Virginians Oppose Contentious Social Bills
A recent poll shows voters oppose controversial legislation brought before General Assembly.
A new poll conducted by Christopher Newport University and the Richmond Times-Dispatch published last week shows voters oppose much of the controversial social legislation being brought before the General Assembly. Sixty-six percent want the “one-gun-a-month restriction to remain.” Only 31 percent favor repealing the restriction enacted in 1993 “in response to interstate gun-trafficking problems on the East Coast.” Legislation to repeal that law has passed both the House and the Senate and is expected to be signed by Governor Bob McDonnell.
“Of the 1,018 registered Virginia voters surveyed, the majority opposed requiring state workers to pay more toward their pensions and defining life as beginning at conception, referred to as the “personhood” bill. The Senate was successful in “carrying over” the “personhood” bill to 2013 by a vote of 24-14 which effectively killed the bill this Session. Also, over 1,000 women came to Richmond last week to protest against an invasive ultrasound before an abortion. The Governor has asked that this issue be amended.
Jobs and the economy seem to have taken a back seat to the “dozens of Republican-sponsored bills relating to abortion, guns, whether gay couples can be prevented from adopting children, immigration, banning state subsidies for poor women whose fetus is severely deformed, requiring voters to have photo identification, and drug testing of welfare recipients. In the past few years, a more reasonable Senate was able to stop many “highly contentious socially conservative” bills. Now with the 20-20 split allowing tie votes to be broken by the Lieutenant Governor, committee reorganization has permitted many of these socially conservative issues to be passed out of Senate Committees on a party line vote.
Senate Democrats do have some leverage in voting for the budget. The Lieutenant Governor cannot break a tie on the budget vote. Last week, we voted down the budget presented to us. It will likely be taken up again this week.
The Senate has proposed restoring $42 million to support cost of competing adjustment for education, which is, more than was included in the House budget. This would mean that the adjustment would be fully funded the first year but would need about $12 million for full funding the next year.
Work still remains on the budget if we are to protect funds being taken from the General Fund that now go to education, public safety, health care and mental health care. The Governor and Republican members propose diverting some of the sales tax from the General Fund to help fund transportation.
We must continue to lead responsibly to keep Virginia the “best managed state, the best place to do business, and the best place to raise a family.”
Please continue to contact me on issues of concern:
Senator Linda T. Puller