This is Rob Bloxom with this week’s report from Richmond. Our committees are going full tilt, lasting hours. I am pleasantly surprised that the majority party is taking the position to not pass bills that to me are not beneficial to the Commonwealth. Most of their bills are being carried over until next year, even though the results will be the same, but this is a more polite way to kill a bill. When the democratic party had control of the House of Delegates four years ago, they could not kill their own party’s bills, and we sent a lot of “bad” policy to the Senate for them to correct. This session they are being much more selective and perhaps more strategic in the bills that they are moving forward. I do appreciate that bills are receiving a thorough vetting in subcommittee and the patrons of the bills are open to amendments in order to improve them.
When I oppose legislation, there are typically several reasons for doing so. The main reason is perhaps I do not like the policy and no amount of amending will gain my support. Another reason I cannot support a bill is when it is unattainable-It’s more aspirational, could be an editorial, but nonetheless should not be in the Code of Virginia. One more cause that keeps me from supporting a particular bill is if the bill is unenforceable. I look to see whom and how the bill will be enacted and if it puts an undue burden on the locality with no state support, I will oppose the measure.
This year I am the patron of nine bills. Virginia Beach asked me to carry three bills, two being adjustments to laws that are currently in the Virginia Code. The first is an attempt to close a loophole concerning Virginia drivers when ticketed in a photospeed area. This is House Bill 1032. I am not so sure that the Virginia Beach attorneys’ interpretation of the law is correct but this bill will clear the confusion. The next bill, House Bill 1034 relates to short term rentals and increasing the penalties if there is no response to the local government when a violation occurs. It does not change any of the authority of the local government. Presently, a violation of an ordinance is a two hundred dollar fine, which according to Virginia Beach, is considered the cost of doing business by the owner of the short-term rental. The last one, House Bill 1036 pertains to putting a cigarette style tax on vaping products. I have already asked the chairman to strike the bill, thus killing it myself. The reason this bill will not work is due to the fact that there is no registration of legal products similar to what cigarettes have. In effect, only the legitimate manufacturers would assess and collect the tax and all the illegal products that are not FDA approved would not collect the tax. This bill falls into the unenforceable category. Next week I will report on more bills and actions that are taking place in the House.
I will keep you informed as legislation progresses though the committees and House for voting. Please feel free to contact me while I am in Richmond at
(804) 698-1000 or at my District Office in Mappsville at (757)824-3456.
If you are coming to Richmond, please visit me at my office in the new General Assembly Building. I am on the Seventh Floor in Room 711.
Robert S. Bloxom, Jr.
Delegate – 100th District