So, too, apparently, House Speaker Bill Howell.

The attorney general within the hour, issued the statement below. He knows what's right and just — or at least a good issue. Regardless, good for him for coming out against his party's senate leader. In the statement, the speaker says he now supports repeal. Could this be the start of something bigger, such as sunsetting for all "one-time" fees? Hmmm. A sunsetting bill by Del. Jack Reid last session died in the House Rules Committee, chaired by the speaker.

Meanwhile, the WRVA petition has more than 600 signatures so far — it will stay up at www.wrva.com until at least the 16th and then be sent to Sen. Norment.

The AG's statement:

McDonnell Calls for Permanent Elimination of Virginia's 400th Anniversary Vehicle Registration Fee
 
Richmond - Attorney General Bob McDonnell called today for the permanent elimination of Virginia's 400th Anniversary vehicle registration fee. In 2003 the General Assembly passed legislation adding an additional $1 to the cost of vehicle registrations in Virginia, with the money earmarked primarily for the commemoration of the 400th Anniversary of Jamestown. While the fee is scheduled to expire June 30th of next year, a number of lawmakers recently have stated a desire to continue the fee, using the monies raised for several proposed expenditures.

McDonnell noted, "The $1 vehicle registration fee was enacted for a specific primary purpose, to fund the activities commemorating the 400th Anniversary of Jamestown in 2007. As 2007 draws to a close, all can take great pride in a commemoration of our founding that befitted Virginia's unique role as the birthplace of America. That commemoration is now over. The fee passed specifically for this commemoration has no justification for continuation. This fee must be allowed to sunset as originally scheduled, in order to maintain the public trust. I spoke with Speaker Bill Howell this morning and he fully supports elimination of this fee. I urge the General Assembly to let this fee expire, and not authorize it for any other use."
 
The 400th Anniversary vehicle registration fee raised nearly $4 million a year for events commemorating the founding of Jamestown and Virginia. Smaller amounts from the fee were distributed to the Department of Motor Vehicles and the Governor's open space conservation effort.