I, like millions of others, get the email report of my Favorite Democrat, Senator Chap Petersen. And he did have several legislative successes (The appellate defender should have been included but this was not Chap’s fault!) this session:
Dear Friends, Virginians and Citizens of Fairfax:
Always worth quoting musical lyrics, circa 1980. This past session generated a lot of high-profile legislation. Outside the headlines, the Assembly passed seven of my bills which have been signed by the Governor. Here’s a brief summary:
SB 853: This legislation fixes a loophole by making assaults against judicial magistrates a felony (just like assaults on judges).
SB 854: A small revision to my 2012 legislation, this bill strengthens pension protections for police and fire personnel in small cities and towns.
SB 894: Submitted at the request of Fairfax County, this bill expands state law to crack down on sub-landlords running illegal “boarding houses.”
SB 1140: My most significant bill, this legislation reorganized state transit spending to make it “performance-based.” The Governor’s office asked me to carry the bill and, after some initial resistance, we passed it with a solid bipartisan margin.
SB 1342: Copatroned with Delegate Tim Hugo (R-Clifton), this bill requires Virginia colleges and universities to coordinate with llocal agencies on the mental health treatment of their students.
SB 1343: A charter change requested by Fairfax City, it increases the City’s hotel tax with proceeds dedicated to economic development.
SB 1345: Submitted at the request of the Civics Education Commission, this bill promotes the teaching of Virginia’s state and local governments.
I was pleased to see that Senator Petersen is opposed to the silly and authoritarian NYC/Mayor Bloomberg soda ban:
Pretty much sleeping on the national political scene, although I did notice a few days ago that Mayor Bloomberg’s “soda ban” in New York was struck down by a court there. (Unrelatedly, I will be in Manhattan on business on Monday).
The Mayor is a proponent of what I would gently call “the New Moralism” which basically seeks to ban or highly tax all things which are not deemed healthy: guns, cigarettes, soda, etc. Needless to say, his views in that space are not entirely consistent. If sodas over a certain size are banned — then why not ban large pizzas? How about the $8 super-size tub of popcorn at the movies?
In life, you have to allow people a certain amount of freedom to make choices. It’s harder to imagine a more personal choice (and one less accessible to state interference) than what people choose to put in their bodies. Besides if you ban drinks over a certain size, people can always just buy two. Am I the first person to realize that?
Now before, we get all sticky about it – Senator Petersen certainly is liberal (although he is more moderate than many liberals) but I think Chap is willing to work with the other side (He after all worked with a right-wing libertarian blogger on the appellate defender bill! I hope he’ll help me again.) But sometimes the other party wins. When they do, I want them to be men and women of principle and vision like Senator Petersen.
UPDATE: March 27 is Chap Petersen’s birthday! If you admire him as I do, send him an email with a nice greeting! district34 [at] senate.virginia.gov