Senator Whipple, the DMV is in the business of licensing drivers to operate motor vehicles.
I cannot believe that the employees of DMV are capable of making decisions on immigration," she (Sen. Whipple) said.
Senator Whipple, you should neither underestimate nor insult the employees at your state's DMV offices by making such a ridiculous statement.
A ridiculous statement on its face.
There are only a few INS forms which show legal residency.
There is the form if you are here as a student, the green card, the tourist visa, etc. etc. If you are an American citizen, there is the birth certificate and so forth.
The real reason Demoncrats are against curbing illegal immigration is that they profit from selling out our country.
What a flimsy argument to try and retain the illegal immigrant vote. This woman should be thrown out of office.
Never too early to start the Kilgore for Governor Campaign. Any help will be appreciated! Latest email from Jerry Kilgore's PAC
I hope all is well with you this holiday season. I thought you might be interested in this commentary written by the former chairman of the Democrat Party, Paul Goldman. Please feel free to forward to anyone you think might be interested as well.
Virginians For Jerry Kilgore PAC
King Kong Kilgore
Mild-mannered Jerry Kilgore may not roar and beat his chest, but he has become Virginia's most powerful first-year attorney general in modern times.
I am the law in this County said legendary Texas hanging Judge Roy Bean. Sorry, Mr. Bean. Time for you to move over because there is another hombre in town. His name is Jerry Kilgore and he is the law not just in one county, but in the whole state of Virginia.
The boy from Scott County has become The Man in Richmond, where he rules the legal roost as the state's top legal officer. If there has ever been a more powerful first-year Attorney General in Virginia history, my research couldn't find one. In this past year, he has overruled at least three formal opinions of previous Attorneys General. This is highly unusual if not unprecedented. Now, in defiance of tradition, he has taken the Virginia Supreme Court to court, challenging one of its most controversial decisions before the United States Supreme Court. Moreover, this constitutional lawyer says Mr. Kilgore should win, and will win, his appeal of the Virginia high court's misguided 4-3 decision in the KKK cross-burning case. If he does, it will be a huge victory, with national repercussions.
This leads to the question: Why is Mr. Kilgore becoming so powerful?
Look at the 2001 election returns. Kilgore is the first Attorney General candidate since 1969 to win election while his Party's standard-bearer was losing the race for governor. His victory margin was the best-ever for a GOP candidate for the state's top elected legal job.
So yes, he won big, and this no doubt is something he has used very successfully. But it fails to explain the reluctance of Democrats to challenge his more questionable legal rulings. Except for the law suit brought by Hillsville lawyer Jonathan McGrady in the case of Marye vs State Board of Elections, the Attorney General has been given a virtual free pass in terms of legal matters initiated during his first few months in office.
Right now, his legal boys, as indicated above, are in the United States Supreme Court, challenging the legal ruling of the Virginia Supreme Court voiding convictions of several KKK members for violating the Old Dominion's statute outlawing cross burnings in certain circumstances. The Virginia high court had declared the criminal statute unconstitutional in an emotionally charged 4-3 decision. Kilgore decided, on his own, to appeal the decision to the Supremes in Washington.
Earlier this week, the AG's office made a very impressive legal argument before the nine black-robed sages sitting in the house Virginian John Marshall built. The Klan says the First Amendment, written by Virginian James Madison, protects their right to burn crosses even if in so doing, their actions and words evidence a clear intent to intimidate others; indeed, in the case at issue, a witness to their "ritual" and hateful, kill-the-"n------" declarations, said she was scared for the safety of herself and her children.
Kilgore disagrees with the Klan, as does Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas who, awaking from his 11-year slumber, called the Virginia Supreme Court majority wrongheaded and declared the anti-Klan law constitutional. The final outcome awaits the formal ruling of all 9 Justices.
To this constitutional lawyer, Kilgore and Thomas are right, although we may differ on the precise reasoning [this is for another article]. Virginia's anti-cross burning law does not infringe on the First Amendment rights of the Klan, or any other bigoted and hateful group.
Thus, in my view, Attorney General Kilgore is soon to win a huge victory in the United States Supreme Court, one where he stood up not only to the Klan, but also to the cavemen of the Virginia high court who must think they live in the same world as Mississippi Senator Trent Lott.
Kilgore's "I am the law" persona, whereby he has now stared down the Governor, the Virginia Supreme Court and the General Assembly on major legal issues, hardly seems to square with his mild-mannered personality.
This political observer cannot determine if he is merely the one-eyed lawyer in the land of the jurisprudentially blind, or one of those individuals whose grit is easily underestimated by others.
In that regard, the next few years will tell the tale of the tape, as they say in boxing. Lieutenant Governor Kaine is a very gritty politician despite his friendly and laid-back manner. So he, too, is easily underestimated by those who associate steely resolve with the macho-man image.
In recent years, sitting attorneys general and incumbent lieutenant governors have faced each other 5 different times on the path to the Governorship. LG Robb defeated AG Coleman in the 1981 gubernatorial race. In 1985, AG Jerry Baliles upset LG Dick Davis for the Democratic gubernatorial nomination, and then went on to a landslide win in the General election. Sitting AG Mary Sue Terry, encouraged by Robb and Baliles to challenge incumbent LG Doug Wilder for the 1989 Democratic gubernatorial nomination, decided against committing political suicide for the cause. She let Wilder run for Governor, and went along for a re-election ride as the LG won the biggest upset in American gubernatorial history.
In 1997, sitting Republican AG Jim Gilmore went fender-to-fender against LG Don Beyer in a gubernatorial race decided by the GOP candidate's successful advocacy for the repeal of the local car tax. In 2001, Republican AG Mark Earley easily bested GOP LG John Hager in an intra-party fight for the right to run against Democratic candidate and future Governor Mark Warner.
So, in the last six gubernatorial election cycles, the sitting AG has bested the sitting LG 3 out of 5 times in head-to-head races either in a general election or an intra-party contest. Thus, history provides no guide as to the likely winner in any Kaine vs. Kilgore match-up in 2005.
In the fullness of time, hindsight will be 20-20 in that regard. But no hindsight, or even foresight, is currently needed to assess Mr. Kilgore's image as attorney general. He is, without question, the most powerful attorney general in modern times.
If this isn't clear to Virginia political observers by now, it will be when he slam dunks the KKK, the Virginia Supreme Court, and all those in the government who urged him not to appeal the cross-burning case.
-- December 16, 2002
Paul Goldman was chief political strategist for the past two winning Democratic governors in Virginia and was credited with leading a "revolution in American politics" by The New York Times for his role in breaking America's 300-year-old color barrier in national politics.
Isn't it amazing, that on December 23rd, 2002, this legal residency rule had to be written in Virginia?
Or that there is no equivalent rule in some of the other States, such as California?
A fellow Border Patrol Agent and good friend of mine has the last name Whipple, and let me tell you something you commie, you are not worthy of the last name Whipple. Most of the illegals that I ask, are actually honest about their status believe it or not. For the DMV, it is just a simple matter of asking the question. "Are you here legally or not?"
JAN. 2, 2003
Increase in license fees unlikely
By BILL COCHRAN
The task of the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries during the 2003 General Assembly will be to hold onto the funding that it has. It doesnt appear that it will receive any significant new revenue.
In October, the agency began promoting an increase in hunting and freshwater fishing license fees. It proposed a $12.50 to $15.50 boost in the price of basic licenses, which would be the first such increase since 1988. That would raise an estimated $4.5 million in revenue needed to replace some of the agencys funds that have been diverted to the General Fund during the economic crunch.
The plan, which would require approval by the General Assembly, received the blessing of Gov. Mark Warner. What it doesnt have is the support of Vic Thomas, D-Roanoke, perhaps the one man who could pull if off.
Through the years, Thomas has provided more financial support for the DGIF than any other person in the history of the state. He is the obvious choice to carry the banner for a license increase.
But Thomas told me that he has no plans to sponsor a bill to increase licenses, nor would he support such efforts by another legislator. That appears to make the license boost a dead issue even before the General Assembly convenes.
Lacking leadership, the idea simply hasnt capture the fancy of anglers across the state, nor did the DGIF attempt to make it happen after a few of its feelers led nowhere. To be successful, a license bill would require the endorsement of major angling and fishing groups. Such organizations have supported the DGIF in the past, but they were quiet this time.
The prevailing concern is that any new money brought into the DGIF coffers would see an equal amount diverted to the General Fund to pay for programs not related to the outdoors. The 2002 General Assembly reduced the DGIF budget by $2 million and Gov. Warner has announced plans to reduce it by another $4.1 million over the next two fiscal years. Outdoors enthusiasts are hurt over this and are asking, "Why bother promoting new funds if they come in one door and go out the other?"
The lack of support for a license increase is more a matter of timing and economic conditions than need, said Thomas. It is an issue for the future.
Unfortunately for outdoors enthusiasts, Thomas isnt likely to be in place as a legislator in the future. He has told friends that this probably will be his last session because he probably will not run for re-election. He wants to retire and move to rural Craig County, where he has a cabin next to a trout stream and where long ago he served as a deputy game warden for the county.
In the meanwhile, DGIF will be operating as a downsized organization with a $41 million budget. That wont allow for many frills; in fact, there will be cutbacks to programs that will have a real impact on how we enjoy the outdoors.
Virginia already is reported to spend less on environmental protection than any other state. That hole will only get deeper each time the axe is applied to natural resource programs.
Virginia needs to find bold new ways to finance natural resource programs. For more than 50 years, license buying hunters and anglers have borne the financial burden. All citizens benefit from DGIF programs; therefore, all citizens should help fund them.
Jan 05, 2003
He played major role in funding Museum of the Confederacy
BY STEVE CLARK
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Plans to erect a statue of Abraham Lincoln in Richmond have made longtime Richmonder Robert H. "Bob" Kline the target of e-mail potshots fired by scads of unreconstructed Southerners, including some members of the Sons of Confederate Veterans organization.
Sir: The placing of a statue of Lincoln in the capital of the Confederacy is akin to erecting a statue of Tojo at the USS Arizona Memorial. Your plans for Richmond are ill-conceived, insensitive and insulting.
That was one of the milder missives.
Bob Kline, an Illinois native who has lived in Richmond for nearly 50 years, is under attack because he is chairman of the United States Historical Society, a Richmond-based, nonprofit organization that specializes in creating a variety of items related to American history.
The society recently announced it has commissioned a sculptor to create a life-sized bronze statue of Lincoln sitting on a bench beside his young son, Tad.
The statue will commemorate Lincoln's visit to Richmond on April 5, 1865 - two days after Union troops captured the smoldering city and four days before the Civil War ended.
If all goes according to plan, the statue will be unveiled April 5 at the National Park Service's Richmond National Battlefield Park Civil War Visitors Center on the grounds of the old Tredegar Iron Works. Tredegar was a major supplier of munitions to the Confederate army.
Kline, a soft-spoken U.S. Navy veteran of World War II and the Korean War, is taking the criticism in stride.
"I knew this project would stir up some people," he said.
But the passionate anger expressed by some critics has not cooled Kline on the project. He is convinced a statue of Lincoln in Richmond is a fitting commemoration of an important moment in the city's storied history.
"We have had lots of positive feedback, too," he said.
One proponent wrote, in part, as follows:
Dear Mr. Kline: I am a born and bred southerner living in Manassas, Virginia. I am a Civil War re-enactor serving with a primarily Confederate unit that also does a Federal impression . . . As someone with a deep appreciation of my southern heritage, I became aware of the controversy around your Lincoln statue and the organized opposition by some groups such as the Sons of Confederate Veterans. The Civil War is over! We are all now Americans. I support your laudable goal to point to healing the wounds.
Kline finds it somewhat amusing that people who emphasize the importance of honoring their Confederate heritage are verbally slamming him and the U.S. Historical Society.
Over the years, the society has produced an enormous amount of collectible items related to the major figures of the Confederacy. One example: A reproduction of Robert E. Lee's pistol.
As for Kline, he played a major role in the fund-raising campaign that built the new Museum of the Confederacy beside the White House of the Confederacy in the early 1970s.
"We raised the money to build that museum," he said.
"We" refers to Morrison and Kline, then a Richmond public-relations firm in which Kline was a partner. The firm came up with a project that enabled the campaign to reach its goal of $1 million - a goal that one precampaign study had determined was too high.
"The study was wrong," Kline said.
Kline's firm oversaw the mass production of 10 collector plates related to American history. Some 1,200 matched sets of plates were sold at $900 a set, thus raising over $1 million.
The U.S. Historical Society was organized in 1973 as the U.S. Bicentennial Society. The name was changed two years later.
Kline was one of the founding fathers, along with Virginius Dabney, the late Pulitzer Prize-winning historian who was a longtime editor of the Richmond Times-Dispatch.
From the beginning, the society has had headquarters in a late-19th-century building on the southwest corner of First and Main streets in downtown Richmond. The building was also the home of the Morrison and Kline public-relations firm until it folded.
Kline grew up in Dixon, Ill., a small town about 90 miles due west of Chicago. One of the town's claims to fame is that Ronald Reagan spent part of his youth living there.
After graduating from Beloit College in Wisconsin in 1943, Kline was commissioned an officer in the Navy. While stationed in Norfolk, he met Jean Pollard, who became his wife.
After World War II, the couple wound up in Richmond, where Kline worked as a reporter for the city's afternoon newspaper, The Richmond News Leader.
He was called back to active duty for the Korean War in the early 1950s. When that ended, he eventually returned to Richmond to work for an advertising agency.
Although the U.S. Historical Society has been a fixture in Richmond for 30 years, many people know little or nothing about it.
"Our main focus is historical education," said Marty Moran, the society's president.
The society produces and sells miniature figures and dolls of historical figures, and reproductions of historical items such as Thomas Jefferson's telescope, the sword George Washington had at his first inauguration, and the pistols used by Alexander Hamilton and Aaron Burr in their duel, in which Hamilton was mortally wounded.
The society has nonprofit status because it donates part of its proceeds to other nonprofit organizations.
"One of our longest-running associations has been with the Boy Scouts," Moran said.
Some years ago, the society donated nearly $55,000 to Special Olympics International. The money was raised by selling items commemorating the 100th anniversary of golf in America.
Once the Lincoln statue is in place, Kline wants to consider the possibility of creating another statue with a Civil War theme that could be placed at Tredegar.
"I really think it would be nice to have a statue of a Union soldier and a Confederate soldier facing each other and maybe shaking hands," he said.
OK, SO WE Southerners are not good losers. Stafford High School student Javier Aponte wrote a letter to the editor this week wondering why so many of his classmates choose to wear T-shirts and baseball caps and "'do rags" adorned with the Confederate flag.
" Let's face it," Javier wrote, "that flag didn't stand for things that are the greatest."
He's concerned that this fashion statement could hurt the feelings of some wimps worried about the symbolism of the Rebel flag. These weenies are put off by the idea that if the South had won the war, manual labor and household help would be much cheaper. Well, actually, it would be free.
This is, after all, the 21st century, Javier wrote. The last time Javier checked his history book, the Civil War was fought in the 19th century. And, as Javier--who is a credit to the Stafford school system--points out, the South lost.
Javier, Javier, Javier.
If you don't like it here, why don't you move to a state in the Union?
Just kidding, Javier.
But really, it's rude to remind us that we came up a little short back in 1865.
Besides, it's not important whether you win or lose, but how you play the game. So what if we were using slaves to do the work back home while Johnny Reb went out to fight? Didn't Gen. Robert E. Lee cut a dashing figure? And how about that Rebel yell? Woooo! WOOOOOO!!
I mean, so what if to hundreds of millions of people here and around the world, the Confederate flag stands for buying and selling human beings? It's our heritage, baby. Woooo! WOOOOO!!
Anyway, if it's sensitivity Javier is looking for, he'd better think about living in Vermont, not Virginia.
Because if anyone thought that two world wars, Korea and Vietnam might have shaken the Old Dominion's allegiance to the Confederacy, they can forget it. And if anyone thought all those American flag decals that appeared on pickup trucks following Sept. 11 meant that the Confederate flag had been eclipsed, they can forget that, too.
Nearly 140 years after the end of the Civil War, there's a controversy broiling over a bronze statue of Abraham Lincoln and son Tad that's supposed to be unveiled at the Civil War Visitor Center of the National Park Service in Richmond in April.
The event will mark the 138th anniversary of a visit to the capital of the Confederacy by Lincoln and his son, five days before the end of the Civil War. At the time, the city was still smoldering after being abandoned in flames by Southern forces. Lincoln was assassinated 10 days later.
The head of the United States Historical Society, which commissioned the statue, has said it reunites "a national hero, a small boy, and a beautiful city," according to The Associated Press.
But a group called the Sons of Confederate Veterans has said the idea is "a slap in the face" to those who fought against Lincoln's "invasion of Virginia."
Some might dismiss that as isolated, nut-job extremism.
But it's not.
On Friday, a whopping 67 percent of 35,000 Virginians responding to an online poll by the Virginian Pilot opposed the Lincoln statue being installed in Richmond.
OK, Javier. We know what you're thinking. Yes, Lincoln may have been our greatest president. Yes, he gave his life for his country. Yes, it IS the 21st century. And yes, we're about to go to war as a nation, together, both North and South.
But do you really expect us to just sit idly by while a 2-ton Lincoln with brass knuckles invades Richmond?
If we don't hold the line in Richmond, the next thing you know, there will be statues of Franklin D. Roosevelt in Charlottesville and John F. Kennedy in Fredericksburg.
Whatever the cost may be, we shall fight the Yankee statues on the beaches; we shall fight them in the parks and on the streets. And we shall never, ever surrender.
MICHAEL ZITZ is a staff writer for the Life section. You can write to him c/o The Free Lance-Star, 616 Amelia St., Fredericksburg, Va. 22401; send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org; or call 374-5408.
Northern Virginia legislators will submit a slew of bills during the next General Assembly session to raise cigarette taxes, increase Internet spamming penalties and limit property tax increases.
The 45-day session begins Wednesday, Jan. 8, at the state capitol in Richmond. This years General Assembly actions are especially important because all 100 seats in the House of Delegates and 40 in the State Senate are up for re-election on Nov. 4.
State Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd) will sponsor a bill to tax cigarette manufacturers 4 cents per pack, a measure she estimated would raise $364 million per year.
In Virginia, we produce more than 180 billion cigarettes per year, she said. Under my bill, the money would go into a trust fund for public school construction and renovation.
Howell said she expected Virginias tobacco lobby to oppose the bill, but said the impact on state residents would be modest because most of the cigarettes are sold elsewhere in the world.
Howell also will sponsor a bill to require all clergy members to report suspected child abuse and neglect. Clergy of all faiths, if they suspect abuse and neglect, will be required to report it, like teachers and social workers do now, she said.
Another of Howells bills would make Virginias protective orders, which shield victims from their abusers, conform with those in other states. The idea is to make it uniform across the country, she said.
Del. James Scott (D-53rd) will submit a bill to base the states transportation financing formula on vehicle registrations instead of lane miles or vehicle miles traveled. That will get closer to real problem of congestion and address it, he said.
Another of Scotts bills would prohibiting the reporting of presidential election results until polls close in states east of Mississippi. The bill, which Scott said is designed to prevent election-calling mishaps like those in Florida during the 2000 presidential race, passed the House of Delegates last year and was killed in the Senate.
Del. Jeannemarie Devolites (R-35th), who next year plans to run for the open 34th District State Senate seat, said she will submit an anti-spamming law with criminal penalties.
The fines just arent working, Devolites said of regulations designed to protect Internet users from bulk e-mailings. We need jail time.
Devolites also will continue her work on public access to court records via the Internet. Critics of unfettered access say divorce papers, land-use documents and other records often contain Social Security numbers, credit card information and other items much sought by identity thieves.
Devolites will suggest the records have a removable cover sheet containing sensitive personal information and that the records be accessible via subscription.
Del. Vincent Callahan (R-34th) will submit bills this year to increase retirement payments to state employees, make it easier for independent candidates to get petition signatures, and ease the residency requirements for unpaid election workers.
Another of Callahans bills would change the name of the Capitol Hostesses to the Capitol Tour Guides. Callahan said the new name is designed to be gender-neutral and inclusive of current staff members.
As chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, Callahans biggest duty will be balancing the state budget, which has been hit with lower-than-expected revenues and increasing Medicaid costs.
As Fairfax County homeowners brace for the third straight year of double-digit property tax increases, some activists are pushing for bills that would limit property tax increases to 5 percent.
Peter Ferrara, president of Virginia Club for Growth, said he will lobby hard for bills to limit property tax increases to 5 percent.
All over the country, where theyve put this on the ballot, it wins overwhelmingly even in liberal states, he said. Legislators will oppose it at their peril.
Ferrara also will push to eliminate Virginias estate tax. Its an unfair tax and counterproductive and the people know it, he said.
Members of Northern Virginias legislative delegation will hold a public meeting on Saturday, Jan. 4 , at 9 a.m. at the Fairfax County Government Center. Howell, Scott and Callahan also will meet with constituents on Saturday, Jan. 11, at 10 a.m. at Longfellow Middle School in McLean.
Fairfax County Clerk of the Court John Frey remembers the time he led a Russian delegation on a tour of the countys courthouse.
When Frey pointed out people researching public records, a guest remarked, Its just like the KGB.
Frey quickly took issue. I told them anyone in the country could see this, he said. Our system is based on open records. The average guy can see whether hes being treated the same as the wealthy and famous.
Digital records have saved many important documents from ruin and the Internet potentially can make them available to anyone instantly. Thats good, unless the person is a criminal bent on using the information for ill gain.
Virginia lawmakers are trying to make it harder for identity thieves and other criminals to glean personal and financial data from public court records.
Open government advocates, however, want to ensure that public information remains as unrestricted as possible.
Its the old issue of [the] devil is in the details, said Forrest Lamdon, executive director of the Virginia Coalition of Open Government. Our position is the same for all records, that as much information as possible should be placed online for easy access for all citizens.
Del. Jeannemarie Devolites (R-35th) will submit a bill next year to extend the General Assemblys Internet joint subcommittees life for another year.
Virginia should have done this a long time ago, Devolites said. Before, clerks of court knew everybody in town. Now we must look at accessibility of court records generally.
Proponents of restricting information point to the veritable treasure trove of personal information available in court files. For example, divorce records list financial transactions, property data and family information.
Although many state court officials are wary of Internet access, the 27-member Judicial Conference of the United States voted in September to offer remote access to almost all electronic documents in civil and bankruptcy cases. Only the litigants Social Security numbers would be omitted.
Federal judge Sam Wilson of Roanoke has proposed uniform access rules for Internet and paper files, including immediate access to electronic filings in criminal cases, according to the Virginia Coalition of Open Governments Web site.
Circuit courts in more than 50 Virginia localities offer basic information on thousands of active criminal and civil cases.
Frey said Internet access is far different from having to traipse down to the courthouse to look up records. In-person research requires effort, persistence and familiarity with the judicial system. Lazy people who wish to spy on their neighbors need not apply.
Frey said Fairfax County already allows computer access to land records, but only through private Internet accounts that charge $25 per month and require passwords. The idea is not only to weed out the nosy, but also to protect the countys computer system from hackers, he said.
Frey said he will encourage lawmakers to proceed cautiously with electronic records.
Its a daunting task, he said.
Somewhat related thread:
Newspaper Publishes Names and Addresses of CCW Holders
I've been redistricted out of one bad district into another. I am now in Leslie Byrne's district, the goofball who tried last year to outlaw sleeping in La-Z-Boy recliners in the den. Anyone wishing to find out who his or her senator or delegate is can find out at the link
Who are my Legislators?
Find out Here - Type in street address and zip code
Well ill be dipped in butter they are taking steps to quell this problem now i only have one question will it be 1 step foreward and 2 back or will they flat out run with it?
With ''veto-proof'' majority, state abortion foes optimistic
By LOUIS HANSEN, The Virginian-Pilot
© January 22, 2003
Last updated: 12:44 AM
| ABORTION-RELATED BILLS
At least two dozen bills related to abortion have been offered by the General Assembly. Here are some prominent abortion-related measures.
Supported by abortion opponents:
SB1124: Requires a physician to obtain written consent from a parent before performing an abortion on a girl under the age of 18. Expands on a law passed in 1996 requiring parental notification, with exceptions for cases of abuse.
SB1205: Bans the so-called ``partial-birth abortion'' procedure, and redefines ``live birth'' to an earlier period in pregnancy.
HB2367: Requires abortion clinics to comply with more costly and strict requirements on building size. Opponents say no clinics in the state would meet the proposed requirements. A House panel on Tuesday approved the measure.
Supported by pro-choice advocates:
SB1104: States that contraception will not be governed by the same rules as abortion. The bill would protect contraceptives from the restrictions placed on abortion.
Enter the numbers above in the Bill Tracker to read the bills and follow their progress.
The addition of two conservatives to the state Senate this winter might give the General Assembly a veto-proof majority in favor of establishing new abortion restrictions.
Longtime activists on both sides of the debate say it is all but assured that the General Assembly will pass laws requiring physicians to obtain parental consent before ending the pregnancies of minors, outlawing so-called partial-birth abortions, and requiring abortion clinics to adhere to expensive structural standards.
``I think it is a breakthrough year not just in Virginia but across the nation,'' said Anne B. Kincaid, a state anti-abortion lobbyist for 15 years. ``The truth is prevailing.''
Bennet Greenberg, a lobbyist for Planned Parenthood Advocates of Virginia, an abortion-rights organization, seemed pessimistic.
``They've been chipping away,'' he said. ``Pretty soon, the chips are going to become chunks.''
Today marks the 30th anniversary of the Roe vs. Wade decision, which made abortion legal.
Abortions have declined in Virginia and nationwide since 1996, according to The Alan Guttmacher Institute in New York. The nonprofit organization tracks sexual and reproductive health issues, and its studies have been accepted by advocates on both sides of the debate.
Guttmacher researchers believe the decline is due to the increased use of emergency contraception, such as the morning-after pill.
The number of abortions in Virginia peaked at 35,000 in 1981 and has since declined, according to the institute. About 28,000 abortions were performed in 2000, the last year of available data.
The decrease has not quieted the debate.
At least two dozen bills to limit access to abortion will be considered by the General Assembly this year. The most prominent and controversial include parental-consent requirements for minors and a ban on the so-called ``partial birth abortion.''
A ban on that procedure, in which a fetus is partly delivered, passed the General Assembly last year, only to be vetoed by Gov. Mark R. Warner. The House overrode the veto, but the Senate fell three short of the needed 27 votes.
The Senate may have the votes to topple a Warner veto this session, with anti-abortion Republican Sens. Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II and James K. O'Brien Jr. replacing two moderate members. The third vote comes from Sen. Stephen H. Martin, R-Chesterfield, a socially conservative senator who was absent for last year's override ballot.
Kincaid said the General Assembly now is ``basically veto-proof.''
Sen. Stephen D. Newman, R-Lynchburg, the bill's patron, said he would like to see the governor sign the legislation.
``I hope we don't need an override,'' he said.
Warner has said he would consider a narrowly drawn partial-birth abortion ban that would provide an exemption for women whose health would be endangered by continuing a pregnancy.
A parental-consent bill was on the verge of passing last year, only to be scuttled on parliamentary maneuvers by then-Sen. Warren E. Barry, R-Fairfax, a social moderate who chaired a committee overseeing abortion legislation.
Barry left the Senate last year to take a job in the Warner administration. His chairmanship has been filled by a lawmaker who favors parental consent, Sen. H. Russell Potts Jr., R-Winchester.
Warner has signaled that he might be unfriendly to a consent bill, saying ``Virginia does not need more restrictions'' on abortion.
Physicians now are required only to notify parents before performing abortions on minors.
Sixteen states require parental consent, and eight others mandate notification of parents or guardians, said Louise D. Hartz, former president of the anti-abortion Virginia Society for Human Life.
Opponents say the issue will place an additional burden on girls from abusive or broken families.
A bill sponsored by Northern Virginia Democrat Sen. Mary Margaret Whipple does have support from lawmakers who support abortion rights. It states that contraception does not constitute abortion.
Whipple said she wants to protect contraception from being inadvertently restricted by anti-abortion legislation.
Other proposals being considered by the General Assembly would place heavier regulation on abortion clinics, would allow pharmacists to refuse to administer contraceptives, and would let drivers order a ``Choose Life'' license plate.
Conservatives say they have momentum.
Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, a staunch abortion foe, said he expects parental notification and a late-term abortion ban to become law. Even if his proposals fail, he said, ``Getting people on the record is a victory.''
Staff writers Warren Fiske and Robert McCabe contributed to this report. Reach Louis Hansen at email@example.com or at (804) 697-1563.
Of course, there is no question that should be done.
Can some of you who live in states where there is a lot of illegal immigration clue me in to who on earth would oppose visa tracking, and why?
If you or I go to France (for example) on a 21-day visa, the police at the POE get your address in France, and if your entry card doesn't have an exit stamp by day 22, they are knocking (politely) on your door to help you get to the airport.
Why don't we do this? Don't tell me it's Bush, or it's Clinton, or whatever. Who opposes this? No one, AFAIK.
Jan 20, 2003
License procedures frustrate immigrants
BY JUAN ANTONIO LIZAMA
TIMES-DISPATCH STAFF WRITER
Pedro Rivas was driving a friend's car when a police officer pulled him over. He had no driver's license.
When Rivas appeared in court on Sept. 13, 2002, the judge fined him $250.
Rivas, 22, had made repeated attempts to obtain a learner's permit. In April, he went to a Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles office in Chesterfield County and presented four documents - a photo identification from the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization Service, a proof of Virginia residence, a Social Security number and his Salvadoran passport.
But he still couldn't get a license.
The clerk denied his applica- tion because his passport showed no evidence of a U.S. visa. Efforts at different offices ended in frustration.
"I always came out dejected, wanting to cry," he said in Spanish.
Many immigrants have gone through similar frustrations when trying to obtain a driver's license or similar ID after DMV tightened the rules in the aftermath of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
DMV regulations don't yet require that immigrants applying for a driver's license show proof of legal status in the United States, but Virginia's attorney general and a key legislator are pushing legislation that would do just that.
And to complicate matters, the murkiness of DMV procedures has prevented many qualified One of the problems, say critics of the DMV's new procedures, is that DMV clerks don't have the training needed to determine just who holds what immigration status, and how that should affect their application for a driver's license.
Herber Rodz,Rivas' English-As-A-Second-Language teacher, went to the DMV office with him to serve as an interpreter. Rodz told the clerk his student had crossed the border illegally, but the INS had issued him a work authorization.
The explanation didn't help. Unable to get a learner's permit, Rivas ran the risk of driving without a license.
He tried again on Jan. 6 with the same documents and a letter from the INS explaining his application for a renewal of his work authorization was under review.
DMV finally issued him a learner's permit.
Sen. Jay O'Brien, R-Fairfax, has proposed legislation for DMV to require proof of legal presence in the country and tying expiration of licenses to people's legal-immigration status.
He said he has been made aware that if his legislation goes through, many documented immigrants won't be able to obtain IDs.
DMV issues a driver's license for five years, O'Brien said. If someone is allowed to come into the country for two years, he would have the ID for three more years.
"It is my position that Virginia has no . . . authority to extend an individual to stay in the country," he said. "That's a federal issue. I think that by doing that, we are encouraging a person to abscond."
Hector Moreno, vice president of the Chamber of Commerce of Central Virginia, said those affected are people like his son.
Sebastian Moreno is 16. He attends James River High School, and it's time for him to obtain his learner's permit so he can drive when he is ready to go to college.
"I think that if one is legal, one can do things correctly," Hector Moreno said. "But DMV is making people do things incorrectly. DMV has every reason not to issue a license to those who don't have [documentation], but to those who have legal documents, why deny it?"
Ofelia Robaina, an immigrant counselor with the Refugee and Immigration Services of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond, said the definition of "legal" is too complex for most DMV clerks to understand.
Only an expert or a person trained in immigration law could perform a job effectively at an DMV office, she said.
"When people talk about illegal, they have to think twice about who they call illegal," Robaina said. "To find out if a person is legal or illegal is very difficult and changes from day to day," she said. "[DMV] clerks don't have that immigration background."
Moreno, a native of Colombia, entered the country with his family in 1999. He held an H-2B visa as a qualified worker. His son entered on an H-4 visa as a dependent of a legal worker.
The clerk at the Chesterfield DMV officer where Sebastian Moreno applied for a permit said he needed a Social Security number or a letter from the Social Security Administration certifying that he didn't need a Social Security number.
The Morenos returned with the letter. The DMV clerk said he didn't have enough documentation and refused to tell them what else Sebastian needed, Hector Moreno said.
A DMV study released this month recommended that the General Assembly not take any action at this time "to require applicants for driver's licenses and ID cards to prove that their presence in the U.S. is lawful or to require that expiration of the documents be tied to the duration of an applicant's legal presence."
The DMV study concluded that requiring proof of an alien's legal presence in the United States:
According to the Hispanic Committee of Virginia, undocumented immigrants in Virginia annually contribute $77 million in federal income tax, $11 million in state income tax and $29.5 million in sales tax.
No state agency keeps statistics on how many accidents involve unlicensed drivers. DMV reported that in 2001, out of 262,327 accidents, 3,373 drivers - about 1.3 percent - were uninsured.
Sgt. John Bowman of the Richmond Police Department said it is nothing new for some people to be driving without a license or insurance. Uninsured motorists span all categories of people, he said.
"It doesn't matter if the driver is rich or poor, white, black, red, yellow, male or female, everything," Bowman said. "Whether [drivers have] got a million dollars or whether they have a dime."
Still, said Tim Murtaugh, a spokesman for Attorney General Jerry Kilgore, the legal-presence law is necessary for public safety.
"Simply because people would break a law is no argument against the law," he said.
Community Officer Kurt Mutter of the Richmond police said he frequently deals with the problem of drivers without licenses. And it will only get worse with an increase in the immigrant population.
"They are going to drive," he said. "What are they going to do? They have to work."
Jan 31, 2003
This newspaper favors immigration, and lots of it. Immigrants built America into the great nation it is. The other day the adjacent space carried a moving letter about just how varied our polyglot society has become. But supporting immigration does not require supporting illegal immigration, any more than supporting gun rights requires supporting gun crime.
Measures before the General Assembly would add some common sense to the Commonwealth's approach to foreign-born residents. Both emanate from the office of Attorney General Jerry Kilgore.
The first would charge full tuition to illegal immigrants attending state colleges. Such students should not be attending state colleges at all, given that they should not be in Virginia in the first place. But if they are to attend, at the very least they should not be able to do so at cut rates. (A better law would deny enrollment in any Virginia college to any student unable to prove he/she is legally here.)
The second would ensure that Virginia drivers' licenses be granted only to non-citizens with permanent resident-alien status or valid non-immigrant visas. The bill also would make the expiration of the license coincide with the expiration of the alien's documents. Kilgore notes that seven of the 19 terrorists who attacked on September 11 held fraudulent Virginia drivers' licenses.
The bills are not anti-immigrant. Immigrants who come to this country through the proper procedures should be welcomed with open arms by the descendants of immigrants who preceded them. The bills target illegal entry and potential terrorism - and deserve swift passage into law.
Warner waffles on driver's licensesHouse Editorial
Published February 12, 2003
Alarmed by the fact that seven of the 19 terrorists who killed 3,000 Americans on September 11 were carrying Virginia ID cards even though they didn't live in the state, many members of the General Assembly are supporting legislation that would change the state's absurdly liberal standards for obtaining driver's licenses. The current law permits foreign nationals to renew their licenses without proving that they are here legally. The lion's share of the blame lies with Gov. Mark Warner, who has raised relatively trivial complaints about the legislation. The good news is that, even though the Warner administration has decided not to participate, the House and Senate have risen to the occasion.
Despite intense opposition from immigrant-rights organizations and Hispanic activists (increasingly prominent constituencies for Mr. Warner's embattled Democratic Party), the House of Delegates voted 80-20 last week in favor of legislation sponsored by Delegate David Albo, Fairfax County Republican, which would require that foreign nationals present such documents as a license or permanent-residency card when they apply for or renew their Virginia driver's licenses. In the Senate, Sen. Jay O'Brien, Fairfax Republican, has fought hard for a similar bill, which could come up for floor debate next week. In an effort to make the measure palatable to the governor, Mr. O'Brien has reluctantly agreed to postpone implementation of his own bill until July 1, 2005.
Kevin Hall, a spokesman for Mr. Warner, told The Washington Times yesterday that the governor's main problem with the O'Brien-Albo legislation is his belief that Virginia should not act on its own, but should instead wait until the National Governors Association comes forward with its own proposal, something that could happen as early as next month.
While all of this has been taking place, the Warner administration has sent DMV bureaucrats to tell legislators that the measure would cost too much. In December, the administration claimed that the legislation would cost about $1 million to implement. Now, however, DMV puts the price tag at $5.6 million a year. Even assuming that the latter figure is true (a point Mr. O'Brien sharply questions), it is ridiculous to say that the money can't be found in the $20 billion annual state budget.
Meanwhile, over in Maryland, where illegal aliens cannot obtain driver's licenses, a group of Prince George's County politicians led by State's Attorney Glenn Ivey, County Executive Jack Johnson and the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, Delegate Joseph Vallario, are working with Hispanic groups to make it possible for illegal aliens to get driver's licenses. But a spokesman for Gov. Robert Ehrlich yesterday said the governor is opposed to the idea.
Mr. Warner would do well to follow the example of Mr. Ehrlich and responsible Virginia politicians from both parties by making it clear that driver's licenses should only be granted to people who are in the United States legally.
Warner asks for time to study alien tuitionMary Shaffrey
THE WASHINGTON TIMES
Published February 14, 2003
RICHMOND - Gov. Mark R. Warner said yesterday he needs more time to consider - and perhaps amend - a bill requiring illegal aliens to pay out-of-state rates to attend Virginia public colleges and universities.
"The more appropriate measure would have been to have this bill studied more," he said. "I [also] know there is probably going to be some other efforts to amend this bill."
The bill is sponsored by Delegate Thelma Drake, Newport News Republican, and passed the House last month. The Senate Health and Education Committee approved the bill yesterday; it is scheduled for a full Senate vote next week. Mrs. Drake said the bill is needed to clarify an opinion issued by Attorney General Jerry W. Kilgore in September.
A group of supporters thinks Virginia should not offer a discount education to potential terrorist sympathizers.
"It is the illegal alien community that allows sleeper terrorist cells to hide in the open," said Erin Anderson of the Virginia Coalition Against Terrorism. Mrs. Drake doubts most illegal aliens in public schools are terrorist sympathizers but thinks the commonwealth should not subsidize their education.
"It is possible that there are sleeper cells in these communities, but itÂ´s a relatively small number," she said. "The problem is once they graduate, they cannot get jobs because they are here illegally. And all that state money for their education has gone to waste."
The cost of in-state tuition is substantially less expensive than out-of-state tuition. For example, a three-credit class at Virginia Tech costs in-state students $480.24 and out-of-state students $1,682.49. In the Northern Virginia Community College system, a three-credit class costs $169.69 for in-state students and $607.41 for out-of-state students.
Mr. Kilgore, who supports Mrs. DrakeÂ´s bill and is also a Republican, said every in-state student in a public college or university costs Virginia taxpayers about $6,028 a year.
Critics say many of the illegal aliens have worked for years and paid income taxes.
Andres Tobar, a chairman with Immigrants Educational Rights Coalition based in Arlington, said itÂ´s unfair to make a student pay Virginia taxes and four times the tuition paid by in-state students.
In response, Ms. Anderson said nobody is speaking up for the military families that, as she must, pay out-of-state rates while stationed in Virginia.
"This is demoralizing for members of the military community," she said. "There is no one to speak for us, yet all these pro-immigrant groups have these hired guns."
The exact number of Virginia students that would be affected by such legislation is not clear. However, about 66 of them last year were enrolled primarily in community colleges around the commonwealth.
State Sen. Benjamin J. Lambert, III, Richmond Democrat, said that because of the low number, the additional benefit of educating these students was worth the cost.
"If they donÂ´t get an education they are going to wind up on the street costing us more money," he said.
State Sen. William T. Bolling, Mechanicsville Republican, said in-state tuition is not a right.
"The purpose of in-state tuition is that it is a benefit of citizenship of Virginia," he said.
Legislation that would ban a rarely used late-term abortion procedure won final House passage yesterday and cleared a Senate panel where abortion bills have perished in the past.
The Senate Education and Health Committee also approved legislation that would require that parents give their consent before their minor daughters undergo abortions, but killed a bill that would have required abortion clinics to make prohibitively expensive renovations.
By a veto-proof 73-26 vote and with little debate, the House passed Sen. Stephen D. NewmanÂ´s bill that charges doctors who kill a fetus that has partially emerged from the birth canal with a felony punishable by 10 years in prison. If it becomes law, the measure would target doctors who deliberately kill a fetus after its head or, in the event of a feet-first birth, its legs and trunk up to the umbilical cord are outside the birth canal.
The Senate panel endorsed Delegate Robert G. MarshallÂ´s bill on a 9-5 vote. Mr. Marshall, Prince William County Republican, said the bill differs from similar legislation he offered last year that would have outlawed a procedure abortion foes call "partial-birth abortion." Mr. Warner vetoed it on grounds that it contained no exception to protect the motherÂ´s health.
This yearÂ´s bill protects fetuses in the process of an actual birth, not abortion, Mr. Marshall said.
Without debate, the committee also voted 9-6 to advance Delegate Richard H. BlackÂ´s bill to require parental consent for minors to have abortions. The House approved the bill 70-29 on Feb. 1.
The committee, however, voted 8-7 to kill a measure abortion rights advocates said would have forced all but one of VirginiaÂ´s 19 abortion clinics to close. The bill, also by Mr. Marshall, would have held clinics to the same specifications as outpatient surgical centers.
A proposal to create a specialty anti-abortion license plate was killed and then resurrected in a Senate committee yesterday.
The Senate Transportation Committee voted 7-6 against the plate with two Republican members and the billÂ´s sponsor, Delegate Richard H. Black, absent from the room. Sen. Marty E. Williams, Newport News Republican and the committee chairman, revived the bill out of deference to Mr. Black, who was in the House chamber at the time of the vote.
The measure passed on an 8-6 vote the second time.
Mr. BlackÂ´s plate features two childrenÂ´s faces drawn in crayon above the words "Choose Life." It is intended to promote adoption, he said, with a portion of funds from sales of the plate going to private, nonprofit agencies that provide adoption services.
The bill prohibits distribution of money to abortion clinics.
Legislation toughening VirginiaÂ´s seat belt law passed by one vote in the House yesterday, but the victory for the billÂ´s advocates could be short-lived.
Delegate Joe T. May, Loudoun County Republican, said he expected opponents of the bill to persuade someone who voted for it to ask for reconsideration of the 49-48 vote on the House floor today.
The bill would allow police to stop and ticket drivers for not buckling their seat belts. Current law allows police to write a seat belt ticket only if the motorist is stopped for another violation.