Sunday, April 14, 2013
"No officer, I was just typing directions into my GPS…"
Texting while driving is dangerous, but some people do it anyway. This year, Virginia's General Assembly passed a measure that increased the fine to $125 (it was $20) for the first infraction and $250 for the second. But Virginia legislators did not pass a hands-free measure like they have in the District, and as such enforcing the law could prove difficult. The problem: Using cell phones to dial a number or setting the phone GPS is legal. “Distracted driving is a big problem, but it’s bigger than just phone use,” said Russ Rader of the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, to the Washington Post. “Even if a law were successful in stopping phone use and texting, it wouldn’t eliminate distracted driving.” Northern Virginia Del. Scott …
Friday, February 1, 2013
Murphy, a McLean resident, plans to focus on human rights, transportation and education.
McLean Democrat Kathleen Murphy will challenge Virginia Del. Barbara Comstock (R-34th) in this November’s House of Delegates Election. Murphy, a veteran political consultant who kicked off her campaign earlier this week, says she's running because she believes her opponent has failed to represent the best interests of the 34th District, which includes Great Falls and parts of Tysons, Vienna, McLean and Loudoun County. “I don’t believe that our delegate in Richmond votes for us,” Murphy told Patch. “She doesn’t vote for our priorities or our values and I think we can do better.” Murphy, a Fairfax County resident for more than 20 years, said she plans focus on transportation, education and human rights issues during her campaign. Murphy …
Saturday, January 19, 2013
Fairfax County School Board supports legislators' proposal to repeal, or make better exceptions to, "King's Dominion law."
By Erica R. Hendry and Kristen Smith, Capital News Service Lawmakers from across Virginia are pushing a half-dozen bills this legislative session to let public schools start classes before Labor Day. Del. Kaye Kory, D-Falls Church, is among legislators sponsoring bills to repeal Virginia’s “King’s Dominion law,” which prevents local schools from opening before Labor Day unless they get special permission from the state. Kory’s proposal, House Bill 1491, “makes local school boards responsible for setting the school calendar and determining the opening day of the school year.” Currently, school boards can start classes before Labor Day only if they show “good cause” (such as a history of snow-related school closings) and get a waiver from …
Thursday, January 10, 2013
Governor lays out proposals, challenges in speech to state lawmakers.
Transportation funding, teacher raises and restoring rights to non-violent offenders were a few of the topics explored Wednesday night by Gov. Bob McDonnell in his State of the Commonwealth speech at the Capitol in Richmond. "The Virginia General Assembly has met in this building for 220 years — the Speaker was just a young boy during that first session," the governor said, grinning at Speaker Bill Howell (R-28th) seated behind him. "I ask that you not conclude this session without approving a long-term transportation funding plan for Virginia," said McDonnell to members of the General Assembly in the House Chamber. "Do not send me a budget that does not include new transportation funding. We are all out of excuses. We must act now." "We …
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
A McLean resident sounds off on Virginia students being accepted into Virginia colleges and universities.
Tuesday, January 8
Dear Editor: It’s January and with January brings the most common concern of high school seniors, that’s college acceptance! Are you in? Are you out? Where are you going? How will we pay? This is all high school seniors are thinking about right now, as I was right there with them last year applying to Virginia colleges. With many of my high school classmates having their eyes set on William & Mary as their first choice, I did a little research and found out how fortunate I was to have gotten into William & Mary. William & Mary provides 32 percent of our college spots to out of state students. That makes it very difficult for many of our best and brightest Virginia students, including my classmates, to get in. That is why I was pleased to…
Thursday, January 3, 2013
Legislators discussed priorities for Virginia's 2013 General Assembly in Wednesday town hall.
On Wednesday evening, when Virginia Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd District) announced her plans to introduce legislation that would fix a loophole allowing Virginia residents to purchase firearms from some dealers at gun shows without undergoing background checks, more than 200 McLean residents showed their support with a round of applause. Similar legislation has been introduced during past legislative sessions, but has not passed, Howell said. "I’m hopeful that this year we’ve had tragedies of such magnitude that reason will prevail," she said. But reforming the Commonwealth's gun control laws is only one of many legislative priorities lawmakers representing McLean voiced Wednesday during a town hall meeting at the McLean Community Center. …
Monday, December 31, 2012
A town hall meeting with state legislators representing McLean will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.
The Virginia General Assembly will be tackling a host of new issues in its upcoming legislative session starting Jan. 9 and the six legislators who represent parts of McLean will be on hand at the McLean Community Center on Wednesday to talk about those issues. The town hall meeting will be hosted by the McLean Citizens Association. State Sens. Barbara Favola (D-31st District) and Janet Howell (D-32nd), along with Dels Bob Brink (D-48th), Barbara Comstock (R-34th), Mark Keam (D-35th) and Jim Scott (D-53rd) will speak about the upcoming session. A question and answer session is planned during the meeting. The town hall meeting will start at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the McLean Community Center, 1234 Ingleside Ave.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
Virginia officials doubt Fairfax County will get money for transportation projects in 2013 legislative session.
As officials sat down Tuesday to discuss priorities for the legislature’s fast-approaching 2013 session, the county’s widely publicized road funding woes—a $3 billion need for road projects and improvements over the next decade—took center stage. The county faces a $300 million per year funding shortfall for the next 10 years. But nobody is quite sure where the money will come from. At Tuesday's joint meeting of county supervisors and representatives from the Virginia State Senate and General Assembly, tidings were grim. “I honestly don’t expect a transportation bill to pass this session,” said Del. Vivian Watts (D-39th). The Commonwealth’s Secondary Road Program, from which the county used to get $29 million annually, is dry. The county …
Friday, March 23, 2012
Virginia Senate Finance Committee approves Howell-sponsored amendment that will boost money for Metrorail to Dulles.
The Virginia Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved on Thursday a Senate budget that contains a budget amendment offered by Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax & Arlington) and Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun & Fairfax). The amendment will provide $300 million dollars in additional state funds to Phase 2 of the Metrorail to Dulles Project. The amount is in addition to $150 million the state has previously committed, bringing the total state contribution for the project to $450 million. Phase 2 had been an ongoing point of contention between Dulles Toll Road users (who fear rising tolls to pay for the project), MWAA officials (who compromised on the location of an above-ground station at Dulles International Airport, and other parties. …
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Fairfax Schools will open day after Labor Day
WTOP reports that the effort to repeal the so-called "Kings Dominion law" that prevents local schools from opening before Labor Day has died again. The State Senate Education and Health Committee killed the repeal of the law Thursday with a 9-6 vote. A key vote against the law came from Sen. George Barker, D-Fairfax, who has expressed concern about the loss of sales tax revenue if the schools open before Labor Day, WTOP reported. One percent of that sales tax money goes to schools across the state. Other jurisdictions have received state waivers of the law. Not Fairfax, the largest Virginia county with a population of one million and one of the richest counties in the U.S. The McLean Citizens Association has made passage of the bill a …