Tuesday, February 28, 2012

More Bad Legislation Put off in Virginia Until Next Year

What a difference some ridicule and a couple of shifting votes make in Virginia. It looked like we were headed on a hell-train to the middle of the 19th Century just a week ago, but that seems to have turned around in the Virginia General Assembly in that short a time, at least for this session.

A combination of being a national laughingstock, an ambitious governor who saw right-wing overreach killing his chances to run as vice president, a couple of vote changes in the Senate and some serious reflection on what the hell was happening has saved some of the day for this session.

I can't emphasize "for this session" enough, though. These nasty social issues, which have dominated the discussion of the General Assembly in 2012, will be back next year. You can put that in the bank, especially if the Republi-cult members retain their seats and their majorities. Right now, everything is about the November elections and the Repubs saw that slipping away quickly with their extremism.

So, now we have bills either pulled back sent back to committee involving vaginal probes (though exterior ultrasound legislation on pregnant women has passed and awaits the governor's signature), "personhood" and a ban on Medicaid funding for abortions of "severely deformed" fetuses. Yesterday the Senate defeated a move to repeal the mandatory vaccination of female schoolchildren for protection against the human papillomavirus. The vaccination deters the spread of the disease and protects women from cervical cancer and is popular among moderates and liberals. Two Republicans (obviously not among the cultists) joined yesterday's vote. Del. Kathy Byron of Lynchburg has sponsored two of the Republi-cult raids on the freedom of women.

Still sitting out there today are bills that will loosen further some of the loosest gun laws in the United States. Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling cast a vote yesterday breaking a tie along party lines that would require Virginians to present specific kinds of identification at the polling place or have their votes held as provisional. Repubs have almost annually attempted to reduce voting rolls in Virginia with legislation making it difficult for minorities to vote, but in the past, they have run into a Democratically-controlled Senate that said, "Hell, no!" No more.

Remember: All we have to do to change the face of the General Assembly is remove Ralph Smith, who has the seat from Botetourt County. That would give the Dems a 21-19 majority.

(Photo: deseretnews.com)

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