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McDonnell’s amendments: What made the cut, and what didn’t

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BOB'S CHANGES: About 88 percent of Gov. Bob McDonnell's amendments made it through the General Assembly this week.

BOB’S CHANGES: About 88 percent of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s amendments made it through the General Assembly this week.

ALEXANDRIA—State lawmakers worked until nearly 1 a.m. Thursday to finish handling Gov. Bob McDonnell’s amendments to bills from the 2013 session.

All in all, 88 percent of McDonnell’s 85 amendments passed through both chambers of the General Assembly. Here’s the rundown of a few amendments that made it — and that ate it.

 

 

ADOPTED AMENDMENTS:

The transportation bill (HB 2313)

After state lawmakers debated the pros and cons of the governor’s amendments to the bill that raises roughly $6 billion in taxes over the next five years for transportation, the amended bill passed the House, 64-35, and the Senate, 26-12. (That’s just a slightly more successful margin than the vote on the bill before it went to the governor — 60-40 in the House, and 25-15 in the Senate.) The governor’s amendments include lowering the annual fee on alternative vehicles from $100 to $64, and changing the language for local taxes to make it more constitutionally friendly.

Ban on abortion coverage amendment (HB 1900)

Requires that any Virginian’s health plan under a federal exchange in the Affordable Care Act not cover abortion costs, with a few exceptions. The House voted for the changes 55-37, with Delegate Bob Marshall abstaining, and the Senate voted for the changes 20-19.

Drone moratorium (SB 1331)

The bill sent to the governor outlawed the use of drones or “weaponized, unmanned aircraft” for two years by law enforcement. McDonnell’s amendments added that drones can be used for a) search and rescue operations, and b) research by universities. The amendments passed the Senate 36-4, and the House, 98-1.

Texting while driving penalties (SB 1222)

McDonnell’s amendments lowered the fines for texting while driving from the General Assembly’s proposed $500 maximum, to $250 maximum — comparable to a DUI, he said. The bill still makes texting while driving a “primary offense.” The Senate voted fro the amendments, 36-4, while the House voted for them 86-11, with Delegates Mark Keam and Jennifer McClellan abstaining.

The budget bill (HB 1500)

Members voted for this one line-by-line, so if you want to check it out, go right ahead.

 

REJECTED AMENDMENTS:

Opportunity Educational Institution or ‘School Takeover’ bill (SB 1324)

This bill creates a board that would take over any school denied accreditation for three years running. McDonnell, in a nutshell, added far more standards and requirements for the board. The House rejected the governor’s amendments 64-34, and the Senate rejected them by 25-14.

Long-term care insurance credit (HB 2047)

The bill sent to the governor repeals the tax credit for long-term care insurance premiums, but leaves in place the income tax deduction for payment of the same. The governor’s substitute, shot down by the House, 66-29, sunsets the tax credit, and keeps in place the income tax deduction. The Senate passed the amendments 40-0, but the amendments still fail.

Marina operators; includes state and local agencies (SB 1270)

The bill sent to the governor includes state and local agencies among certain operators of marinas or boat storage places that must file with the commissioner of the revenue a list of boat owners and the name and number of the boats in the marina. The House of Delegates shot down the governor’s amendments, which would have exempted state and local agencies from the criminal penalties for violating the law, 70-26, with four delegates either not voting or abstaining.

For further details on McDonnell’s amendments, go here.

— Kathryn Watson

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Kathryn Watson is an investigative reporter for Watchdog.org's Virginia Bureau. Her work has appeared in places like Drudge Report, Washington Examiner, Reason and Human Events, and she has made appearances on Fox News and NBC4. An alumna of the National Journalism Center, Katie is a member of Investigative Reporters Editors. She graduated with a journalism degree and highest honors from Biola University in L.A., where she ran the student newspaper. After college, she reported for a mid-sized newspaper in Santa Barbara, Calif. Her work has earned her "Best in Show" and two first-place awards from the Virginia Press Association.

Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau, is in no way affiliated with "The Virginia Watchdog". Any similarities between Watchdog.org Virginia Bureau and "The Virginia Watchdog" is completely coincidental and unintentional. Any inquiries into "The Virginia Watchdog" may be done through their site.

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