Monday, October 24, 2011

What a GOP Senate Might Mean for Virginia

Next month the Virginia General Assembly is up for re-election and the eyes of political junkies and those who care about Virginia's future are focused on who will hold control of the Virginia Senate. For those not in the know, the Democrat majority controlled Senate has been the principal bulwark against GOP/Christianst/Tea Party extremism for the last two years But for Democrat control, God only knows what further horrors would have occurred and what pet legislation of the Christofascists at The Family Foundation might have become law. Every Virginia voter who values logic, reason, separation of church and state, and equality for all citizens regardless of race, creed, national origin and sexual orientation MUST get out to the polls and vote against the GOP candidates backed by Christianist/Tea Party extremists. In the Norfolk Ghent/Larchmont area, that means it is essential to vote for Senator Ralph Northam who is being challenged by a well funded Tea Party/Christian Right challenger. The Washington Post noted recently when it announced its Senate endorsements that the Democrat controlled Senate has been the only adult in the room at the General Assembly. Here are highlights:

SINCE THE 2007 ELECTIONS, when they gained a narrow majority in the upper house of Virginia’s General Assembly, Senate Democrats have been the grown-ups in Richmond. The role was forced on them by House Republicans, who have sent over waves of reckless legislation.

Senate Democrats defeated a House attempt to force Virginia colleges and universities to allow students and faculty to carry guns on campus and a bill to repeal the state’s 20-year-old law limiting individuals to one handgun purchase a month. They killed legislation targeting illegal immigrants that would have plunged Virginia into the same bitter debates and federal litigation that have ensnared Arizona and Alabama. They rejected a bill that would have outlawed abortion in Virginia by granting fetuses legal rights and another that would have forced welfare recipients to undergo drug screenings. They halted Republican attempts to raid scarce funds for public schools and colleges.

Northern Virginia has just one sitting Republican senator, which suggests the region’s voters have found the latest generation of Republicans too extreme, partisan or divorced from state and local issues. Unfortunately, in our view, that remains the case in most of the Senate races.

Still not convinced of the extreme importance of getting to the polls and voting Democrat (even if holding your nose in the process)? Here's a compilation of some batshitery that might become the law in Virginia if the Democrats lose control of the Virginia Senate via

The House's most prolific author of anti-abortion bills, Del. Robert G. Marshall, R-Prince William, said he would celebrate a conservative Senate takeover. Among the bills he might bring back is one that would effectively end abortion by granting legal rights of personhood to fetuses.

Other bills that were dead on arrival before the current Senate could make victorious encores in a Senate run from the right. They would:

— Make it a crime for a woman to cause her own miscarriage or to coerce a young woman into having an abortion.

— Require doctors to offer to anesthetize a fetus before performing an abortion.

— Repeal Virginia's 20-year-old law limiting individuals to one handgun purchase per month.

— Allow people with permits to carry concealed handguns to take their weapons onto most any government property, including libraries, emergency shelters and parks. Colleges would also be barred from adopting firearm policies more restrictive than Virginia's, which are among the most permissive in the nation.

— Bar undocumented immigrants from enrolling in state colleges, deny public assistance to illegal immigrants, track numbers of pupils who take English as a second language and allow employers to fire employees for not speaking English.

Establish an alternative Virginia currency should the Federal Reserve collapse.

— Extend Virginia's often-used death penalty to people convicted as accomplices to murders.

— Compel drug screening for welfare recipients.

— End vaccinations required of all sixth-grade girls against a sexually transmitted virus that can cause cervical cancer later, although parents who object can already opt out their children.

My friend Senator Janet Howell rightly described what would happen to Virginia if the GOP takes control of the Virginia Senate: "Virginia would be viewed nationally as a laughingstock," Howell said. "Some of the things they want to do would be detrimental to business growth and expansion in Virginia. Our public schools would suffer, as would our human services." In truth, Virginia would find itself governed by the Christianist version of Sharia law.

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