Delegate Manoli Loupassi

Quotes Of The Day: Language Matters

Today is budget day at the General Assembly. The House of Delegates Appropriations Committee and the Senate Finance Committee, after weeks of work, submitted their budgets earlier this week. Today was the day each chamber debated floor amendments for hours before, finally, coming to their respective budget bills proper for yet more debate and a vote on final passage — and that was after amendments and debate on the "Caboose Bill," which cleans up and modifies the current budget. Budget day is one of the longest days on the floor during session. No other bills are discussed, generally. Today, each chamber got under way at noon and each wrapped up business at 6:00 or a little after. The point is, a lot of talkin' went on today.

In fact, as an aside, it was quite a day for words. This morning, Delegate Manoli Loupassi (R-68, Richmond) and Senator Steve Martin (R-11, Chesterfield) got into a frustrating debate in committee over the words "and" and "or" in an amendment to HB 1054, a bill that would allow for computer science courses to be counted toward science credit requirements. The surreal and strange is never in short supply at the Virginia General Assembly.

More substantively, statements during the House budget debate by Minority Leader David Toscano (D-57, Charlottesville) and Delegate Jennifer McClellan (D-71, Richmond) are of particular note. On one budget amendment, concerning advanced manufacturing of all things, Delegate Toscano had concerns. The responses to his questions of the amendment's floor manager, he apparently thought, were lacking. Not getting the clarity he sought, Delegate Toscano uttered:

"Language means a lot." 

It sure does!

But only when it's convenient for the Left. The statement was devoid of any recognition the the Left has perverted our language, constantly redefining the meaning of timeless institutions. Marriage and parents quickly come to mind. How about life? It's only a life if it's outside the womb, and even then, in some circumstances, that's debatable. Which takes us to Delegate McClellan's remarks.

While most people consider abortion a tragedy, Delegate McClellan has a knack for making not being able to get an abortion sound tragic. She called for the defeat of budget language that would bring Virginia in line with the federal Hyde Amendment restricting Medicaid funding of abortion in Virginia to the rarest of cases, and eliminating it for unborn children diagnosed with abnormalities, calling it . . .

the cruelest amendment. 

Saving a life is "cruel"? I wonder what Webster would say to that.

But that's not all. Far removed from the Holy City of Richmond, in Sochi, Russia, a 23-year-old, sunshine-faced American by the name of David Wise won our country an Olympic gold medal in halfpipe skiing. It so happens that, according the Olympic network NBC that Wise, who was married at 19 and has a child with his wife, is living an

alternative lifestyle.

That's, like, so different, dude! Mollie Hemingway, at The Federalist.com, expounds here.

According to the NBC article ("David Wise’s alternative lifestyle leads to Olympic gold") by Skyler Wilder, Wise's is unusual because:

At only twenty-three years old, he has a wife, Alexander, who was waiting patiently in the crowd, and together they have a two-year-old daughter waiting for them to return to their home in Reno, Nevada.

At such a young age, Wise has the lifestyle of an adult. He wears a Baby Bjorn baby carrier around the house. He also attends church regularly and says he could see himself becoming a pastor a little later down the road.

How weird! But if he was homosexual, I'm sure his "lifestyle" would be normalized by NBC. Which takes us back to abortion and Delegate McClellan. One has to wonder how pro-abortion she and the Left would be if, as they claim, homosexuals are born homosexual, and that it could be detected in the womb. What would they then call "abortion doctors" in those cases? Redefining the language wouldn't be so convenient, then, would it?

 

Important Proposed Constitutional Amendment To Limit Taxes And Size Of Government In Senate Committee Tomorrow!

Tomorrow at 4:00 p.m., the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee will consider a proposed constitutional amendment to limit government growth and taxation. HJ 594 is a taxpayer bill of rights that limits the amount of money the state government can spend in a year to the preceding year's total, plus no more than a percentage increase based on the rate of inflation and population growth. Patroned by Delegate Manoli Loupassi (R-68, Richmond), the resolution cleared the House earlier this session, and is a vital measure to limit the size of government. Although the Virginia Constitution requires a balanced budget, it does not prescribe certain methods that the General Assembly may use to achieve it. Politicians in years past, as well as this year, have pushed hard for big tax increases to cover their even bigger spending ideas. The annual transportation debate is a perfect example. A constitutional cap on how much of our money they can spend will force them, finally, to prioritize their spending decisions each year instead of going to the well of Virginia families' hard-earned money.

When general fund revenue rises 19 percent, as it did in January, and we are running annual surpluses, there should not be a need to raise taxes for core functions of government. Governments rarely have revenue problems. They have spending problems. If they can’t draw the line on what's too much, we taxpayers, their bosses, will do it for them.

Please contact your senator on the Privileges and Elections Committee and urge him or her to vote yes on this important constitutional reform to limit the size and scope of state government.

Property Rights Win Big In House Sub-Committee Tonight!

A couple of hours ago, Virginia property owners won a big victory over government bureaucrats when the House Courts of Justice Civil Sub-committee voted unanimously to report a bill to the full committee that would allow Virginians whose property is taken by eminent domain to present to juries a case for just compensation that would include property no longer accessible because of the taking. If the bill becomes law, a property owner who had 25 yards taken, but which rendered another 50 yards unusable, could then present that evidence to a jury and seek compensation for the entire 75 yards, rather than just the 25 yards. Although the vote was unanimous on HB 652, patroned by Delegate Ward Armstrong (D-10, Martinsville), lobbyists representing taxpayer funded government entities such as VDOT and local governments (Virginia Association of Counties and the Virginia Municipal League) tried to take it to their bosses, the taxpayers, as they do every year. However, after closely considering an amendment to water down the bill, property rights members of the committee, such as Delegates Sal Iaquinto (R-84, Virginia Beach), Manoli Loupassi (R-68, Richmond) and sub-committee Chairman Clay Athey (R-18, Front Royal), brought "the temperature of the committee" (a phrase used a lot around here) back to "hot" for the taxpayers. 

The bill now goes to the full committee on Friday! Please contact members of the House Courts of Justice Committee (click here) and ask them to report the bill to the House floor.

Prayers And Parties, Beautiful Weather, Capitol Square In All Its Glory

Those coming to Richmond for the inaugural festivities, or those who may already be here, are in for a treat. The weather, after weeks of uncomfortably, and unlikely, cold temperatures, has returned to normal on cue, as if to say, "nice job Richmond, you handled it well, here's your just reward." Who said patience isn't a virtue? The reward has been many times the labor. It feels more like mid-October than mid-January (wasn't it just Christmas?) and Capitol Square is green and lush like a park in the spring. Lawmakers, lobbyists, bureaucrats, media and anyone and everyone is enjoying walks through Capitol Square today. It makes walking up the hill and the prospect of beating your head against the wall with delegates and senators more tolerable. The weather is only expected to be better Saturday for the swearing-in ceremony.

Not all the green in Capitol Square is nature made. There are seven large howitzers cocked and ready to blast their salute for Virginia's 71st governor shortly after noon tomorrow. There are some inartistic, but inevitable mismatches, as well. Beautiful walkways, such as Darden Mall, which connects the General Assembly Building to Capitol Square, are marred with huge satellite trucks and their attendant dishes poking into the sky. So are tents. Lots of them. Most likely security check points. It's supposed to be tight tomorrow, with several blocks and parking decks blocked off, reminiscent of Queen Elizabeth's 2007 visit.

Generally, people are in a good mood. Delegate Manoli Loupassi (R-68, Richmond) came bounding down a hallway this morning and without missing a beat slapped me a high-five. It's always this way before session gets too deep and egos bruised, but more so in an inauguration year. The freshmen delegates I've met are eager to learn and excited to make an impact. The cynic would say, "wide-eyed rookies."

With larger numbers of members of the same party around now — lots of GOP'ers in the House, with their staffs, and the political appointees of the top three statewide officials — the weather isn't the only thing putting smiles on faces. Winners always smile and there are lots of new ones this time around, especially from the Republican side. A bit of homogeneity, so to speak. There's been, and will continue to be, many festivities throughout the weekend by the pols and special interest groups as well, from galas to prayer breakfasts. Parties and prayers. A combination that works every time. Especially in the celebration of high ideals.

Three Proposed Constitutional Protections From Government In Senate Committee Tomorrow Afternoon!

Thursday, we let you know about three important proposed constitutional amendments that passed the House and now are on the way to the Senate. You never know about the pace of the General Assembly, especially right after crossover, so guess what? All three of those CAs incredibly important reforms are on the docket tomorrow, at 4:00 p.m. in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee.  Please contact members of the committee and voice your support for these constitutional amendments (see committee here), as soon as possible, up to early afternoon tomorrow. Remember, if these proposed amendments fail, it may be another two years before we can even get the process going again.

All three of these proposed amendments to Virginia's Constitution have something in common: Protection. Protection from eminent domain, the government taking your or a friend's private property, whether commercial or residential; protection from profligate government spending — a taxpayers' bill of rights, so to speak (necessary when Virginia's budget has grown 80 percent during the last 10 years); and protection from mismanagement of our dedicated transportation funds.

Here's a summary of the three:

HJ 725, patroned by Delegate Rob Bell (R-58, Albermarle) would provide protection from the government's power of eminent domain, and protect the 2007 law protecting private property rights from tampering by future General Assemblies. That law was a reaction to the deplorable U.S. Supreme Court Kelo decision, which allowed a local government to take private property and give it to developers. Just as the Marriage Amendment was needed to protect Virginia's marriage statutes, the 2007 private property law needs constitutional protection. This session alone has seen two bills (HB 1671 and SB 1094) that would have weakened it (we were able to amend them into acceptable bills). So it is obvious this constitutional protection is needed.  

HJ 789, patroned by Delegate Manoli Loupassi (R-68, Richmond) would limit spending to the preceding year's total appropriations plus an amount equal to the percentage increase of inflation plus population growth. It makes exceptions to provide tax relief, deposits to the "Rainy Day Fund" and nonrecurring capital projects. With state spending increasing more than 80 percent over the last 10 years, we need this constitutional protection from the big spenders in Richmond. What family budget has grown that much that fast?   

HJ 620, patroned by Delegate Glen Oder (R-94, Newport News), is another protection against greedy government big spenders. It would put all tax revenues designated by law for transportation in a "lock box" so that they cannot be spent on earmarks, pork or for other areas of the budget, only for the big spenders to claim they need more money for transportation. When campaigning for governor, Governor Tim Kaine said he wouldn't raise taxes until the "Transportation Lock Box" was in place. Of course, he rescinded that promise only a few hour after being sworn in.       

So, please contact the committee members as soon as possible and ask them to vote for these constitutional amendments tomorrow in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee.

Three Constitutional Amendments To Go On Trial In The Senate

The pace remained settled in Capitol Square today as committees in the two chambers prepare for the grind of hearings next week on bills passed in each other's chamber. We've reported on a number of successes over the first half of session, both in good bills that passed and bad bills killed. Also in the mix are three proposed constitutional amendments we support, all of which passed the House earlier this week and now begin their trials in the Senate. To amend the constitution of Virginia, a proposed amendment must pass the General Assembly in exactly the same form — a comma can't even be changed — in two sessions with an intervening statewide election, and then approved by the voters in a statewide ballot. So it's nearly a three-year process. It's not the easiest thing to do, as we know from the Marriage Amendment.

HJ 725, patroned by Delegate Rob Bell (R-58, Albermarle) would provide protection from the government's power of eminent domain, and protect the 2007 law protecting private property rights from tampering by future General Assemblies. That law was a reaction to the deplorable U.S. Supreme Court Kelo decision, which allowed a local government to take private property and give it to developers. Just as the Marriage Amendment was needed to protect Virginia's marriage statutes, the 2007 law needs constitutional protection. This session alone has seen two bills that would have weakened it (we were able to amend them into acceptable bills). So it is obvious this constitutional protection is needed.

HJ 789, patroned by Delegate Manoli Loupassi (R-68, Richmond) would limit spending to the preceding year's total appropriations plus an amount equal to the percentage increase of inflation plus population growth. It makes exceptions to provide tax relief, deposits to the "Rainy Day Fund" and nonrecurring capital projects. With state spending increasing more than 80 percent over the last 10 years, we need this constitutional protection from the big spenders in Richmond. What family budget has grown that much that fast? 

HJ 620, patroned by Delegate Glen Oder (R-94, Newport News), is another protection against greedy government big spenders. It would put all tax revenues designated by law for transportation in a "lock box" so that they cannot be spent on earmarks, pork or for other areas of the budget, only for the big spenders to claim they need more money for transportation. This way, we know that our hard-earned tax money is going to where lawmakers say it is going. Then, and only then, if they need more money for transportation, can they in good conscience ask us for a tax increase.   

All three of these commonsense and much needed reforms and protections will be heard in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee (get members' contact info here), perhaps as early as next week. Please contact the committee members to urge them to report these resolutions to the Senate floor.