An Insult To Intelligent WomenJun. 18, 2013
On Saturday, the candidates for attorney general participated in the first debate of what promises to be a long campaign season. However, instead of focusing on kitchen table issues, the debate unfortunately turned to accusations on an issue very personal to me and thousands of women. According to news reports, Democrat candidate Senator Mark Herring (D-33, Leesburg) accused Republican candidate Senator Mark Obenshain (R-26, Harrisonburg) of wanting to force women in Virginia to report miscarriages to police. It's a diatribe that abortion apologists in Virginia continue to repeat, and it's one that makes me sick to my stomach. There's simply no other way to describe it than an insult to intelligent, thinking women. And as someone who understands the emotional and physical pain of a miscarriage, it is extraordinarily disgusting that Senator Herring would politicize and exploit an issue of such heart-wrenching pain. It shows to what lengths the abortion industry and its representatives will go to carry the banner of their billion dollar industry.
The truth of the story is that several years ago, after an incident in the Harrisonburg area where a newborn, full-term baby was tossed in the trash, Senator Obenshain was asked by his local commonwealth's attorney, Marsha Garst, to find a way to rightfully make such an action illegal. No one but the mother of the baby knows for sure if the baby was born alive or not so Garst could not prove foul play because the body of the baby was never recovered (see NBC29.com). At no point did Senator Obenshain or anyone ever seek to penalize women who go through the painful trauma of a miscarriage. In fact, the bill was an effort to protect newborn children. At the time, Senator Obenshain, recognizing that the bill as drafted was flawed, sought to work with abortion industry representatives, as well as The Family Foundation, to find a solution, but none could be found, so prior to any committee action, he struck his own bill (such a process is very common and rarely political).
That the abortion industry and its apologists like Mark Herring would even make such ludicrous accusations about the bill and its intent is despicable.
At the debate Saturday, Senator Obenshain stayed true to his character and took the high road, focusing on his economic vision for Virginia. But what we saw happen Saturday is simply a preview of just how disgraceful this year's election likely will become. Make no mistake — the radical abortion industry is driving the Democrat agenda and message in this year's election.
Paid for by The Family Foundation Action and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.
A Little More Sunshine In The ForecastMar. 03, 2010
I know everyone is tired of the snow, the rain, the overcast skies. But there will be a little more sunshine in Virginia before too long. This isn't a weather forecast. But thanks to SB 431, the books in Richmond will be easier to inspect. Monday morning, the House Appropriations Sub-committee on Technology Oversight and Government Activities, amended, then passed unanimously SB 431. Later that day, it passed the full committee 22-0 and is on its way to the House floor.
The bill, patroned by Senator Mark Herring (D-33, Leesburg) builds on the landmark spending transparency bills last year by Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Amherst) and then-Senator Ken Cuccinelli. Although it was more detailed in its original incarnation — it was stripped down due to the ever-present and dreaded “Fiscal Impact Statement” — it adds yet more sunshine to the current law. It will require each state agency to put their check and credit card purchases online, including a description of the good or service and the date of purchase. It also makes finding this information easier for citizen budget hawks — each agency must place an icon on its home page that links directly to a page that details its spending. Believe it or not, this simple procedure has been lacking and will make navigating the often confusing state spending trail much easier for concerned citizens, watchdog groups and grassroots organizations who care where or hard-earned tax dollars go.
Perhaps most important, it will save the Commonwealth money because the more people looking, the more waste and duplication is caught. This has been the case in every state that has opened itself up, and even with the federal government. After all, private citizens looking over the federal budget online detected the infamous “Bridge To Nowhere.”
Along with Senator Herring, thanks go to the sub-committee chairman, Delegate John O’Bannon (R-73, Henrico), who arranged the committee meeting late in session to guarantee the bill’s fair hearing. The Virginia Coalition For Open Government and Americans For Tax Reform joined us in supporting SB 431. Once passed by the full House, it will go back to the Senate to work out differences but is expected to maintain the features outlined above.
You never know during the General Assembly where a bill is going to come from that will give an unexpected lift for good policy and constitutional government. Sometimes, less publicized bills pop up on your radar screen and other times high profile bills crash and burn. Better the former than the latter when it actually accomplishes something.
Transparency Bill Up Tomorrow In House Appropriations Sub-Committee!Mar. 01, 2010
The transparency bill we wrote about last week, SB 431, will indeed get its hearing. In fact, it will be tomorrow morning! The bill, patroned by Senator Mark Herring (D-33, Leesburg), will add a little more sunshine to how state agencies spend the hard-earned money we send Richmond. It probably will save us money in the long run as well: It's been proven in other states that the more people looking at agencies' spending, the more often waste and duplication is caught. Not to mention the outrageous — the infamous "Bridge To Nowhere" was caught by online budget hawks scrutinizing the federal budget. The bill will require all check and credit card purchases to be put online, including the vendor, description and date of purchase. It also adds a little more user-friendliness by requiring an icon on each agency's home page that links directly to a page detailing its expenses. The bill is in the House Appropriations Sub-committee on Technology Oversight and Government Activities tomorrow at 10:00 a.m. Click the link to get contact information for its members and to contact them.
A Year Later, Transparency, Again!Feb. 26, 2010
You may remember last year one of our priority areas of legislation was government spending transparency. After two years of persistence, Virginia now is in the process of creating more windows and letting in more sunshine to the way it spends the hard earned money we send them, thanks to bills patroned by Delegate Ben Cline (R-24, Amherst) and then-Senator Ken Cuccinelli. But the issue hasn't gone away because to have true government by the people and for the people, the people must be given every tool to monitor its own government's operations. This session, two very good bills were introduced. One, HB 62, patroned by Delegate David Toscano (D-57, Charlottesville), would have added transparency to the budget making process. Unfortunately, it was left in the House Appropriations Committee where it died, having never received a hearing.
The other bill, SB 431, patroned by Senator Mark Herring (D-33, Leesburg), would fill in some gaps in the laws written by Cline and Cuccinelli. Although the bill as originally crafted had a lot more to it — it was pared down due to the inevitable Fiscal Impact Statement — it retains two important provisions: That each agency post online all checks and credit card purchases it makes, including the vendor name, date of purchase and purchase description. It also stipulates that each agency install an icon on its Web site that links directly to a page on Commonwealth DataPoint, the state's window on government spending and accountability. In an editorial yesterday in the Loudon Independent, called "Checking the Checkbook," the paper wrote:
A bill is being reviewed by the House of Delegates that could shed light on the age-old question, "Why does government spend so much?" For those with a bit more innate trust in government, the question could also be, "Where are my tax dollars going?"
We agree. Making it easier to find and locate government spending has numerous benefits, among them that the more eyes looking into how bureaucrats spend out money, the more chances we have of saving it by catching waste and eliminating it. That's something lawmakers should embrace anytime, not to mention these challenging times. Currently, the bill sits in the Appropriations Technology Oversight and Government Activities Sub-committee, although a hearing date is not scheduled. However, we are hopeful one is in the works and look forward to supporting it once it's scheduled.