Local Commentary

News from the Coffin Corner: Delegate Hull’s Richmond Report

Thank You

I want to thank everyone for their kind words and cards of condolence in the passing of my mother, Lillian Hull.

I appreciate what Delegate Jim Scott had to say in his column last week about my mother.

He impressed her when she first met him in 1971 after he knocked on her door during his first run for office.

She always liked Jim and he was a pall bearer at her funeral service.

Many who receive the News-Press also attended her viewing and funeral service. It was so nice to see so many friends at such a sad time.

I have mentioned to so many people that my mother is the one who got me interested in public service.

This is now my 17th year in the House of Delegates and I spent about 19 years before that on various public boards and commissions.

My mother was encouraging to me in all of those roles. She appreciated public service and I know that she will continue to guide me.

Getting Ready

In Virginia, the Governor can sign a bill, veto a bill, or recommend amendments to a bill.

The General Assembly will consider amendments and vetoes of bills at the annual Recovened or “Veto” Session, scheduled for April 8.

Governor Kaine and his staff continue to review the 886 bills passed during the 2009 General Assembly session.

He only has until March 31 to sign that legislation into law and he has only done so to 174 so far.

Unemployment Benefits

One of the amendments that we will probably see during the veto session is a $125 million addition to the budget to help the unemployed.

That is how much Virginia could receive for additional unemployment benefits as part of the federal stimulus bill.

These funds would last for the next two years and states are allowed to increase benefits in up to four ways.

We can extend benefits to part-time workers, add benefits to workers with children; provide benefits to spouses when job relocations occur, and fund training programs.

The Governor is likely to recommend which of these new benefits we should add during these tough economic times.

Now, some Governors have refused the funds because they do not want to increase unemployment benefits.

That is absolutely foolish. A lot of people are unemployed, there are no jobs for them, and they need help.

If we do not need the added benefits when the economy improves, then we can always change back to the old way of doing things.

Military Stimulus, Too

The stimulus legislation also included funding for infrastructure projects at military bases and Virginia will get $330 million for that.

That includes $83 million for new construction projects and $245.5 million for restoration and rehabilitation projects.

That is the amount for military installations statewide. Among other projects is funding for a new child care facility at Fort Belvoir.

Former Governor Honored

Former Gov. Gerald L. Baliles received the “Virginian of the Year” award last Friday, given by the Virginia Press Association.

He was a great governor who served from 1986 to 1990 and was the last chief executive to put an influx of money into transportation.

After his service as governor, Mr. Baliles was a very successful attorney, specializing in transportation law.

He is now the director of the Miller Center for Public Affairs, the public policy think-tank of the University of Virginia.

Before his service as Governor, he was a member of the House of Delegates and is the father of the right turn on red legislation in Virginia.