State Senators Dick Saslaw and Dave Marden joined State Del. Kaye Kory before a full house of constituents for a Richmond legislative update at the Sleepy Hollow Elementary School in greater Falls Church Saturday morning, answering a battery of question as the State Legislature prepares to go into its “crossover” mode on Tuesday, when bills approved by either the senate or house gets transferred over to the other for action. A contingent from the state’s 5,600 taxicab operators was on hand, as they have been actively lobbying the legislature to advocate for the same regulatory requirements for the new Uber car service as applies to them. All three legislators today were in agreement with their concerns.
Saslaw reported that a push among arch-conservatives, part of a new national movement, to call for a new U.S. constitutional convention wound up being withdrawn as conservatives began fighting among themselves about what a potential outcome might be should they succeed. “If it happens, you’re not going to get any Madisons, or Jeffersons or Monroes to rewrite out constitution”, he said. “There will be every nut job in America on the right and on the left. They are the ones who will rewrite it.”
The final form of Saslaw’s campus rape bill, requiring all on campus assaults to be reported to the police within 24 hours, will “probably not wind up as strong as I would like,” Saslaw said today. It will probably be modified to call for the establishment of a ‘threat assessment team’ to include administrators, faculty and police, as proposed by State Sen. Barbara Favola, he said, to take action on a reported rape. Still, Saslaw’s strong words on the subject today drew the loudest applause, on more than one occasion, from the large audience.
The overall budget legislation that will be introduced next week will have no cuts in public school or higher education funding, the lawmakers said.
Saslaw also announced that there will a repaving by the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) of the entire length of Annandale Road, which is in the category of “worst, in most need of repair” by VDOT, in this year and the next..
Marsden said it is very important that this year the legislature has designated solar power development as “in the public interest.” He also said that, while no formal legislation was passed, he led the effort to bring the issue of brain injuries in sports to the head of the Virginia High School League who in turn voluntarily established a new policy limiting the amount of time a teenager can practice a contact sport.