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Advocacy Report — Week 1

As reported Wednesday, extreme partisanship returned as a backlash to Governor Northam’s speech, with the result that three of the bills we were interested in FAILED by party line votes of 6 – 7 in Senate Transportation, as the word had been put out to kill any bills carried by D patrons.

In this category were SB46/Favola Stop for a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk

SB87/Surovell Providing a penalty for a motorist who injures a vulnerable road user

SB88/Surovell No passing by a motor vehicle in a bike lane

Surprisingly, SB74/Surovell expanding the prohibition on using a handheld personal communication device while operating a motor vehicle unless it is being operated in a hands free manner was reported on to the Senate floor by a 9-4 vote, as Republican Sens. Chase, Cosgrove, & DeSteph crossed the party line, which was a tribute to Drive Smart Virginia’s Janet Brooking who had lined up a strong supporting contingent including Triple A & Geico in addition to VBF.

On Thursday, in Senate Agriculture, Champe Burnley was representing us and surprisingly was the only one speaking against SB375/Chafin which was to permit Sunday hunting of deer & bear. In the past, Garden club, Equestrian groups, & other conservation oriented groups have also opposed such legislation, but this year were conspicuous by their absence. For some reason, another bill carried by Sen. Kilgore was rolled into this one, which only permits Sunday hunting of raccoons, and the amended bill was reported on to the floor by 14-0. Raccoons are generally hunted at night, but there is no day time prohibition in this bill so it appears to be a classic “camel’s nose under the tent” for Sunday hunting, which the hunters have been trying to get for a number of years.

Additionally, we noticed a Dangerous Dogs bill, HB271/Mark Cole which increases some of the requirements for owners of dogs that are declared to be dangerous. This bill will be in House Agriculture, Sub committee 1 which meets Monday at 4:30. With a Republican patron, it stands a good chance of being reported, but you can never be sure with dog bills, and we will see on Monday. I expect that this meeting will be streamed for those who may want to watch it. It’s a little tricky to find the links to the committee broadcasts on the legislative home page, but they are there, and its a huge improvement over previous years!vAs reported Wednesday, extreme partisanship returned as a backlash to Governor Northam’s speech, with the result that three of the bills we were interested in FAILED by party line votes of 6 – 7 in Senate Transportation, as the word had been put out to kill any bills carried by D patrons.

In this category were SB46/Favola Stop for a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk

SB87/Surovell Providing a penalty for a motorist who injures a vulnerable road user

SB88/Surovell No passing by a motor vehicle in a bike lane

Surprisingly, SB74/Surovell expanding the prohibition on using a handheld personal communication device while operating a motor vehicle unless it is being operated in a hands free manner was reported on to the Senate floor by a 9-4 vote, as Republican Sens. Chase, Cosgrove, & DeSteph crossed the party line, which was a tribute to Drive Smart Virginia’s Janet Brooking who had lined up a strong supporting contingent including Triple A & Geico in addition to VBF.

On Thursday, in Senate Agriculture, Champe Burnley was representing us and surprisingly was the only one speaking against SB375/Chafin which was to permit Sunday hunting of deer & bear. In the past, Garden club, Equestrian groups, & other conservation oriented groups have also opposed such legislation, but this year were conspicuous by their absence. For some reason, another bill carried by Sen. Kilgore was rolled into this one, which only permits Sunday hunting of raccoons, and the amended bill was reported on to the floor by 14-0. Raccoons are generally hunted at night, but there is no day time prohibition in this bill so it appears to be a classic “camel’s nose under the tent” for Sunday hunting, which the hunters have been trying to get for a number of years.

Additionally, we noticed a Dangerous Dogs bill, HB271/Mark Cole which increases some of the requirements for owners of dogs that are declared to be dangerous. This bill will be in House Agriculture, Sub committee 1 which meets Monday at 4:30. With a Republican patron, it stands a good chance of being reported, but you can never be sure with dog bills, and we will see on Monday. I expect that this meeting will be streamed for those who may want to watch it. It’s a little tricky to find the links to the committee broadcasts on the legislative home page, but they are there, and its a huge improvement over previous years!

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