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by RestonNow.com November 7, 2017 at 11:30 am 0

The Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) was recently selected by the Virginia Commission for the Arts (VCA) as a “50 For 50 Inspiration Award” winner.

From a pool of more than 350 nominees, GRACE was honored in the category of Bedrock Institutions, which recognizes organizations that have been around for more than 10 years and “have demonstrated a benefit to economic health and tourism in the local community.”

At the recent awards ceremony, attended by Governor Terry McAuliffe, GRACE was also recognized for its artistic excellence, its celebration of diversity, and its work toward helping to make Virginia a “cultural destination.”

GRACE was one of only four organizations statewide to be recognized in this category.

“This is an incredibly proud moment for GRACE. To be in such rare company is humbling,” said Executive Director and Curator Lily Siegel. “All of us here view this as a real legacy award — one that honors the many people, fantastic partners and generous sponsors who, over GRACE’s 40-plus years, have made this iconic community institution what it is today.”

VCA planned the 50 For 50 Inspiration Awards to celebrate the commission’s anniversary — 50 examples of programs, individuals and organizations critical to the arts in Virginia, for the commission’s 50th anniversary.

“We are indeed fortunate in Virginia to have an abundant and diverse roster of outstanding artists and organizations and their supporters spanning disciplines and decades,” said Margaret Vanderhye, the commission’s executive director.

Commissioner Jo Hodgin added, “These awardees carry the banner for countless arts workers and supporters who use the arts to build a strong Virginia. We believe the arts are essential for a creative 21st-century workforce, economically dynamic communities and a culture based on wellness and accessibility.”

“I am very pleased to be moving GRACE forward on its vision to elevate the arts in the area by showcasing local and regional artists alongside artists of national and international reputations. We will continue to contribute and grow our importance and relevance in the Commonwealth and D.C. Metropolitan region,” Siegel said.

GRACE was founded in 1974. From its current headquarters at Reston Town Center, the organization hosts exhibitions, educational programming and special events year-round, including the annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival.

Currently, an exhibition of the photography of Sue Wrbican, entitled “Well Past the Echo,” is on display at GRACE through Nov. 18.

GRACE is located at Reston Town Center at 12001 Market St., suite 103. Visit the organization online.

Image: (Left to right) Governor Terry McAuliffe, GRACE Board Chair Robert Goudie, VCA Executive Director Margaret Vanderhye, and GRACE Executive Director and Curator Lily Siegel. Photo credit: Michaele White

by Dave Emke September 25, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

County Meeting on PRC Zoning Ordinance Amendment Tonight — Supervisor Cathy Hudgins and staff from Fairfax County’s Department of Planning & Zoning will host a community meeting tonight at 7 p.m. in the cafeteria at Lake Anne Elementary School (11510 North Shore Drive). They will discuss a proposed zoning ordinance amendment that would increase the cap on density in Reston’s Planned Residential Community, among other changes. [Reston Now]

SLHS Football Suffers First Loss of Season — The Seahawks were upset Friday night by the Centreville Wildcats, 30-14. Statistical leaders for SLHS included running back Spencer Alston (6 carries for 58 yards, 3 catches for 35 yards, 1 TD); running back Albert Mensah (13 carries for 29 yards); and punter Evan Matthes (56.3-yard average on 4 punts). South Lakes is now 4-1 on the season and next plays Oct. 6, homecoming, against Langley. [South Lakes Athletics]

Fairfax County Home Prices Rise — County home prices were up $20,000 in August compared to the same month last year. The median sale prices in August 2017 was $505,000. [Reston Patch]

Car Tax Due Date Coming Up — The deadline for vehicle owners to pay their bill is Thursday, Oct. 5, and residents are being reminded not to wait until the last minute. [Fairfax County]

Reston Man Named to State Commission — Khurrum H. Khan of Reston, president of OurKare of Herndon, has been appointed by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to Virginia’s Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders Commission. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

Herndon Officer Participates in ‘Rodeo’ — Senior Police Officer Ron Eicke participated in the recent Mid-Atlantic Police Rodeo, along with other police representatives from across the region. [Herndon Police/Facebook]

by Dave Emke September 14, 2017 at 9:00 am 3 Comments

Lake Anne Concert Series Ends Tonight — The “Take A Break” concert series at Lake Anne Plaza will wrap up tonight with a show from Texas Chainsaw Horns, an R&B group, from 7-9 p.m. [Lake Anne Plaza]

Reston Association Budget Meeting Tonight — Sridhar Ganesan, treasurer and RA Board at-large director, will facilitate a budget-development community meeting tonight from 7-9 p.m. at Reston Association headquarters (12001 Sunrise Valley Drive). According to information provided by Reston Association, members “are invited to share their thoughts and comments on issues related to next year’s budget.” [Reston Now]

Meeting on Fairfax County Parkway Trail Crossing Tonight — The County Department of Transportation has slated a community meeting to discuss options for improving safety at a trail crossing of a Dulles Toll Road ramp. The meeting is tonight from 6:30-8 p.m. in the cafeteria of Dogwood Elementary School (12300 Glade Drive). [Reston Now]

Changes Coming to South Lakes Bus Route — To address crowding associated with South Lakes High School ridership, Fairfax Connector will shorten headways on some afternoon trips on Route 551 beginning Sept. 30. [Fairfax Connector]

2017 Virginia Tax Amnesty Program Begins — Until Nov. 14, delinquent individual and business taxpayers can pay back taxes with no penalties and half the interest. [Gov. Terry McAuliffe]

No More ‘Wiley’-Reston East? — In a tweet responding to a rider’s question, Metrorail says it is “exploring ways” to fix automated voice announcements that mispronounce the name of the Wiehle-Reston East Metro station. [Metrorail Info/Twitter]

File photo courtesy Karen Raffel

by Dave Emke September 5, 2017 at 2:45 pm 45 Comments

An announcement Tuesday morning from the Trump Administration that it will be ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) immigration policy has elicited spirited response from Virginia’s Democratic delegation in Congress.

DACA, implemented by President Barack Obama in 2012, allows nearly 800,000 undocumented immigrants living in the United States to apply for renewable two-year visas. It is available to individuals who arrived in the United States before the year 2007 who were under the age of 16 at the time of arrival and under the age of 31 at the time of implementation.

Attorney General Jeff Sessions made the announcement Tuesday morning on behalf of the Administration. Afterward, both of Virginia’s senators released statements of outrage on their Twitter accounts. Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.) says the decision is “heartless.”

The DREAM (Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors) Act has been introduced several times in Congress in recent years. The current version was introduced in July by Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). It would institute a multi-phase process for qualifying alien minors (so-called “DREAMers”) in the United States that would first grant conditional residency and, upon meeting further qualifications, permanent residency.

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), in his statement, said DACA is a “promise” that has allowed children of undocumented immigrants to “realize their full potential.”

In a statement released following Sessions’ remarks, President Donald Trump said DACA has “helped spur a humanitarian crisis — the massive surge of unaccompanied minors from Central America including, in some cases, young people who would become members of violent gangs throughout our country, such as MS-13.”

The decades-long failure of Washington, D.C. to enforce federal immigration law has had both predictable and tragic consequences: lower wages and higher unemployment for American workers, substantial burdens on local schools and hospitals, the illicit entry of dangerous drugs and criminal cartels, and many billions of dollars a year in costs paid for by U.S. taxpayers. Yet few in Washington expressed any compassion for the millions of Americans victimized by this unfair system. Before we ask what is fair to illegal immigrants, we must also ask what is fair to American families, students, taxpayers, and jobseekers.

(more…)

by Dave Emke September 5, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

County Water Rescue Team Coming Home — The 14 members of Fairfax County’s Task Force 1 water rescue crew are on their way home after helping flood rescue efforts in the Houston area following Hurricane Harvey. The team is expected to arrive home later this afternoon. [Fairfax County Fire and Rescue]

SLHS Football Shuts Out Falls Church — The Seahawks improved to 2-0 on the season last Friday with a big 42-0 win over the Falls Church Jaguars. Statistical leaders included QB Devin Miles (9-13, 193 yards, 3 TDs), RB Spencer Alston (2 carries, 49 yards; 4 catches, 145 yards, 3 TDs), RB Albert Mensah (13 carries, 153 yards), DB Joseph Dagbe (8 tackles) and LB Chris Logan (2 sacks). The Seahawks next play Friday night at Oakton. [South Lakes Athletics]

FCPD Again Reminds of Vehicle Thefts — Due to an increase in cases of thefts from vehicles in the county, the Fairfax County Police Department is continuing to remind residents to lock their doors and to not leave valuables in plain sight. [Fairfax County Police Department/Twitter]

Back to School Nights This Week — South Lakes High School’s parent orientation night from 6:30-8:30 p.m. tonight, and parents of seniors will have an information night at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Meanwhile, Parents of Herndon High students are invited to attend the HHS back-to-school night from 6:30-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, with pre-event activities will beginning at 5:30 p.m. [South Lakes High School/Herndon High School]

Reston Woman Re-Appointed to State Nursing Board — Louise E. Hershkowitz, a retired certified registered nurse anesthetist, has been named by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to another term on the state’s Board of Nursing. She was first added to the board in 2013 by then-Gov. Robert McDonnell. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

by Kalina Newman July 21, 2017 at 9:00 am 12 Comments

Lake Anne Brew House Earns Best Brewery Spot — Determined by the results of the Virginia Craft Brewers Cup, Lake Anne Brew House is one of three breweries that have shared the title of Best Brewery from Virginia Craft Beer magazine. [Virginia Craft Beer]

Gillespie, Northam Confirmed for Debate — The two gubernatorial candidates will participate a debate in Tysons on Sept. 19, hosted by the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Chuck Todd of NBC’s “Meet the Press” will moderate. [NOVA Chamber]

Former Clyde’s Chef Now in Charlottesville — Patrick Carroll, who formerly served as executive chef with Clyde’s of Reston, has been tapped as the new executive chef at Three Notch’d Brewing Company in Charlottesville. The craft brewer is investing nearly $3 million to expand its restaurant. [Gov. Terry McAuliffe]

Terry McAuliffe on ‘The Daily Show’ — The Virginia governor was on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” earlier this week, talking about how he challenged the Trump Administration’s voter fraud commission. He also weighed in on the GOP’s effort to repeal Obamacare. [The Daily Show]

Suspected Child Predator Nabbed — Jerberth Adallir Palma, 43, of Springfield, was arrested July 13 by Fairfax County Police and charged with numerous sex crimes against children. Detectives believe there might be other victims.  [Fairfax County Police Department]

by Katherine Berko July 11, 2017 at 5:00 pm 7 Comments

A state grant will foot half of the $14,590 bill for a recent hazard analysis of Lake Anne Dam.

A $7,295 grant from the Virginia Resources Authority will be put toward the evaluation, which was completed by consulting engineers GKY & Associates. Reston Association helped bring this grant to fruition.

RA says that prior to seeking the grant money, it had three potential construction solutions to bring the dam into compliance with state regulations, which would have cost between $2 million and $4 million. But according to RA:

Additional and more recent guidance provided by the state allows for evaluating certain aspects of the dam, including the spillway capacity and downstream impacts. RA opted to pursue an evaluation under this new guidance, which could result in a solution without excessive costs associated with extensive renovations to the dam.

The grant is part of a decision by Gov. Terry McAuliffe to provide $1.15 million for dam safety and floor management statewide. In a press release, McAuliffe cited the importance of the grant money and how “dam failures can be tragic for families and economically devastating for communities.”

“For almost the entirety of [Lake Anne] dam’s existence, it’s been considered a significant hazard dam,” said Larry Butler, RA’s senior director for Parks, Recreation and Community.

Butler explained that over the past few years, as the state changed dam safety regulations, Lake Anne’s dam was re-classified as a high hazard dam.

“More than half of the dams receiving funding are classified as high hazard, meaning they pose the greatest risk to life and property upon failure and are a priority for the Commonwealth,” said Clyde E. Cristman, director of the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation, in the state press release.

Lake Anne was one of the dams to receive their grant as part of a 50/50 matching program. The other half of the evaluation’s cost will come from RA’s capital budget.

by Dave Emke July 11, 2017 at 4:00 pm 1 Comment

Phones get jammed during emergency situations.

It’s scary and frustrating for people trying to get in touch with loved ones — but for first responders trying to communicate with each other, it’s downright dangerous.

Tuesday, Virginia became the first state to try to amend that situation by joining the FirstNet communications network. Being developed by AT&T, it is a secured broadband network that provides fast and reliable interoperability for first responders.

“You cannot ask men and women to put on that uniform, to put their lives on the line, and not give them the tools they need to keep themselves safe,” said Gov. Terry McAuliffe during a ceremony Tuesday at FirstNet headquarters on Sunrise Valley Drive in Reston. “Today, we’re giving all those first responders the tools they need to be safe.”

McAuliffe was joined at the ceremony by fire and police chiefs from across Fairfax County, as well as by representatives of FirstNet and AT&T. T.J. Kennedy, president of FirstNet, said the network’s capacity will be built out over the next few months to allow non-AT&T users to join FirstNet as well.

According to the FirstNet website:

The FirstNet network grew out of and addresses a 9/11 Commission recommendation calling for interoperable communications for all U.S. first responders. With the FirstNet network, first responders will have access to fast, highly secure and reliable communications whenever they need them. This will help first responders stay safe while they help others during both day-to-day operations and disaster response and recovery, and when securing large events.

Richard Bowers, chief of Fairfax County Fire and Rescue, said he is proud that Virginia is the first state to be “first in, all in, to opt in” to the network.

“In the past, first responders were not able to communicate over the commercial wireless networks during significant incidents as the networks became congested and overwhelmed,” Bowers said. “As a responder to 9/11, along with many of my other colleagues that are here today… we had that very problem.”

First responders in the FirstNet network will have special SIM cards in their cellphones that will allow them to stay connected on their own dedicated system. Bowers said the network represents one of the most important transformational changes in public safety communications in decades.

“FirstNet will enhance services and save lives of our citizens and first responders,” he said. “What a key point in all of today’s information that’s being shared.”

McAuliffe, who is chair of the National Governors Association, said he is hopeful many other states will soon join the network as well.

“I do hope that my fellow governors take heed,” he said. “Leaving here today, if something were to happen, I now in my conscience know that we have done everything we possibly can to keep our first responders safe.”

by Dave Emke July 10, 2017 at 9:00 am 0

Metro Naming Rights To Be Sold? –The Metro Board’s Customer Service, Operations and Security Committee is expected to vote this week on whether to move forward with the idea of selling naming or branding rights to stations or even entire bus routes or Metro lines. Some board members believe selling naming rights could be one of the best ways to prevent another round of fare increases next year. [WTOP]

Reston Resident on Litter Board — Nicholas J. Surace of Reston has been named to the state’s Litter Control and Recycling Fund Advisory Board. The appointment is part of the governor’s work focused on finding common ground with members of both parties on issues that will build a new Virginia economy and create more jobs across the Commonwealth. [Gov. Terry McAuliffe]

First Non-Stop Flight from India to Dulles — Met with celebratory water cannons, the sold-out plane touched down at 7 a.m. Friday at Dulles. The inaugural Air India flight from Delhi was in the air for 15 hours and 20 minutes. [Loudoun Times-Mirror]

by Dave Emke June 12, 2017 at 10:15 am 4 Comments

Melissa Romano had a memorable birthday Friday.

“It’s like the best birthday party ever,” said Romano, co-owner of Lake Anne Brew House. “There’s nothing like having the governor sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to you.”

Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s visit to Lake Anne Brew House was the end of an eventful week for the nanobrewery. Monday, they were one of only two breweries in the state to be honored with three medals at the Virginia Craft Beer Cup.

McAuliffe toured the brewpub while also shaking hands and posing for photos with the crowd that had gathered for his arrival. McAuliffe gave a short stump speech on the patio, encouraging residents to participate in Tuesday’s primary election.

Romano said McAuliffe has been a good friend of the craft-brewing industry.

“He invited all of the brewery owners in Virginia to the [Governor’s] Mansion last summer, and invited us all to bring beer for the best backyard keg party ever,” she said. “He is incredibly supportive of the craft-brewing community in the state and has done great things to help get some good legislation passed that supports breweries like ours.”

McAuliffe said he is attempting to visit every craft brewery in the state. Friday’s stop at Lake Anne put him at about 75, he said. There are close to 200 breweries statewide.

“It’s hard [to get to them all] when we’re opening one or two more a week,” McAuliffe said. “[Craft breweries] help farmers, they bring tourists in — all across the state, people love craft breweries.”

by Kalina Newman June 8, 2017 at 9:00 am 8 Comments

Fairfax County School Board Makes Referendum Requests — The Fairfax County School Board is requesting a school bond referendum for $315 million be placed on the ballot for the November general election. The money in the referendum would go toward a plan for a new elementary school in the Herndon area as well as construction, renovations and other work at numerous other schools. [Fairfax County Public Schools]

Metro to Retire All 1000 and 4000 Series Railcars by July 1 — Months ahead of schedule, WMATA announced that they will retire their oldest and most unreliable metro railcars by July 1. This is to make room for the influx of newer, chicer 7000-series railcars. [WMATA]

McAuliffe Coming to Lake Anne — Gov. Terry McAuliffe is scheduled to be at Lake Anne Brew House (11424 Washington Plaza W.) at about 4:45 p.m. Friday. The governor will be honoring the brew house for its three medals in the recent Virginia Craft Beer Cup. [Lake Anne Plaza/Facebook]

Meteor Was Visible Across DC Area — A fireball that briefly lit up the sky at about 10 p.m. Tuesday was seen across the region, including in Reston. [Capital Weather Gang]

Fairfax County Government Warns Against Gas Station Scammers — Fairfax County officials say there have been 21 cases at 15 gas stations where account information has been stolen via Bluetooth and money has been robbed. The scam is new and high-tech, and there are no warning signs. [Fairfax County Government]

File photo courtesy Ryan Goff

by Dave Emke June 6, 2017 at 9:00 am 4 Comments

Reston Rider Tackling Country by Bike — Len Forkas talks about the perils of riding cross-country on a bicycle in 11 days, and about why he’s doing it again: to help raise $1 million for a children’s charity during the annual Race Across America event. [Bicycling]

Reminder: Community Center Pool Closed — The Terry L. Smith Aquatics Center is closed through Friday as soil testing is conducted around the pool. [Reston Community Center]

SLHS Team Finishes Fifth in State — Freshman Hannah Waller finished third in the 100 meters and fourth in both the 200 meters and 4×400 meter relay in leading the South Lakes High School girls team to a fifth place finish at the state track and field championship June 2-3. [Press Release]

Virginia Leaders Continue Climate-Change Fight — In reaction to President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement, both Gov. Terry McAuliffe and Attorney General Mark Herring on Monday said Virginia is joining coalitions that remain committed to the agreement. [Richmond Times-Dispatch]

by RestonNow.com May 16, 2017 at 1:30 pm 0

Gov. Terry McAuliffe’s office today issued a statement celebrating the announcement that Windward Consulting is expanding its headquarters in Herndon.

The business, which helps large organizations manage their data centers and networks, will invest $825,000 to expand its headquarters at 2291 Wood Oak Drive, creating 97 new jobs in the process. McAuliffe called this a success for Fairfax County and Virginia as a whole.

“Northern Virginia has long served as a catalyst for the booming IT sector, and Windward Consulting’s entrepreneurial success in Fairfax County is evidence that the industry continues to gain momentum,” the governor said. “We thank Windward for the addition of nearly 100 new, 21st century jobs and for being part of our ongoing efforts to diversify and build the new Virginia economy.”

The global consultancy has been in business, based in Herndon, since 1997. Sean McDermott, Windward’s founder and CEO, said the continued growth of the Dulles Technology Corridor has been instrumental in the company’s successes.

The job creation will be supported by the Virginia Economic Development Partnership’s Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

According to its website, Windward was selected in 2001 by a member of the intelligence community to bring commercial best practices to the federal government. Since, they say, Windward has “grown a significant presence within the federal government and continues to provide innovative solutions to the Department of Defense, intelligence community and other civilian agencies.”

by Del. Ken Plum April 13, 2017 at 10:15 am 15 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.

Nearly two hours of the eight-and-a-half-hour reconvened session of the House of Delegates of the General Assembly were taken up last week by speeches from retiring members and acknowledgement speeches by others about their service and achievement.

The length of the tribute time was driven in large part by the fact that eight members, all of whom are Republicans, are retiring. Heading the list is the Speaker of the House, followed by a senior member who chairs the important Courts Committee. For some, like the Speaker, the longevity of service was a key factor. Others cited family and financial concerns. Another one or two may re-appear running for another office. Legislative service that is considered part-time with a low level of remuneration but takes full-time commitment always has some turnover, but the number this year is significant.

Another factor that may have influenced some decisions is the sense of changing political winds in the Commonwealth. Never in my years of service have I gotten as many phone calls, postcards and emails as I have this year. Traditional groups have gotten re-energized, and many new groups have formed. Activism is in the air.

For me, it has been reassuring. As a progressive, I feel less like I am speaking into the wind and more like there is a force of people behind me. For years I worked on the redistricting issue almost alone and now thousands of people are contacting their legislators asking that they support redistricting reform. The public has become keenly aware of the adverse impact that gerrymandering has had on the Legislature.

The signs of change were evident in the reconvened session last week. While the House of Delegates did not respond favorably to my plea that we approve an amendment by the Governor to expand Medicaid, there was discussion by majority party leaders in the House and Senate that a new group is going to be looking at how medical services can be expanded to the poorest in our state. I continue to be amazed at the argument that leaving $40 billion on the table in federal dollars could somehow be considered “fiscally responsible.”

The majority party may have felt somewhat humbled by the fact that the Legislature upheld 40 vetoes of bills by the Governor, extending the record of his administration to 111 with none being over-ridden. Of course, a two-thirds vote is required, but in the House only a couple of deflections by Democrats would have made an over-ride possible. The vetoes by Gov. Terry McAuliffe have kept Virginia out of the news with crazy legislation that has passed in other states.

Certainly there is also an eye to November, with 77 Democrats lining up to challenge 49 Republican incumbents. As that number is reduced by primaries and conventions, it leaves hotly contested races that could dramatically change who is in charge in the House, and/or the attitude of those left in charge. Democrats have challengers to incumbents in the 17 districts held by Republicans that were won by Hillary Clinton. For those who continue to ask what they can do, there is a clear sense emerging that much can be done this year to put Virginia on a more progressive track.

by Del. Ken Plum March 9, 2017 at 10:15 am 32 Comments

Del. Ken Plum/File photoThis 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.

The best way I can describe the 2017 session of the General Assembly is to call it a mixed bag. Some good work was done for sure, but if not for the governor’s veto pen, it would have been marred by some backward legislation. Most disappointing are the missed opportunities that were not addressed in the 46-day short session.

Although budget matters are supposed to be dealt with only in the long, even-year session, there are budget adjustments that creep into the short session as well. The good news is that the Assembly passed amendments to the biennium budget to bring it back into balance from a $1.2 billion shortfall in revenue. There were reductions, but the governor proposed and the Assembly agreed to keeping 3 percent salary increases for state employees who have been without a raise for many years. Funds were provided for the state share of a 2 percent raise for teachers. Additional funds were provided to deal with the critical needs in mental health care.

Four bills were passed to deal with the opioid epidemic. They established needle exchange programs, increased access to the overdose drug naloxone, increased services to infants exposed to opioids in utero, and strengthened opioid prescription policies. Five million dollars was appropriated for permanent supportive housing for people who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless because of mental illness. A bill to require insurance companies to cover a 12-month supply of prescription birth control also passed.

Of the bills I opposed, most will be vetoed by the governor. Not only did a committee in the House defeat my bill to require universal background checks for gun purchases, but it passed several bills to make access to guns easier. The Republicans do not have the supermajority that is needed to overturn the governor’s veto of these bills. Likewise, the governor is expected to veto a bill that would prevent localities from becoming “sanctuary” zones. He has already vetoed a bill that would have denied funding to Planned Parenthood, and the House was not able to override his veto.

Despite public support for establishing an independent system to draw legislative boundary lines, my bill and several others with that goal were defeated in a House committee. Bills that passed the Senate on this issue were defeated in the same House committee. The public support for legislation that would prevent legislators from being able to pick their own voters was as strong as I have seen on an issue in recent years.

Beware that a new law passed that creates a fine of $100 for failing to drive on the right side of the road. The intent of this new law is to prevent slow drivers from driving in the left lane. Legislation that would have created a bill of rights for college student loan borrowers did not pass.

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