Del. Ken Plum: At the Half 2017

by Del. Ken Plum February 2, 2017 at 10:15 am 13 Comments

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThe 2017 session of the General Assembly, that got underway on Jan. 11, is barreling ahead toward its midpoint of Feb. 7.

At that midpoint, referred to as “crossover,” the House of Delegates and the State Senate must have completed action on bills that were introduced in their own chamber and start to work on bills from the other chamber. In order for a bill to become law, it must pass both houses exactly alike before being sent to the governor for his signature.

Already, about half of the bills that were introduced will have been defeated. See how your favorite bill is faring by going to http://lis.virginia.gov/lis.htm.

If the bill you felt most important to pass has been defeated, there really is no hope that it can be revived unless there was a companion bill that survived the other house of the Legislature. For bills you really oppose that passed their house of introduction, it is time to get to work lobbying members of the other house. Keep in mind that all the work of the Assembly for this annual session will be finished by about Feb. 24.

Some generalizations that can be made about the session to date, subject to shifting winds in the next few weeks, follow. There is a commitment to giving state employees a raise especially for State Police where turnover has become excessive with the low rate of pay. Providing the state share of funding for teachers who are local employees remains in doubt except that additional funding to schools is likely in a small amount. Funding for expanded mental health services that the Governor and a legislative study group recommended is likely. The need in this area is very serious.

The Republican majority that has a history of supporting less government but obtrusive laws into people’s private lives defeated an anti-LGBT bill much like the one that passed in North Carolina. The bill they passed last year was vetoed by the governor. There are bound to be more restrictive laws on women’s reproductive decisions passed, but Gov. McAuliffe has pledged to veto such bills. The appetite to expand access to guns seems insatiable. Numerous bills to expand access to concealed weapons and the defeat of bills that promote gun safety continues unabated. My bill to expand criminal background checks for all gun purchases was defeated in sub-committee.

Redrawing legislative district boundaries after the next federal census is of increasing concern to citizens who want voters picking their representatives not legislators picking their voters with most elections consisting of uncontested incumbents. My bill to establish a nonpartisan redistricting commission was defeated. A bill to define the process as being non-political may sound good, but it is unlikely to have any effect without the process being taken over by a truly non-partisan group.

Bills that are common sense to me and to most of the constituents with whom I talk like banning the use of cellphones while driving continue to fail in the Legislature. Much more to come after the half.

If you have a position on an issue before the Legislature, email me at [email protected].

Each year, I survey constituents on issues of concern to them and on issues that are likely to be considered by the General Assembly. Your views are important to me. Please take a few minutes to respond to the survey that can be found at www.kenplum.com.

  • meh

    What was the last bill you proposed that was actually passed? Trying to get a sense for what you actually do.

    • 10 vs 90%, 90% reward+++

      He basically said dont text and drive, even if its not against the law.

      Also, and although he did not say, we need our kids to learn a second language. Its disappointing to see our youth being dumbed down to previous generations.

      Spanish – a must, everyone at least 2 years

      French – for those who want to work in Canada or cdn gov

      Mandarin – for the pessimists

      Russian – for the optimists

      Thanks, I got a sense fornwhat needs to be done.

      • javamaster

        No one “needs” to learn Spanish, silly. Spanish speakers and other foreign nationals seeking to reside here need to learn English to succeed.
        Business is conducted in English around the world except at the local tapas market, it seems. In fact, China has more English speakers than we do, which shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who takes a global view of things. So unless you are planning to cross the southern border and stay there awhile, I think you are safe without Spanish. Take the language of your choice at school, kids. And don’t forget to study hard!

    • 30yearsinreston

      He doesn’t do anything except collect a paycheck

  • Scott

    Hey Ken, instead of demonizing your fellow representatives as gun nuts who hate gays and government, please remember that you represent everyone in your district and when you demonize them, you are demonizing many of your constituents. Perhaps we simply have substantive policy disagreements that emanate from a different perspective, and aren’t bad people. You’d think 70 years in office would have taught you something.

    • Guest

      Hmmmm, yes. “Criminal history record information check required to obtain firearm from firearms show vendor” = “demonizing gun enthusiasts”.

      (The CC bill, HB1466, is a typo correction and adds renewal notices, so I think Ken is just salty about his bill getting shot down.)

      • drb

        So why does he not promote allowing citizens access to back ground checking when they sell their firearms?

        • Guest

          What? Of course you can run a check. It’s not required by Federal law, because it’s a hassle to non licensed gun sellers (individuals) to run a check.

          • drb

            No not really. I can not run an instant check like gun show venders or stores.
            It is a bit of a hassle but also a non needed expense that should be born by the government as this is for public safety issue that I keep hearing. Or perhaps it isn’t as big an issue as Ken keeps telling us.

          • Guest

            I think the sticking point isn’t expense, it’s the buyer’s right to privacy. With a federal license and VA registration you can run it instantly. Without those you’re under as much scrutiny as the buyer. Both still require the buyer’s written consent.

            Virginia’s system is definitely more effort than a simple go/no go from federal. The commonwealth led the effort for unified checks before the Brady bill, and runs voluntary checks for individual sales at gun shows.

          • drb

            Still a very simple fix. Allow sellers to go on line and run a back ground check. It really isn’t that hard to set up. Buyers give consent when they buy at dealers and venders at gun shows all the time. Takes up to an hour max depending how many are trying to access the system.
            The issue is that Ken doesn’t even want to consider it. Why?
            Is he just un-knowledgeable or doesn’t want citizens to be in control of their own stuff because he is a government control freak.

          • Guest

            Of course it’s under government control. We literally pay government to maintain the database and run background checks.

            You’re weirdly focused on this solution in search of a problem.

  • drb

    Back ground checks:
    Just like the background check I or you have to under go if you buy at a store or gun show. The stores receive a good to go when a customer comes in to buy.They don’t need any personal info. from the report just what the customer supplies to get checked.
    The cost should be covered by government since this is a government function.

    My kid will do well. He after all only has to get through the lowest common denominator that we have set up in education. College included as I am finding out. I am afraid that it is promoting laziness though. But success these days are not based on merit more and more. In fact it is becoming illegal to base it on merit in many instances.


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