster agencies failed in committee because no delegate spoke up to second the motion to move it to the House Floor. This bill would have forced faith-based agencies out of business by requiring them to violate their religious or moral convictions in order to continue serving children and families.

Because the bill was stopped in committee, the religious freedoms of faith-based agencies will be protected for the time being. Here’s what the Family Foundation had to say about this miraculous win!

Before I report on the next two wins, I’ll take a moment to remind you that I always welcome your ideas and suggestions for legislation where you see a need. I’m happy to report that two bills that I filed on the recommendation of constituents of the 33rd District saw progress this week.

The first is the bill on the sale of wildlife mounts, which earlier in the week passed on the House Floor by a vote of 74-25. This bill will remove restrictions on selling wildlife mounts, allowing a Virginia resident to sell a mount if the animal was taken legally and the taxidermy process was done legally. If this bill passes the Senate, starting July 1, you will be able to declutter your man cave, or just make room for “the big one” you got

last season, without going through an auctioneer!

We ended the week with progress on another bill recommended by one of you. HB769 provides that any person who is accused of violation of a local ordinance that is not codified can use as an affirmative defense the fact that the ordinance was not codified. On Friday, this bill passed out of Committee to the House Floor by a vote of 22-0. It will be taken up on the House Floor next week. (This defense is similar to the claim of self-defense.)

 

MORE OF MY LEGISLATION

And here are updates on a few more bills, which I introduced this Session:

  • We had another win when my zoning bill passed the House by a vote of 100-0. This bill protects property rights by ensuring that if the jurisdiction of a property changes, the existing development approvals don't change.
  • My School Divisions of Innovation bill, requested by Loudoun County Public Schools, which promotes performance-based testing to replace two SOLs, moved from the Committee to the House Floor and is awaiting a final vote this week.
  • My Traffic Incident Management Vehicles bill was incorporated into another similar bill that passed the House in a 97-1 vote on Thursday. This bill, if passed in the Senate, will help allow traffic incidents to be cleared more quickly so that traffic can begin moving again.
  • The Dulles Greenway bill I introduced to amend the powers of the SCC to regulate toll road operators was also incorporated into a similar bill, which then failed to pass after a rushed hearing and a tied vote in Committee. I will continue working with the Loudoun delegation on this issue and we are optimistic that we will eventually be able to gain relief from ever-increasing toll rates. Coverage of this from Loudoun Now is here.

TRANSPORTATION OMNIBUS

Finally, I’ll give you a peek at some of the discussion that took place in one of the committee meetings this week. On Monday evening, the Transportation subcommittee I serve on passed the Governor and Speaker of the House's massive "Transportation Omnibus”, a rewrite of Virginia’s transportation funding and programs, with several troubling provisions included. I voted against the bill in subcommittee and full Transportation committee, but with Democrat support, it will likely be considered on the House floor this week.

The bill raises the statewide gas tax by 12 cents over the next 3 years, and then indexes it to inflation. I have always opposed tax increases, and gas taxes are not the most sustainable funding stream for transportation, as gas tax revenue is declining even while vehicle miles traveled increases. 

The omnibus bill also includes several “safety” provisions. While distracted driving is a serious issue and wearing seat belts is common sense, I'm not convinced that criminalizing handheld cell phones or requiring seat belt use would prevent people from making poor decisions regarding their safety. Speed cameras and lower speed limits are also included in the bill.

The current version of the bill switches car inspections from being annual to biennial. I think this is a reasonable compromise between the current requirement of an annual inspection and the Governor's proposal to eliminate inspections completely. The current inspection fees are more affordable than would be charged by an auto shop for an independent safety check, and can save money by identifying a problem early.



WHAT'S AHEAD - I'M HERE TO SERVE YOU!

This next week will be extremely busy, as all House Bills must be voted out of committee and sent to the full House by Friday night in order to proceed to the Senate. You can find a complete list of my legislation HERE and my amendments to Virginia’s budget HERE.

You can also track other legislation in the General Assembly here.

As the delegate representing the 33rd District, I hold your concerns as my highest priority. If ever I may be of assistance to you and your family, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at DelDLaRock@house.virginia.gov. You can also follow me on twitter @LaRock4Delegate or like my Facebook page to keep up to date with what I’m doing in Richmond.

Throughout the next 5 weeks, I will do my best to communicate with you through these emails and social media; please follow me on all of these platforms for the latest updates.

Thank you for the honor and privilege you have entrusted me with. Please keep me and all our elected officials in your prayers, especially these next several weeks.

Sincerely,

This session, I have introduced two pieces of legislation which would assist with staffing our local volunteer fire and rescue companies.

Chief W. Keith Brower, Jr. of the Loudoun County Combined Fire-Rescue System came by the office to say hello, offer his assistance, and express his appreciation for the work we are doing.

Both of these bills are scheduled for hearings this week.

Shannon Duncan, and Lorraine Hightower, a constituent from Purcellville, stopped by to say hello and discuss important legislation they support with the organization Decoding Dyslexia. I've helped them navigate their legislation through the General Assembly, and appreciate all their hard work on behalf of children and parents.

 

Another amazing member of the House Page Program for the 2020 Session of the General Assembly is Maclain Conlin, from the Middleburg area.

I've met Maclain here in Richmond, in Washington DC, and around the 33rd District as he volunteered with my campaign.

He is an exceptionally gifted young man with a bright future, and is doing a great job serving the legislature for these couple of months.

 

One of the bills I presented this week dealt with creating a lesser offense of "improper driving" which law enforcement could cite instead of "reckless driving." Two officers from the Loudoun County Sheriff's Office traveled to Richmond to testify in support of the bill.

 



 
 
 
 
 

Get in touch and stay connected:

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DelDLaRock@house.virginia.gov

District Office: P.O. Box 6, Hamilton, Virginia 20159 (540) 751-8364

Paid for and authorized by Dave LaRock for Delegate


Paid for and Authorized by Dave LaRock for Delegate
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