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Del. Ken Plum: General Assembly Session Underway

by Del. Ken Plum — January 14, 2015 at 1:00 pm 8 Comments

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThe General Assembly convened for its annual session on Jan. 14. Although the session scheduled to adjourn at the end of February is termed “the short session,” it will have a full agenda of opportunities and challenges.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe has made it clear that he will be providing strong leadership on tough issues. With a Republican-controlled General Assembly the debate is likely to become intense. The Governor needs the legislature to act on many of his priorities; legislators need the Governor to sign bills that they want passed. In some instances trade-offs are possible. In others, principles or values will preclude deals being made.

I am pleased with the Governor’s willingness to take on difficult issues. In the instance of gun violence, the Governor has proposed a series of common sense measures that will keep Virginians safer while at the same time respecting constitutional rights.

I am chief patron on his bill to close the gun show loophole to require uniform background checks. Background checks at gun dealerships have been shown to keep guns out of the hands of criminals and those who are violent. Having all sales subject to background checks is reasonable and will enhance public safety.

The Governor has also proposed to reinstate the one handgun per month limitation that was in effect for more than a decade before being repealed two years ago. I support this bill. Before the original limitation was enacted, Virginia had become known as the gun-running capital of the East! I also support the Governor’s proposal to deny concealed weapons permits to those who are under a court restraining order. Too many acts of violence occur in domestic situations that might be prevented.

I support the Governor’s proposals to expand regulations of home-operated daycare centers. There have been too many tragic deaths in Virginia in recent years in daycare programs where there are not adequate adult supervision or safety measures in place. While such regulations seem commonsense to most of us, there will be stiff opposition from the “no government, don’t tread on me” crowd. I hope that reasonableness can prevail in this and other issues.

Two other concerns that I have addressed at length in this column include Medicaid expansion and independent redistricting. The fact of the matter is that Virginia could save money and extend health care to a couple hundred thousand Virginians with Medicaid expansion, and I will be working to make this happen.

Other bills that I will be introducing include a bill to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 over the next three years. Certainly no one can live on the current $7.25. I will also be introducing a bill to make part of the earned income tax credit refundable as a way to get more money into the households of the working poor.

All members of the House and Senate are up for re-election this November. There will be more than a little political posturing looking forward to the elections. Many will have an eye out for primary challenges, especially from the Tea Party. Hopefully the citizen voices can be heard, and there will be a productive General Assembly session.

Ken Plum (D) represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. His opinions are not necessarily those of Reston Now.

  • Dexter Scott

    Everything I want is common sense, reasonable, and bipartisan, everything you want is partisan, crazy, and extremist, blah blah blah.

  • KenG

    I don’t see how his agenda is crazy or partisan. I hope these goals can be accomplished, and hopefully we can vote the crazies out of Richmond so we can elect more members like Ken.

    • Rational Reston

      Ken is just as partisan and ‘crazy’ as the opposition that he points fingers at.
      Just because it is in the opposite direction doesn’t make it any better.

    • HP

      Plummer IS crazy.

  • CE

    Koch brothers!!!!

  • RoadApples

    re: Medicaid expansion:
    What will be the Commonwealth of Virginia’s financial exposure be in future years when the Federal Government curtails funding?
    Is this a bait and switch maneuver?
    Short term gain. Long term pain.

    • Reston Watcher

      The fed pays for 100% of the expanded coverage until 2022. After that, the fed continues to pay for 90%. Figuring out exactly what the state’s net cost will be after 2022 is complicated, because many of the state’s health programs that cover the people who would get Medicaid will then be paid for by the fed, so they will go from being 100% funded by the state to 90% funded by the Fed. The cost savings to the state for those programs have to be netted out from the 10% share the state will have to pay for the expansion.

      • RoadApples

        My understanding : Federal Government to pay 100 % of costs through 2016 and will phase down it’s support ; however by 2020 they will pay 90 % of costs . ( if indeed they live up to this commitment ) .
        After 2020 the Commonwealth of Virginia will be required to pay the final 10% ( projected to be an additional $210 million dollars plus per year. A sum of yearly fees not is not mice nuts ).
        This possible expansion is indeed short term gain and long term pain.

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