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Guest Post by
Elwood “Sandy” Sanders, Esq.

I recently read a Creigh Deeds web advertisement based on the McDonnell thesis. (For those interested, you can find it at I was disappointed with his analysis. Here’s mine.

HJ 800 (2001) and SB 1025 (1995) were cited as evidence that McDonnell is against equal pay for women.

But the review of the bills shows different: HB 800 is a meaningless feel-good resolution that says yea for equal pay. Legislatures are asked regularly to vote for such floss. McDonnell may have decided (and I agree!) there are better uses of the legislature’s time. Of course, the federal Equal Pay Act has been the law since 1963 and Title VII since 1964. This resolution is hardly necessary. SB 1025 set up a new legal procedure with court proceedings potentially if the sides could not settle in state discrimination cases. By the time the bill got to the House, it was a bill prohibiting discharge on the grounds of race, sex, etc. My review of the legislative history shows that Delegate McDonnell voted TWICE FOR this House version: Once on 2/22/95 and again on 2/25/95. Perhaps Bob forgot to study his thesis before those votes.

Let’s turn to HJ 259 (2001) and SB 417 (1998) cited as McDonnell’s callous indifference to child care needs.

HJ 259 is a study about safety and working conditions for child care workers. This is sort of another feel good resolution. It does not do anything to actually help day care workers.

SB 417 sets up a new informal procedure for violations in day care situations. The Commissioner can levy a fine of up to $500. It was not clear if there is the normal administrative appeals process to the courts of the Commissioner’s action; the procedure it established has been repealed or altered. A similar bill passed in 2005. I could hardly blame Bob McDonnell for voting against such a standardless procedure.

The Deeds campaign has raised HB 986 (2000) to show that he is against financial aid for low-income workers.

This bill increased the benefits for TANF, a federal/state welfare program. The 2000 bill was during the so-called financial crisis that Governor Gilmore was blamed for. After taxes were raised in the Warner administration, the state had a surplus. Amazing! This law proves nothing but that Bob McDonnell is (GASP!) a fiscal conservative.

Let’s turn to the three times (THREE TIMES!) Bob McDonnell voted against contraception.

HB 1233 (1997) is a law REQUIRING health insurance companies to cover contraception. These type of unfunded mandates is a crucial reason health premiums continue to rise. McDonnell was right to vote no.

HB 563 (2002) and HB 1741 (2003) are conscience clauses. The first allowed certain health care workers to be able to not dispense contraception. Surely Deeds is not for binding conscience? Is he? Besides, McDonnell voted FOR both bills – HB 1741 requires the conscientious health care worker to REFER the patient to one who can fill that prescription. Hardly a position for a radical. He did not prevent services from being rendered. Maybe Bob forgot to re-read that thesis…

Finally, the last two items are evident of the ideology of Creigh Deeds. McDonnell is portrayed as against the public schools and against abortion rights. He actually is for parental choice. Rich parents can send their kids to private schools – both President Clinton and President Obama do so. Poor and middle class kids cannot. But vouchers also break the educational monopoly and place parents more in charge of their kids education. It is not an establishment of religion – the United States Supreme Court said so. As for abortion, many believe abortion is the taking of a human life and should only be exercised legally in the rarest situations. What is Creigh Deeds’ position? Bob McDonnell has taken a principled position and has not waffled.
It seems that this Deeds website has issues. The legislative history is not there to show a hidden agenda. Maybe I missed something…

I would add that I have not spoken with or have ANY authority to speak for the McDonnell campaign. This is MY analysis.

Note: Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written seven scholarly legal articles and was an adjunct at T. C. Williams School of Law. (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

About Elwood Sanders

Elwood "Sandy" Sanders is a Hanover attorney who is an Appellate Procedure Consultant for Lantagne Legal Printing and has written ten scholarly legal articles. Sandy was also Virginia's first Appellate Defender and also helped bring curling in VA! (None of these titles imply any endorsement of Sanders’ views)

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Tom White Says:

Nothing is more conservative than a republican wanting to get their majority back. And nothing is more liberal than a republican WITH a majority.

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