(HB82) …Fails by an 11-4 vote upon reconsideration in Senate Transportation Committee this afternoon.
Despite a decent job of presenting the bill by our patron, Delegate Barbara Comstock of McLean, and strong support by Senators Dave Marsden of Fairfax & Ryan McDougle of Hanover, Sen. Carrico, our steadfast opponent of anything bicycling related, was able to steer the discussion over to his “unenforceability” argument, getting support for that point from Newman, Watkins, and Chairman Deeds himself.
After a decent amount of discussion, and several responses to questions by the State Police Rep to the effect that it was sometimes difficult to do so, but that it was as enforceable as a number of other laws, Sen. Newman of Lynchburg weighed in to the effect that it was primarily an Education problem and that he was suggesting that the bill be referred to some Accountability Commission that I am not familiar with, (and may have the name incorrect for).
With that referral agreed to on a voice vote, a motion to Pass the bill by carried by 11-4, with only Alexander, Favola, & Marsden, plus McDougle, voting against.
Now we have the “Three Foot Passing” bill before the House Transportation Committee tomorrow morning at 8:30, hopefully with better results. After that, I intend to see if I can find out what’s involved with the Commission the bill has been referred to, and thank Delegate Comstock for her efforts as Patron, Senator Alexander for his work in getting the bill reconsidered, and Senators Marsden, Favola & McDougle for their support.
As I look back through my disappointment at the way things went, I think I’m most disappointed with my own performance, as I let Sen. Carrico steer the conversation completely away from the merits of the bill and onto “enforceability”. In my own defense, it is difficult to respond to a Committee member, unless they ask you to, or the Chair does, so a number of Carrico’s illogical points went unanswered. If I should have another chance, I think I can pre-empt this argument, and will attempt to do so at my very first opportunity.