Sunday, April 7, 2013
Virginia's legislature passed an amendment prohibiting some insurance companies from providing abortion coverage.
This week, Virginia’s legislature approved a measure by Gov. Bob McDonnell that prohibits certain health insurance companies from providing coverage for women seeking an abortion. The exceptions to the insurance coverage rule are in cases of rape, incest or if the mother’s life is in danger. While the new Virginia legislation isn’t as restrictive of abortions as recent legislation passed in North Dakota and Alabama, critics are concerned about the financial effect the legislation may have on a woman’s decision. Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun) said, “Women should be able to make decisions about their own health care without interference from politicians here in the state Capitol.” The Virginia Society for Human Life, an anti-abortion group, …
Thursday, April 4, 2013
The Virginia Senate voted 20 - 19 in favor of an amendment that will prohibit certain health insurance companies in Virginia from providing coverage for women seeking an abortion.
Thursday, April 4
By Mark Robinson Capital News Service The General Assembly on Wednesday narrowly approved an amendment by Gov. Bob McDonnell that will prohibit certain health insurance companies in Virginia from providing coverage for women seeking an abortion. McDonnell added the anti-abortion amendment to House Bill 1900, sponsored by Delegate Thomas Davis Rust (R-Herndon). McLean-area Sens. Janet Howell and Barbara Favola both voted against the amendment. The assembly passed the bill in February to comply with the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Under the system, Virginians who cannot afford health insurance will participate in a federally operated health insurance exchange. McDonnell’s amendment will prohibit insurers …
Monday, February 25, 2013
McLean's Del. Barbara Comstock voted against the budget, which included $3.4 million to add 1,700 in-state undergraduate seats at Virginia universities.
Monday, February 25
By Jessica Dahlberg, Capital News Service As the 2013 legislative session came to a close, the Virginia General Assembly approved amendments to the state’s two-year budget Saturday that included expanding Medicaid and spending more money on education. The amendments were passed by both the House (on an 83-17 vote) and the Senate (31-8) after tense discussions over Medicaid, which provides medical care for lower-income residents. Legislators agreed to expand the program if certain reforms are made. Del. Barbara Comstock (R-McLean) was the only McLean-area legislator to vote against the budget. See vote tally below. The reforms will make Medicaid look similar to non-government health insurance policies, according to legislators. Under the …
Sunday, February 24, 2013
McLean-area Sens. Janet Howell and Barbara Favola both voted for the final bill, which is expected to raise $880 million a year for roads and mass transit.
Sunday, February 24
By Stephen Nielsen, Capital News Service A divided Virginia Senate on Saturday passed Gov. Bob McDonnell’s signature issue of the 2013 legislative session – a bill to overhaul the state’s system for funding transportation. McLean-area Sens. Janet Howell and Barbara Favola supported the legislation, but some other Northern Virginia senators voted against it, including Sen. Chap Petersen. Just hours before the session’s end, the Senate voted 25-15 for House Bill 2313, which will raise about $880 million a year more for roads and mass transit by increasing sales taxes while lowering the fuels tax. “This is truly the best we’re going to get,” Howell said. HB 2313, which was negotiated by a conference committee and approved 60-40 by the House …
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Favola on the federal Health Benefits Exchange program (or virtual marketplace) for insurance.
Wednesday, February 20
The following opinion column was submitted by state Sen. Barbara Favola, D-Arlington. Patch is happy to consider opinion articles for publication. We reserve the right to edit for accuracy, clarity and brevity. Email your letters to the editor to firstname.lastname@example.org. The Virginia General Assembly will soon enact legislation that directs the State Corporation Commission to perform plan management functions for participation in a federal health benefits exchange (HBE) program. The exchange will function as a virtual marketplace where families can shop and compare insurance policies, with the help of a consumer navigator, to find the appropriate policy for their needs. Thanks to new rules, shoppers in the exchange can be assured that any …
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Bill comes with harsher penalties and makes texting while driving a primary offense.
A bill that would impose tougher penalties on those convicted of texting while driving cleared the state Senate on Tuesday and now heads to the desk of Gov. Bob McDonnell. The bill increases the fine to $250 — up from $20 — for the first texting-while-driving offense and $500 for each subsequent conviction. It also makes texting while driving an aggravating circumstance to reckless driving, and so anyone convicted of such would face a mandatory minimum $500 penalty if they were texting while they were driving recklessly. Texting while driving would also become a primary offense, which means police can stop someone on the suspicion that a driver is texting; current law allows police to charge someone with texting while driving only if they'…
Friday, February 15, 2013
The bill that would make texting while driving a primary offense with a fine of $250 has received wide bipartisan support, and several other bills are under consideration.
The Virginia Legislature is vetting a number of bills that would implement harsher texting while driving laws. Last week, the house passed a bill (HB 1907) that increases the fine for the first texting-while-driving offense to $250 upon conviction, and $500 for each subsequent conviction. The current fine is $20. The bill passed the House in a 92-4 vote, and was unanimously supported by the Senate Transportation Committee on Wednesday. Del. Barbara Comstock, who represents McLean, is a patron. The bill is currently being vetted by the Senate Courts of Justice Committee. The legislation would make texting while driving a primary offense, which means police can stop someone just on the suspicion that a driver may be texting at the wheel. …
With days left in the 2013 Virginia General Assembly session, McLean-area Sen. Janet Howell joins group that will hammer out a transportation deal.
Friday, February 15
By Whitney Spicer, Capital News Service A conference committee of 10 legislators has less than a week and a half to hammer out a compromise between the House and Senate versions of a bill to increase transportation funding in Virginia. The committee was named Wednesday after the Senate passed a version of House Bill 2313 that differs greatly from a proposal approved by delegates last week. The group will have eight Republicans and two Democrats — including McLean-area Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston). Nearby, Fairfax's Republican Del. Dave Albo was also appointed to the group. McDonnell said that if the committee can agree upon “a fiscally responsible plan,” he will sign it into law. The panel must agree on a plan before the General Assembly’…
Thursday, February 14, 2013
A Virginia House subcommittee killed a non-discrimination bill this week.
A Virginia House of Delegates subcommittee this week tabled a bill that would have prevented the state government from discriminating against someone based on their sexual orientation, essentially killing the matter for this legislative session. "What it means is that it's still perfectly legal to fire somebody because of their sexual orientation," state Sen. Adam Ebbin, D-Alexandria, told Patch. Ebbin and Sen. Don McEachin, a Richmond Democrat, were the primary sponsors of the bill, which passed the Senate late last month 24-16. Tysons area legislators Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) and Barbara Favola (D-Vienna) voted for the bill. Most of Virginia's top 25 employers have nondiscrimination policies in place that include sexual orientation, …
House subcommittee rejects Senate amendment to allow Virginia governors to serve two consecutive terms.
Thursday, February 14
By Shelby Mertens, Capital News Service Virginia governors will not be able to serve two consecutive terms starting in 2017, as a House of Delegates subcommittee has rejected the Senate's proposed constitutional amendment that would have allowed it. Sen. Thomas Garrett, R-Lynchburg, introduced Senate Joint Resolution 276. The amendment passed in the Senate on Jan. 28 with a 25-15 bipartisan vote: 16 Democrats and nine Republicans voted for it, while 11 Republicans and four Democrats opposed it. When the Senate resolution “crossed over” to the House this week, however, it ran into trouble. The proposed amendment was assigned to the House Committee on Privileges and Elections. This week, that panel’s Constitutional Amendments Subcommittee …