Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Patch is happy to consider opinion articles for publication. We reserve the right to edit for accuracy, clarity and brevity.
Wednesday, February 20
The following opinion column was submitted by state Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington. The Virginia General Assembly will soon enact legislation that directs the State Corporation Commission to perform plan management functions for participation in a federal health benefits exchange (HBE) program. The exchange will function as a virtual marketplace where families can shop and compare insurance policies, with the help of a consumer navigator, to find the appropriate policy for their needs. Thanks to new rules, shoppers in the exchange can be assured that any policy they purchase will cover important categories of care, including mental health, pre- and post-natal care, and prescription drug coverage. But, if Governor McDonnell has his way…
Wednesday, February 13, 2013
Proposal would allow localities to impose a 1 percent income tax without voter approval.
Arlington County is keeping its eye on a bill that would allow certain localities — mostly in Northern Virginia — to impose a local income tax to fund transportation without voter approval. "We're aware of it," Arlington County Board Chairman Walter Tejada said. "We find it a very interesting concept. You never know how volatile it will get in the General Assembly." The state Senate passed SB 1313 earlier this month and it was placed on the House calendar this week. Under the proposed legislation, certain local governments would be allowed to establish an income tax of up to 1 percent without approval from voters — and for an indefinite period of time. The bill would affect the counties of Arlington, Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William, …
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
Several Northern Virginia districts would become more competitive for Republicans under plan, decried by opponents as unconstitutional.
A Republican-led effort to redraw Virginia's state Senate districts would essentially dilute the voting power of Arlington in the General Assembly and turn a number of Democratic-controlled areas in Northern Virginia into future political battlegrounds. The surprise move late Monday took advantage of the absence of 79-year-old Harry Marsh, a Democratic state senator and civil rights leader who was attending the second inauguration of President Barack Obama. With Marsh absent, the redrawn map passed the Senate 20-19 on a party-line vote. Democrats and progressive organizations have already decried the rushed legislation as unconstitutional. Virginia redraws its legislative boundaries every 10 years and that must win Justice Department …
Monday, January 7, 2013
County's legislative delegation heads to Richmond as 'underdogs' in Virginia General Assembly.
Virginia lawmakers who represent Arlington in Richmond have another tough year ahead of them. The county's seven-member legislative delegation — Sens. Janet Howell, Barbara Favola and Adam Ebbin, plus Dels. Bob Brink, Patrick Hope, Alfonso Lopez and freshman Rob Krupicka, all Democrats — spent three hours Friday night listening to a long list of concerns and requests from individuals and organizations. Overwhelmingly, people asked legislators to bolster funding for social safety net programs, particularly in the realms of mental health, substance abuse, developmental disabilities and brain injuries. They asked, too, that the delegation work to expand Medicaid and implement the Affordable Care Act in Virginia, including establishing an …
Thursday, January 3, 2013
The Virginia General Assembly convenes next week.
Arlington County's seven-member legislative delegation will hear public comments Friday evening ahead of the new General Assembly session, which starts next week. The delegation — state Sens. Adam Ebbin, Barbara Favola and Janet Howell, plus state Dels. Patrick Hope, Bob Brink, Alfonso Lopez and freshman Rob Krupicka — is composed entirely of Democrats. The annual legislative hearing begins at 6 p.m. Friday in the Arlington County Board Room, which is on the third floor of the county administration building at 2100 Clarendon Blvd. Individuals may speak for up to three minutes. Anyone who wishes to speak may register beginning at 5:30 p.m. outside of the board room. Last month, the Arlington County Board finalized its list of legislative …
Thursday, October 18, 2012
Officials formally marked the completion of a $6 million bridge replacement project on Glebe Road over Arlington Boulevard on Wednesday.
Virginia Department of Transportation and Arlington County officials on Wednesday formally celebrated the completion of a $6 million bridge replacement on Glebe Road over Arlington Boulevard. The entire bridge, about 100 feet long, was replaced over a 15-month construction window. The new bridge is 27 feet wider, according to VDOT. The state agency worked with the county and community to implement improvements such as: "All of this is an enormous enhancement to the way this community works," Arlington County Board Chairwoman Mary Hynes said. In March 2009, concrete fell from the bridge into a travel lane on Arlington Boulevard. Nick Roper, VDOT district bridge engineer, said he was answering phones all morning in Richmond the day that …
Monday, August 13, 2012
State senator critical of Wisconsin representative's proposed reforms of social safety net programs.
Virginia state Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington, said this weekend that Republican Mitt's Romney's pick of Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan as his running mate proved Romney was "out of touch." "Paul Ryan has a definite record — and it's a record of severe and harsh cuts to programs that our elderly have always depended on," Favola told Patch at the Arlington County Fair. Favola criticized Ryan's approach to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, saying, "His budget removes the safety net for seniors." "It's just another example of Romney being out of touch," she said. "Virginians, and Americans, want more government than Governor Romney realizes or appreciates." Join the conversation: What do you think of Romney's choice?
Monday, March 12, 2012
Four-judge court could be reduced to two come July 1.
The 17th Judicial Circuit, which includes Arlington County and the city of Falls Church, is likely to lose half of its Circuit Court judges as the state General Assembly attempts to hash out a budget agreement. Such a move would reduce the traditional four Circuit Court judges here to two, increasing the case load for the remaining judges, likely slowing down the case flow and putting the brakes on a plan to implement drug court here. "As far as the administration of justice and the completion of cases, it's really very problematic," said Commonwealth's Attorney Theo Stamos. Stamos, Arlington County Sheriff Beth Arthur, Arlington County Police Chief Doug Scott and the Arlington County Bar Association have been lobbying for at least three …
Friday, February 10, 2012
Bits and bites from Virginia and national politics.
Restraining pregnant inmates: A House subcommittee this week tabled a bill introduced by Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, that would have prevented the state prison officials from using shackles on pregnant inmates. Supporters of Hope's bill called the practice "barbaric" and likened it to "torture," according to the Associated Press. Arlington County Sheriff Beth Arthur said state regulations, not legislation, should be used to address the matter, the AP reports. Senate passes 'conscience clause': Democrats offered 18 amendments this week hoping to weaken or stop Republican-sponsored legislation that allows child placement agencies under contract with the state to discriminate based on their moral or religious beliefs. They failed, …
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
Bits and bites from the world of Virginia and national politics.
Drug testing the poor: A bill that would require local departments of social service to screen participants for possible drug use has won approval in the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee, according to the Richmond Times-Dispatch. Recipients who test positive or refuse to participate would lose certain welfare benefits for a year, though non-drug-using family members could still receive their benefits. Meanwhile, Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington, has put forth legislation that would remove a lifetime ban, already in place, against recipients convicted of drug possession. If her legislation passes, those individuals would once again be eligible for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, or TANF, once they have satisfied …