SB669, the Maintenance Reimbursement for Bike Lanes bill, was heard in House Transportation SubComm3 this morning at 7:30. Chaired by Del. Greg Habeeb of Salem, and with Del. Garrett of Lynchburg sitting as a Committee member (and not as Chair, as he is on Sub Comm 1), I was surprised that there was no move to Table or Pass the bill by, but only a discussion regarding whether they should Refer the bill to the full Committee, or Report it. Since Del. Garrett had been (and I think, is still) opposed to the bill, it was decided to REFER it, a distinction I don’t think matters that much, since the bill will get a full hearing in front of the FULL Committee in either case, on Tuesday, 3/1 at 8:30. I am encouraged at this turn of events, since it is obvious that some behind the scenes contacts have been made that appear to have improved the climate considerably for this bill, as noted by the comments of some hitherto opposed or luke warm Delegates.
Then SB117, the Dooring bill, was heard before the Full House Transportation Committee (but only with 13, then 14 members of the 22 in attendance since the Education Committee was meeting across the hall and a number of the Trans Comm members and our patron Sen. Petersen were over there). Del. Habeeb (just a Committee member, and not the Chair on the Full Committee) who is an attorney and obviously looked to by the others on the Committee as their legal expert, expressed several concerns about the legal ramifications of this bill. At length, Sen. Petersen came in from the other meeting and he & Del. Habeeb discussed Habeeb’s concerns very cordially before the entire committee, leaving all parties in agreement (since there was no real desire expressed to kill the bill) that it should be referred to either the Civil or Criminal SubCommittee of the Courts of Justice Committee (Monday & Wed., 1/2 hour after adjournment) and then to the Full Courts of Justice Committee to get the legal concerns worked out prior to sending the bill to the Full House for final passage. We appeared to have several converts from their opposing positions expressed at earlier meetings, including Del. Minchew who stated that he had recently almost been doored while riding his motorcycle, so again I am cautiously optimistic as we go forward to the next step in the process.