Shenandoah County GOP


Morning Update

Two Three quick stories to point out:

-Congressman Bob Goodlatte is just getting back from Iraq (UPDATE: his flight was delayed Monday, so all the stories were written after a teleconference) and sounds upbeat about the progress being made. SWACGirl has more.

-Delegate Todd Gilbert continues to give it to the Democrats with two barrels over transportation:

“Saslaw’s bill is probably dead in the House,” said Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock.

 “You’re not going to see that kind of consensus with Democrats in the House,” Gilbert said. “Far too many people in our body realize what a ludicrous step that would be in these times.”

And indicates that Republicans may be going back to the drawing board on their leading package, HB6055:

But the reception for the bill has been “lukewarm” amongst House Republicans, according to Gilbert.

“I think it has significantly less support in the Republican caucus than [HB] 3202 did [in 2007],” said Gilbert, who voted against the 2007 package.

-Finally, JMU professor Robert Roberts confirmed what we all thinking: that Virginia will be a battleground state this fall. Just one more reason to join us July 9th.

 

UPDATE: Todd Gilbert will headline our first July 19th Monthly Breakfast, so be sure to join us at the Mt. Jackson Denny’s at 9 a.m. 

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Gilbert Touts Legislative Successes
June 30, 2008, 8:12 pm
Filed under: General Assembly | Tags: , , ,

Given his record as a true expert on criminal law and an advocate for prosecutors and law enforcement, Delegate Gilbert may have a claim on the title of “Sheriff of the General Assembly” (if only because Glenn Weatherholtz, the GA’s only actual sheriff, retired in 2005).  Three laws the Delegate sponsored this session go into effect tomorrow (July 1st being the end of the Commonwealth’s fiscal year and the date on which almost all of Virginia’s legislation goes into effect). From the press release: 

 

  • No bail for illegal alien criminals—Persons illegally present in the United States who commit serious crimes in the Commonwealth of Virginia will be presumed to be ineligible for release on bail pending their trials. No longer will such criminals be routinely put back into the community to pose a further threat to public safety and to be at risk to flee from prosecution. This measure, first conceived and offered by Delegate Gilbert in the 2007 session of the General Assembly, was adopted by House and Senate leaders as part of the 2008 Republican legislative package on illegal immigration.
  • Mandatory minimum sentences for methamphetamine dealersHigher level dealers of the dangerous and highly addictive drug methamphetamine will face mandatory, minimum prison sentences, even for first-time offenders (at least three years for selling one ounce and at least five years for half a pound or more). This bill co-sponsored by Senator Mark Obenshain was the only new criminal law funded in the cash-strapped 2008-09 budget in order to provide for the fiscal impact of the potential increase in prison populations.
  • Elimination of parole loophole—Misdemeanor offenders sentenced to more than twelve months in jail for multiple misdemeanors will no longer be eligible for early release. Delegate Gilbert’s bill closed this loophole which eliminates the last vestiges of Virginia’s once liberal parole calculations which ensured that prisoners served only a fraction of their sentences before parole was abolished for felonies in 1995. Under the now closed loophole, many prisoners sentenced to serve more than twelve months in jail on multiple misdemeanors were actually serving less time than prisoners sentenced to less than twelve months.
  • In typical Gilbert fashion, Todd had this to say about some of his more liberal minded “colleagues:”

    “Many members of the General Assembly quickly find those areas in the legislative arena where they can best contribute. As a career Virginia prosecutor, I found that being the ‘tough on crime’ delegate is a perfect role. I am pleased to sponsor strict measures aimed at those who break the law. I am also proud to stand in the gap against my colleagues who would routinely weaken our criminal laws and vote to shorten prison sentences. I hope these new laws will go a long way toward making not only my constituents safer, but the people of Virginia as well.”

    Speaker Howell also had praise for the abilities of the sophomore legislator:

    “Todd Gilbert is a hard-working, no-nonsense and highly effective delegate.  On many important issues, Todd is out front making necessary improvements — nowhere more so than criminal justice and public safety. Because of his active leadership for law-abiding citizens and against criminals, Virginia will be a safer place to live, work and raise a family.”

    Perhaps some day soon we could seen the Delegate from Shenandoah heading up the Courts of Justice Committee (which supposedly handles more legislation than any other committee at the General Assembly)? Or perhaps we could see Gilbert in an office with a higher profile. 

    Stay tuned. 



    The Road Less Traveled….

    for the last few days, anyways.

    Sorry for not being able to keep on top of the transportation session. But here’s what we’ve got:

    *Governor Kaine’s plan is dead for the time being. The people of Virginia have dodged a major bullet here-however, it wasn’t long before the Senate Democrats decided to switch to a larger caliber. Here’s their plan:

    • Increase the general sales tax a quarter of a percent
    • Increase the sales tax on automobiles half a percent
    • and the grand finale–Increase the gas tax six cents over the next six years

    Another part of the plan would reverse the hard won legislation for earlier this year that removed VDOT’s authority to impose tolls on I-81 without the General Assembly’s authority. In Thursday’s Northern Virginia Daily, State Senator Mark Obenshain took a particularly hard line on this part of the plan.

    But Sen. Mark Obenshain, R-Harrisonburg, said he was concerned that one portion of the bill would return authority to impose tolls on Interstate 81 to the Commonwealth Transportation Board.

    Legislators approved a measure earlier this year putting the valley’s major thoroughfare off-limits for tolls for any reason unless the General Assembly specifically agreed.

    But Saslaw’s bill “seems to state the intent of the GA to give the CTB that authority to impose those tolls on Interstate 81 for additional lanes that are constructed,” Obenshain said, speaking from the floor of the Senate.

    The House Rules Committee voted Friday to send this bill to the House for a full vote. Delegate Gilbert gave us a sneak peek of which way he’s leaning on the measure:

    “What the Democrats did in the Senate today was, in my mind, unconscionable,” said Del. Todd Gilbert, R-Woodstock. “It was in complete disregard for the plight of working Virginians.

    “To ask people at a time like this to pay more for gas demonstrates that Senate Democrats really have a tin ear about the everyday needs of their constituents,” Gilbert said.

    A bright spot of the Committee’s action was to move forward a measure from Delegate Chris Saxman that would dedicate royalties and revenues from off-shore drilling off the Commonwealth’s coasts to transportation. According to SWAC Girl, that amount may be as much as $200 million over the next five decades. Bob Goodlatte, of course, has been championing this on the national level over the last few weeks. Even Newt Gingrich has been touting this through his group American Solutions, and as mentioned the potential of the Virginia bill:

    Go here to sign Newt Gingrich’s petition.

    And go here to sign the county party’s petition to say “no thanks” to the Senate Democratic plan. Be sure to contact Mark and Todd until the General Assembly goes back into session on July 9th. Their contact information can be found here.

    H/T to Suzanne Curran of American Solutions.



    At Bat: Delegate Todd Gilbert
    June 24, 2008, 2:45 pm
    Filed under: General Assembly | Tags: , , , ,

    Garren Shipley has a round up of Day One of the Special Session over at A View from The Cheap Seats. He has video from Clay Athey, Jill Vogel, as well as the entirety of the Governor’s Speech. However, the highlight for Shenandoah County residents must be this: