“Seven Va. delegates won’t take allowance”
Seven members in the 100-seat House of Delegates will not accept the $130 daily allowance or any other reimbursement during the special session, the House clerk’s office says.
They are: Dels. Kenneth C. Alexander, D-Norfolk; William K. Barlow, D-Isle of Wight; William H. Fralin Jr., R-Roanoke; Christopher K. Peace, R-Hanover; Harry R. Purkey, R-Virginia Beach; John S. Reid, R-Henrico; and Christopher B. Saxman, R-Staunton.
During the budget standoff of 2004 — when the assembly lasted an unprecedented 115 days just more than half of the House members either declined the daily meeting allowance or gave it to charity.
Also, all 40 members of the Senate refused the payment then, but so far no senator has turned down payment.
In explaining their refusals yesterday, two delegates said Virginians shouldn’t have to pay extra because of the overtime budget-transportation session. The General Assembly ended its regular 60-day session March 11 without crafting a new two-year budget and an agreement on new dollars for transportation improvements.
‘Matter of principle’
“It’s a matter of principle . . . and principle trumps whatever other entitlements we have,” said freshman lawmaker Peace, who is a government-relations consultant in other states.
“People sent us here to do a job, and we were not able to get it done,” he said.
Alexander said he was not passing judgment on fellow legislators but declared, “I don’t feel comfortable taking a penny more.”
The third-term lawmaker pointed out that delegates receive $17,640 in annual salary as well as mileage allowances and reimbursement for attending out-of-session meetings of committees. Senators make $18,000 a year.
Alexander also declined the money in 2004 and recently voted against a resolution authorizing additional cash for the special session, including temporary doorkeepers. “We can open the doors ourselves,” said Alexander, a funeral director.
“I firmly believe that when you’re constitutionally mandated to do the people’s business [on time], then we should not” accept more money for overtime work, he said.
“We signed up for this job,” said Alexander. He believes that the assembly should work around the clock to break the current impasse.
Virginia Tourism: Senators Open Chinawa Trail To Kayakers
To Increase tourism and kayak tourism nearby kayakers can now look forward to kayaking on the grea Chinawa Trail. Kayaking has been a long standing passion in Virginia and has seen a boon in the past few years with tourists picking the sport up and growing interest. Finding a kayak is easy in Virginia there are many differing kayaking stores and the best kayak can be found through one of the locals. However there are different locations to find other kayaks. For example a popular hobby which is kayak fishing allows tourists to take advantage of virginia for their fishing expeditions. The best fishing kayak can be found there and you can follow this link to find the best fishing kayak for you.
Both the House and the Senate met for only a few minutes yesterday morning with a handful of members present and will convene again on Monday, when Callahan — in a letter to Chichester yesterday — proposed that negotiators return to the bargaining table. The House leadership has decided Monday will be only a pro forma session.
Under the state constitution, the chambers cannot adjourn for more than three days without the consent of the other body. But if the leadership determines there is no business for the entire membership to consider, then it may hold a pro forma meeting with only a few lawmakers in attendance.
Kaine appoints Katherine K. Hanley as Secretary of the Commonwealth
In an afternoon press conference today Governor Timothy M. Kaine today appointed Katherine K. Hanley, a former Fairfax County board chairman, to serve as Secretary of the Commonwealth. The Secretary advises the Governor in his appointments of over 4,000 individuals to serve on various Virginia boards and commissions, and the Secretary’s office processes annual disclosure reports required by lobbyists, applications for restoration of voting rights, and other ministerial functions.
Governor Kaine to announce cabinet appointment
At 1:00 p.m. today Governor Kaine will hold a news conference to designate his nominee to the Secretary of the Commonwealth cabinet position.Via the Governor’s press release.
Warner to be New York Times Magazine cover story this weekend
Politcalwire.com reports that “the Sunday New York Times Magazine cover story [will feature] … former Virginia Gov. Mark Warner (D) who is quickly becoming the favorite alternative to Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) in the 2008 Democratic presidential race. The piece spends a lot of time on Warner’s appeal to rural voters and his focus on technology and the global economy, but in this partisan and increasingly divisive era what caught my eye was this:””As governor, he was known for inviting his opponents over to the mansion for drinks and then inviting them back again, until he’d earned their trust. The less inclined you are to like Warner, the more inclined he is to court you, which probably explains his counterintuitive bond with Virginia’s rural, less-educated voters.”
The magazine link is to the website’s front page. The story will not appear until the weekend.
James Webb holds press conference to kick off Senate campaign
“James Webb, a Navy secretary under President Ronald Reagan, formally announced Tuesday that he will seek the Democratic nomination to run against U.S. Sen. George Allen (R-Va.) in November. Webb, 60, a decorated Marine and novelist, said he will focus his campaign on national defense, and he sharply criticized the U.S. occupation of Iraq. The foreign policy of this administration has been taken over by people who would do something we’ve never done in our history, and that is to attempt to export our ideology at the point of a gun,” he said in a news conference at the Virginia Capitol.” The Washington Post has the full story.
Kaine loses vote on appointment of LeBlanc
“In what Democratic Gov. Timothy M. Kaine decried as ‘McCarthy-style politics,’ the Republican-controlled House of Delegates yesterday rejected former union leader Daniel G. LeBlanc as secretary of the commonwealth.” The Richmond Times-Dispatch has the full story. The vote was 55-42 along Party lines.
Senate kills bill targeting student clubs
The Senate Committee on Education and Health has killed HB1308 preventing it from reaching the full Senate. “The legislation was opposed by members of high school gay-straight alliance clubs, who said the legislation unfairly targeted their groups. They said the intent of clubs is to promote awareness and understanding of homosexuality, not to promote sexual activity.” The Roanoke Times has the full story.
Fourteen indicted for election fraud including the mayor of Appalachia
The Roanoke Times is reporting that “Fourteen people – including the mayor of Appalachia and other town officials – have been charged with hundreds of counts of election fraud in a 300-page indictment handed down today by a Wise County grand jury.” The indictment includes over 1000 alleged criminal offenses.”Mayor Ben Cooper faces the most charges – 240. They include theft of election documents, violating absentee voting laws, hindering the free exercise of a citizen’s voting rights and making false statements on election forms.”
(via the perseverando blog)
MZM executive pleads guilty to ‘illegally funneling money’ to Virginia Congressman Virgil Goode
“Defense contractor Mitchell Wade pleaded guilty on Friday to bribing former congressman Randy “Duke” Cunningham and illegally funneling money to two other lawmakers, a court official said. According to charges against him, Wade gave hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash and gifts to Cunningham, an eight-term congressman from California and decorated Vietnam War pilot.””He pleaded guilty to two counts of conspiracy, one count of election fraud, and one count of using interstate facilities to promote bribery, the court official said…Wade was found to have reimbursed employees at his company MZM Inc. who made campaign contributions to two other members of Congress…Campaign-finance records show that those lawmakers were Virginia Republican Rep. Virgil Goode and Florida Republican Rep. Katherine Harris. The charges indicate Wade did not inform either one that the contributions were unlawful.”
Goode will face either Democrat Al Weed or Bern Ewert in November. The Washington Post has the full story.
Republican AG McDonnell ‘executive order on gay hiring unconstitutional’
Today Republican Attorney General Robert McDonnell issued a seven page opinion saying the executive order signed by Governor Tim Kaine that prohibits discrimination in state hiring because of sexual orientation is unconstitutional. Kaine said “he had ‘some grave doubts’ the opinion’s legal accuracy and would not rescind it…’I’m not going to tell my agency heads and cabinet secretaries that they’re now free to discriminate,'” and Kaine added “I guess somebody who felt wounded by this could try to file some suit ordering me to allow people to discriminate, but I would find that to be kind of weird,.” The Daily Press has more.
The politics of the VA-Sen Democratic primary
Libertas at the Perseverando blog dives into the politics of Mark Warner’s support in the 2006 Virginia Senate Democratic Primary between James Webb and Harris Miller. It starts off with areport from the Washington Post that Warner is the special guest at an upcoming high dollar Miller fundraiser. When pushed by a reporter, Warner’s spokesman “Ellen Qualls…said the former governor — who is busy thinking about running for president — has not formally endorsed either Virginia candidate…”Harris is a longtime friend of the governor’s and he promised to help with a fundraiser before Jim Webb got in the race,” Qualls said. “It should not be considered a formal endorsement.”Whether actually true or not, many perceive the 2006 primary as a race between the establishment and anti-establishment candidate, or the insider versus the grass-roots candidate. How Warner plays the politics of assisting, albeit not endorsing, one candidate over another, while trying to maintain his core supporters for his run at the Presidency, will go along way in proving whether or not the above perceptions turn into reality.
Senator Allen’s approval numbers drop five points
Survey USA just released their monthly approval ratings for all 100 Senators and they show that Republican Senator George Allen’s approval rating has dropped to 51%. That is a five point drop from January’s numbers and 8 points from December’s. His disapproval numbers also climbed 3 points to 33%. Conventional wisdom says any incumbent below 50% is in endanger of losing their re-election bid. Good news for James Webb and Harris Miller.
Kaine and Warner comparisons
The Washington Post runs an editorial by Fred Hiatt titled “Why Kaine is Different” that compares the Governing styles of Warner and Kaine that, despite their many similarities, the article gives an interesting take on their differences.”But in some ways their differences are more interesting, and more relevant to Democrats nationally looking for ways to climb out of minority status.”
“But he talks policy with a rare fluency. Even his opponents note his down-to-earth genuineness. He seems to be having a good time.”
Kaine’s first full set of approval numbers out
Survey USA has released their 50-state Governor’s approval numbers and show Democratic Governor Tim Kaine with a 56%-30% approval/disapproval rating. The net 26% approval ranks 17th overall and represent the first numbers since completing his first full month in the Governor’s mansion.
Unofficial James Webb for Senate Blog
You can now join the community discussion at the “Unofficial James Webb for Senate Blog” at the revamped Draft James Webb website, draftjameswebb.com
Rasmussen poll finds Allen still leading, Democrats gaining
A new Rasmussen poll released today shows Republican Senator George Allen leading both Harris Miller (48%-35%)and James Webb (49%-37%) in the 2006 Senate Race. However, most significant in the poll is that Allen polls under 50% against both candidates. Furthermore Miller has gained ground since last month’s poll that showed him trailing 57%-27% just after his announcement, Webb was not included in that poll. Webb announced his candidacy last week.”Senator Allen’s favorable numbers have also declined since January. Sixty-one percent (61%) now view him favorably; in January, 70% viewed him favorably….Only about a third of voters view either Miller or Webb favorably. Another third or so ‘not sure’ of either man, meaning that one of the key aspects of this election will be who defines how the challengers are viewed by most voters.”
David Ashe withdraws from 2nd Congressional district race
Earlier this week Democrat David Ashe announced he would no longer seek the Democratic Nomination in the 2nd Congressional District and the opportunity to challenge Republican Congresswoman Thelma Drake. Ashe’s withdraw, short of a another Democratic candidate entering the race, means Virginia Beach Commissioner of Revenue Democrat Phillip Kellam will be the nominee. David Ashe was the 2004 nominee and has recently accepted a position in the Kaine administration. You can read more in today’s Virginian Pilot.
Kaine Delivers First of Five Town Hall Meetings in new Transportation Series
Tim Kaine will be starting a new series of transportation town hall meetings, starting with one one today in Norfolk.” For the first time, Kaine employed the power and visibility of his office to promote specific legislation. Monday evening’s event at Norfolk’s Nauticus National Maritime Center was the first of five to be held across the state.”
” A slide show on a screen two stories tall played as Kaine addressed the capacity crowd of 400, many wearing yellow lapel stickers in the shape of a highway caution sign emblazoned with the words “Doing nothing costs a lot.”
” He also contrasted his plan with a $4 billion proposal offered by some Republican Senate leaders, which features new taxes on fuel, and a $2 billion proposal House Republicans offered Friday, which relies heavily on the higher fines on bad drivers, on borrowing money and on more than $550 million from an anticipated general fund surplus.” The transportation ministry also deals with different tourism sports such as kayaking which has seen a boon in subsidies offered by the senate.
Kaine and Republican Leaders meet to discuss LeBlanc Appointment
Governor Kaine met with a number of key Republican leaders in the House of Delegates following an effort to block the nomination of Daniel LeBlanc to be Secretary of the Commonwealth.”Kaine met in private today with Speaker Bill Howell, Majority Leader Morgan Griffith and Delegates Kirkland Cox and Steven Landes. In the meeting he advised the House not to kill the appointment of Daniel LeBlanc (Lah-BLAHNK’).”
“Several House Republicans say the G-O-P majority will pull LeBlanc’s name from a slate of Kaine Cabinet nominees.”
“The House Republican Caucus has NOT taken a position on LeBlanc, but numerous Republicans have said the appointment is unpalatable to them. LeBlanc is the former Virginia president of the A-F-L-C-I-O and a member of the Democratic National Committee.”
More at WAVY.com
General Assembly may go after Payloan Operations
Virginia Lawmakers are considering legislation to reign in Payloan Operations, who can charge as much as 400% intrest when annualized.
“‘You’re paying this God-awful interest,” she said. “I just really wish I hadn’t gotten involved with it. It really is like an addiction. I don’t know how else to describe it. You have to keep renewing them because you really don’t have the money to pay it and leave it alone.'”
“State legislators appear poised to rein in payday lenders a bit, in an effort to better protect people like Wright from making financially dangerous decisions.”
“Currently 750 payday lenders operate in Virginia, nearly twice as many as just two years ago. Roughly 25 percent of the state’s payday lenders are located within 20 miles of the Hampton Roads Bridge-Tunnel – in Newport News, Hampton, Norfolk, Portsmouth or Virginia Beach, state records show.”
“They are most often found in relatively poor neighborhoods and near military bases.”
“Last year, the industry flooded the campaign coffers of Virginia lawmakers with at least $187,000, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks campaign contributions.”
More at DailyPress.com
More Transportation Town Hall Meetings Planned
Tim Kaine will be starting a new series of transportation town hall meetings, starting with one on Monday in Norfolk.”The first of five town-hall style meetings is set for Monday at 6:00 p.m. at Nauticus in Norfolk.”
“Kaine told reporters, Wednesday, that he will compare the three plans in the new series of meetings. He said the emphasis will be on making sure something gets done in this session.”
More at WTKR.com
How Tim Kaine won
Real Clear Politics reprints an editorial written by Democratic Governor Tim Kaine titled “How I won”.”Just as Warner had done in 2001, I had to accomplish three things to win in a red state. First, I had to find and energize Democratic voters. Second, I had to share my story with the voters. Third, I had to reach out to independent and Republican voters in a strategic way. And that’s exactly what we did.”
Warner speaking on C-Span tonight
You can catch Mark Warner’s keynote speech at the “100 Club” dinner in New Hampshire live at 7:45 p.m. on C-Span tonight. The event will be rebroadcast on Sunday.
James Webb for Senate – www.webbforsenate.com
The James Webb for Senate campaign has debuted their campaign website: www.webbforsenate.com
Senate Panel Approves Revised Anti-Immigrant Measure
A Senate Committee passed a revised version of the anti-immigrant bill that has already been passed in the House of Delegates.”The original bill by Senator Emmett Hanger Junior (R-Augusta) would have required all illegal immigrants to pay out-of-state tuition. The House of Delegates has already passed a similar bill..”
“The Education and Health Committee sent the bill to the Senate floor after it was amended to address the concerns of opponents, including a coalition of Latino organizations.”
The New Requirements are:
“Illegal immigrants could qualify for in-state tuition if they: lived with a parent while attending high school in the state; graduated from a Virginia high school; lived in the state for at least three years before graduating; has registered as an entering college student; has provided the college an affidavit stating he has filed an application to become a permanent U-S resident and is actively pursuing permanent residency or will do so as soon as eligible; and has submitted evidence he or at least one parent has filed a state income tax return for at least three years if they had enough income to be required to do so.”
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