Dooring Bill Passes Senate; Bike Lane Maintenance Funding Clears Senate Committee

SB117 Sen. Petersen’s Dooring bill passed the Senate floor yesterday by 24 – 16 as Republicans Chase (Chesterfield), Cosgrove (Chesapeake), DeSteph (Virginia Beach), Reeves (Fredericksburg), and Suetterlein (Roanoke) voted along with the Democrats.

This vote, though encouraging, compares with a 28 -12 vote in 2014, where it later failed by a 4 -3 margin in House Trans Sub 2, and a 27 -12 vote last year, where we also failed 4-3 in House Trans Sub 2, so we have some work to do before this bill crosses over to the House. It certainly would be in order at this point to thank your Senator (if they are a Democrat, or one of the Republicans noted above) if they supported the bill.

After a lot of testimony and time was spent this afternoon in Senate Transportation on a bill which would permit DMV to issue temporary visitor’s driver’s licenses to applicants who are unable to present valid evidence of legal permanent residency, the bill failed 7-6 on a straight party line vote, with the Republicans in opposition.

With that result clearing about 3/4 of the hearing room of an overflow Latino crowd, things moved much more quickly, and Sen. Barker’s SB 778 placing further restrictions on cell phone usage while driving was reported by a 10-3 vote with only Carrico, Newman, & Suetterlein in opposition, as we spoke in support along with several others.

Last on the docket was Sen. Alexander with SB669, the Highway maintenance reimbursement bill for jurisdictions who convert vehicular lanes to bicycle only lanes. Although several witnesses were lined up to speak in favor of the bill, the Chairman was not in a mood to hear much testimony at that late hour, so promptly asked if there was any opposition in the audience, and hearing none, called for a vote, which was unanimous in favor of reporting.

Now, both of these bills go on to the Senate floor, while the identical House Highway maintenance reimbursement bill to SB669, which is HB 1335 being carried by Del. Scott Taylor of Virginia Beach, is listed as being in House Trans Sub 3, which meets Thursday mornings at 7 a.m., but is NOT on the docket for tomorrow morning, so we’ll see what happens with it.

That leaves us with three bills in House Trans Sub 1 on Monday morning at 7 a.m., which means probably not being able to watch the 2nd half of the Super Bowl. Those bills will be HB461, Del. Rich Anderson’s Cell phone restriction bill (which is identical to Sen. Barker’s SB778); HB 1173, Del. Rip Sullivan’s Vulnerable Road User bill (which is identical to Sen. Scott Surovell’s SB663, which failed in last week’s Senate Transportation Committee); and HB1360, Del. Joe Yost’s bill requiring all bicycle riders 18 years of age and under to wear helmets (which we will not support). More late Monday morning after we see what happens in this SubComm meeting.

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