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in the House, it is very likely that these same measures – perhaps amended in some way – will again pass the House and be up for consideration in the Senate.

BUDGET In 2012, the Assembly will take up the state’s two-year budget, which in the past has been a flashpoint for fights over taxes, spending levels, and fees. Traditionally, the House has had to fight for a budget built on conservative revenue projections and no new or increased taxes. The House has also included “language” amendments to eliminate any specific funding for Planned Parenthood, only to see these stripped out by the Senate. We hope to be joined in these efforts by the Senate this year.

ECONOMY AND JOBS Virginia’s “Right to Work” law protects Virginians who don’t want to join a union just to get a job. It is also a crucial part of Virginia’s #1 national business rating, which helps attract employers. Last year the House passed a resolution to put the Right to Work into the State Constitution. Unfortunately, this was rejected by the Senate. Similarly, the House passed a bill to require secret balloting for union votes and procedures. This too was defeated.

al to allow state employees the option of moving from the current “defined benefit” system to an individually managed and portable “defined contribution” plan (like an IRA). This proposal was opposed by the Virginia Education Association and other groups and was rejected by the Senate.

PROTECTING PROPERTY RIGHTS After the Supreme Court’s infamous 2005 ruling in Kelo v. New London, I joined Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli and other legislators in the fight to protect property owners from abusive eminent domain. Our first success, in 2007, placed protections in state law. That year and ever since, we have tried to put protections into the State Constitution. These Resolutions consistently passed the House, but were defeated in the Senate. Last year, for the first time, a Resolution passed the House and Senate. To become part of the

Constitution, it must pass both houses again, and then must be endorsed by Virginia’s voters in a referendum. The opponents – mostly local governments – are rallying against the measure, and some have take the extraordinary step of spending tax dollars to hire lobbyists to fight it. (Yes, they are spending taxpayer’s money so that they can more easily condemn property belonging to taxpayers. Yes, this is as outrageous as it sounds.) We are all hopeful we can get this amendment passed and sent to the voters for their approval.

PUBLIC SAFETY Virginia currently applies the “triggerman rule” to death penalty cases, meaning that absent very special circumstances, the only person who can receive the death penalty is the person who pulls the trigger. This rule ignores anyone who organizes, causes, or incites murder, who is often the one

Number of bills proposed in the General Assembly by year: 4,000 3,500

3,678

3,557 3,428

3,000

2,972

2,500

2,964

2,969

2,000

PENSION REFORM In December 2010, a legislative audit showed that the state retirement pension fund was underfunded by $17.6 billion. Recognizing that this is unsustainable, the House endorsed a propos-

February 2012

1,500 1,000 500

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

S ource : R ichmond S unlight . com

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