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Del. Ken Plum: New Year Resolutions

by Del. Ken Plum — January 7, 2016 at 11:30 am 9 Comments

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis is an opinion column by Del. Ken Plum, who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not represent the opinion of Reston Now.

Resolutions for the new year are easy to make; I have made dozens in my lifetime. The challenge is to keep resolutions and to bring about the changes they imply. Resolutions in a political context are even more difficult as agreement on the part of many is necessary to cause action to take place. A couple of examples will make my point.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe presented a budget last month. It is the strongest statement that can be made about the future course of government under his administration. For the first two years of the term, a governor of Virginia works under a budget that had been presented by his predecessor. The budget just presented mid-term sets priorities for the final two years of his term. The final budget a governor presents is implemented by the successor.

That is all true because of an arcane provision in the Virginia constitution that limits the governor to one term. I have voted many times for allowing a governor to serve two terms, but it has been rejected by one of the two houses of the legislature keeping it from being voted on by the people.

The voters, not an out-of-date constitutional provision, should decide if the governor can serve a second term. We should resolve to pass an amendment this year, but I am not sure it will happen for too many legislators seem content with the current inefficient system of starting government anew every four years.

The point has been made on many occasions that legislators in Virginia pick their voters through the current totally partisan system of legislative redistricting.

I first resolved to change this arrangement in 1982 when I introduced legislation to establish an independent nonpartisan redistricting commission. I have introduced bills to bring about a fairer system of redistricting many times, but they have been defeated by the partisan majority at the time who are advantaged by the system as it is. Maybe with the strong voter interest that has been shown recently through OneVirginia2021 to change the system of redistricting the legislature may act this year.

I resolve to take action to prevent gun violence in our state by introducing legislation to close the gun show loophole. Such bills have been rejected year after year by a single subcommittee of five legislators, four of whom consistently vote against any bills that would reduce gun violence. Maybe the strong public concern that has been shown about the escalation of gun violence in recent years will convince legislators to at least allow a debate on commonsense gun safety measures rather than having them defeated by a handful of legislators. How many more horrid examples of gun violence will we see before legislators get the political courage to take on the gun manufacturing interests?

Whatever your resolutions for the year, you know they can be hard to keep. The resolutions I discussed above seem almost impossible, but be sure of my efforts to continue trying.

  • sheik yerbouti

    Term limits are fantastic and we need them especially in the house of delegates. It would keep representatives from worrying about reelection and let them make votes that they believe are in the best interest of their citizens and not what their political party or donors want.

  • Ming the Merciless

    KP is the poster boy for why we need term limits.

    Again he whines about the issue of redistricting, even though this is precisely the reason he has been elected so many times.

    There is no “gun show loophole” so that is a flat-out lie.

  • Mike M

    “[A]n arcane provision.” Ha! Lots of people like that Arcane provision and could make the case for it. So any Constitutional provision with which you do not agree should be put to the vote?

    “[F]airer system of redistricting.” Would you risk Democratic strongholds like yours?

    “[G]un show loophole.” Can you tell me one case where addressing this so-called loop hole would have prevented gun violence?

    • Ming the Merciless

      He wants to close the “Second Amendment Loophole” that allows people to buy guns due to an arcane provision of the United States Constitution.

      • TheRealODB

        Comment of the year nominee right here.

  • Chuck Morningwood

    The so-called “gun show loophole” is simply that some transfers of ownership of guns are not subject to a formal background check. Frankly, any transfer of ownership should be vetted, even if it’s just inheriting your now-deceased father’s Blunderbuss.

  • Reader

    TL;DR KP hates the Constitution.

  • SouthRestonResident

    If Mr. Plum can tell me ONE of these proposed laws would have stopped a single one of these shootings, I will stop posting.

  • RoadApples

    Curious question:
    Does Rep KP have an ultimate agenda with chipping away through back door manuevers ( i.e. the concept of a Living and Breathing Constitution) in lieu of having the moral courage to be a stand up guy and promote Repeal of the entire 2nd Amendment Constitutional; via the proper and legal redress already laid out according to law? (i.e.: the process to Repeal the 21st Amendment .

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