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Del. Ken Plum: Working It Out

by Del. Ken Plum February 15, 2018 at 10:15 am 8 Comments

This is a commentary from Del. Ken Plum (D-Fairfax), who represents Reston in Virginia’s House of Delegates. It does not reflect the opinion of Reston Now.

In a sight too seldom seen in the State Capitol, Governor Ralph Northam and Speaker of the House Kirk Cox stood together at the same podium to announce a bipartisan agreement on criminal justice reform. Governor Northam has agreed to sign a bill on restitution in criminal cases that when it passed last year was vetoed by Governor McAuliffe, and the Republicans agreed to pass a bill to raise the threshold for felony larceny from the current $200 to $500 for which many interfaith and social justice groups have been forcefully advocating. While there are details about the agreements that continue to be open for criticism, they represent important steps in criminal justice reform. 

The Governor intervened in a controversial bill on electric energy regulation that is likely to make the ultimate outcome more satisfactory to multiple stakeholders. The original bill was referred to as the “Dominion” bill because it impacted Dominion Energy, American Electric Power Company and the electric cooperatives. After the Governor called together 30 stakeholders and a professional mediator, a revised bill emerged that will keep the electric power companies financially stable while granting refunds to consumers with advances in smart metering, energy conservation and a giant step in moving towards renewable energy. For critics of any bill that deals with electric energy, take a look at the new bill that has been negotiated; I think there are very good reasons conservationists are happy with the new bill. 

The critical need for Metro funding presents a challenge for working out a solution. There is no debate about the importance of Metro; all business organizations testify to its critical role in the success of the Northern Virginia region. Holding up the process of working out the new funding are legislators who continue to want to talk about reforms of Metro without specific proposals and who are not willing to make a commitment on funding. Hopefully the partisan political speeches can be set aside, and serious discussions can be carried on by sane heads that will result in a satisfactory compromise.

A bill passed recently that supports a work requirement for recipients of Medicaid that was supported by the Speaker was the first indication that there may be a path to an agreement on Medicaid expansion. Such requirements are becoming common among the states. While such a requirement may be adverse to some people, we need to do what is needed to move the program forward for the maximum number of persons who are otherwise qualified. Certainly, the program will be revised and improved most every year. I share the Governor’s priority that we make progress on expanding health care this year. 

On every issue that comes before the legislature there are multiple points of view and different interests. Each has a legitimacy in the mind of the proponent. The continued challenge that keeps me interested and excited about legislating is the working out of complex issues to the best interest of the citizenry.

  • OneReally

    You say “Working It Out”

    I hear we need to tax you more. Ken P money doesn’t grow on trees.

    Metro is a disaster. It’s a money pit. Turn it over to the commercial section and run it like a business.

    Before you tackle Medicaid expansion. Focus on Medicaid fraud.

    Finally, stealing is stealing.
    “threshold for felony larceny from the current $200 to
    $500”
    Really on the issues that matter to Reston you highlight this one.

    • Drip

      Remember when Plum made a big deal about that one time he took the Metro–to Tysons. He never experienced the single tracking, off-loading, delays, etc. Metro needs real, tangible, and articulated reform before we just go and give a broken system dedicated funding. Plum is content to just throw more money at the problem, which clearly has only resulted in poor service, poor reliability, reduced trains and higher fares.

      • OneReally

        Agreed! Again the problem with government or quasi government ran systems.
        No accountability and just feed me more.

        The line silver should have been rapid bus instead of heavy rail. The system would have been completed years ago. Could have handed out free passes for the amount we have poured into Phase 1 and 2.

        • 30yearsinreston

          Hudgins and accountability in the one sentence are an oxymoron

          • OneReally

            She has to pay for the retirement some way I guess.

    • In the eye of the beholder

      Again politics failed to see the real issue, and that is how theft does bot recognize the intrinsic value of the property taken, instead compensates and assesses punitive measures based on dollar amount! Although considered an honourable bi-partisan effort by KP it is nothing more but a political ploy to put more laws on the books to embellish their records!

      Consider the following make believe cases:

      . Theft of a rare but not yet appraised postal stamp
      . Theft of a school backpack signed by none other than Jesse Jackson
      . Theft of a construction estimate provided by a lake house contractor

      Etc. Etc.

      Again, politicians have outdone themselves in remarkable fashion with KP taking the lead!

  • 30yearsinreston

    Want ideas to fix Metro?
    Fire Hudgins for starters

  • Rational Reston

    Note that Delegate Plum points out bipartisan solutions, and that at NO POINT is Delegate Plum part of those solutions.

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