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Advocacy Update 3

As reported over the weekend, a Dangerous Dogs bill, HB271/carried by Mark Cole, which increases some of the requirements for owners of dogs that are declared to be dangerous was heard in House Agriculture, Sub committee 1 Monday at 4:30. As with several of the sub committee meeting venues in the Pocahontas Building, the rooms are small and this meeting was packed wall to wall with interested people, with several waiting outside who couldn’t get in. Fortunately for Champe & me, it was heard first, and Del. Cole gave it a good presentation, citing an incident where one of his constituents in the Fredericksburg area had been injured by a dangerous dog which had gotten away from its owner, so the bill was intended to tighten up some of the conditions of the Dangerous Dogs Registry and prevent this type of situation.

As the situation was similar to the incident we had on Jordan Drive in Henrico county with several RABA rides, resulting in Pat Reddington being severely bitten, by the pit bull we eventually had cited and registered on the Dangerous Dogs Registry, I testified in favor of the bill.

After a woman from an SPCA group testified that better enforcement of the existing conditions of the Registry would be sufficient to handle such incidents, and several members of the dog sympathetic committee agreed with her, the bill failed by a unanimous 8-0 vote.

This morning, House Transportation SubCommittee 1 met at 7 a.m. and ALL the bills on its docket but one were Passed by Indefinitely (PBI’d or killed) on straight, party line votes, with all the R’s voting to PBI; all of the D’s opposed. Included in the bills that failed were–

HB9/Krizek & HB1272/Watts slightly different bills that would require ALL occupants of a passenger vehicle to utilize seat belts when the vehicle is moving, with failure to do so a primary offense

HB207/Mullin A penalty for operating a vehicle after failing to clear accumulated snow or ice from it, as is the law in most states to the north of here

HB811/O’Quinn A penalty for motor vehicles traveling at “slower than normal speed for existing conditions” if they are not in the far right lane

HB464/Carter Driver must STOP for a pedestrian in a marked crosswalk

All of these bills were well presented, and were fully discussed, with speakers (including Champe Burnley for the Pedestrians in Crosswalks) speaking in support, but all were PBI’d on party line votes.

The only bill still surviving is HB308/Watts which would prohibit motor vehicles from passing in bike lanes. After extensive discussion, including my support, she requested, and was granted, that it be Passed By for the Day, so she can change some of the language prior to it being brought back and heard at the next meeting of the SubCommittee.

Since the hearing of these bills in SubComm took right up to about 8:15, the rest of the members of the Full Committee joined the SubComm members to make up the full House Trans Comm for their docket which was scheduled for 8:30. Those of us who make the trip down there are thrilled to now have the SubComm1 on Tuesday (rather than Monday, as previously, for a number of years) and have it be followed by the Full Committee meeting, thereby saving one early morning trip.

Since the entire docket consisted of routine matters, it went very quickly,

with the following bills referred to other committees — HB672/Kilgore Suspension of License for unsatisfied Judgments to Courts; HB1021/ Adams, LR Use of speed monitoring systems in school crossing zones to Militia & Police; HB134/Bell, John Raise minimum cost requiring Value Engineering from $5 to 15 million to General Laws; HB59/Bell, John, Use of Practical Design Methods to General Laws

and two license plate bills, a naming of a bridge, and a naming of a section of highway being handled reported out routinely.

Now we look forward to Senate Trans Tomorrow which appears to have only the two Value Engineering bills SB117/Favola & SB125/Black of interest to us, as we try to make sure that Bike/Ped components of highway projects don’t get “Value Engineered” out of the projects in an effort to save money.

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