- 1,000 firefighters called to battle stubborn Big Sur wildfire
- Black Friday brouhaha: Millions of Target shoppers hit by credit card theft
- Britain orders airplane to rescue citizens from violent South Sudan
- Mega Millions winner emerges as Georgia mom, in ‘disbelief’
- ‘Duck Dynasty’ Phil Robertson suspended ‘indefinitely’ for gay comments
- John Podesta eats crow: ‘I apologize to Speaker Boehner’
- U.S., China race to finish line on ‘invisibility cloak’
- Obama ‘cavalier’ in hiding foreign aid order, judge rules
- Prince Charles: Muslims are driving Christians from Mideast through persecution
- Gitmo’s first commander: Close the prison down
In Virginia, decisions on signing bills won’t be easy for Gov. Bob McDonnell
Question of the Day
Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell faces some difficult decisions when it comes time to sign bills passed during this year’s General Assembly, including whether to sign or amend a transportation bill that riled conservatives and could further alienate some members of his own party.
Mr. McDonnell, a Republican, has not said whether he will sign several marquee bills from the recently concluded session, including a two-year ban on drone aircraft and stronger voter ID laws in addition to the transportation package.
The governor could sign, veto or amend the proposals and send them back to the legislature, and analysts say that whatever options he chooses are bound to upset some party members.
Representatives for the governor say he is still reviewing all three proposals and has yet to set a timeline for a decision.
Scrutiny over Mr. McDonnell’s standing within his own party heightened this year as he urged the assembly to pass transportation legislation, culminating with an $880 million package that was approved with help from moderate Republicans and includes tax increases.
Mr. McDonnell is likely to sign some form of a transportation plan, but he has the option of revising the bill through a line-item veto. Conservative Republicans, who are criticizing the governor for breaking a pledge not to raise taxes, have particularly pressed him to strike provisions that would allow additional local sales taxes in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads.
“The bill started off as a measured approach but became bloated and they just kept adding and adding to it,” said Sen. Richard H. Black, a Loudoun Republican who said he would have opposed even a slight tax increase. “The grass-roots [Republicans] seem to be extremely angry about this. They’ve heard a lot of promises about not raising taxes.”
While conservatives are pushing for changes, political science professor Stephen J. Farnsworth said such a move might prove too risky as alterations could endanger the majority support needed for an amended plan to pass.
“The governor would be wise to bank his victories on the transportation bill,” said Mr. Farnsworth, a professor at the University of Mary Washington. “When you talk about something as carefully calibrated as this bill was, the governor would be taking a huge risk to reopen the discussion.”
Conservatives also will be watching the governor to make sure he signs the most notable conservative legislation from this session — a bill that would require voters to present photo identification at the polls.
Republicans pushed the bill, which would strengthen the nonphoto-ID requirement passed last year, even as Mr. McDonnell has expressed concerns that stricter ID laws could disenfranchise voters and open the state to possible lawsuits.
The bill would be subject to review under Section 5 of the 1965 Voting Rights Act because of Virginia’s history of discrimination at the polls. Four states have similar laws — Georgia, Indiana, Kansas and Tennessee. Mississippi, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin have approved photo ID laws that have not gone into effect because they have been challenged in court or they did not get clearance from the Justice Department.
Supporters of a photo requirement have argued that other IDs are too easy to exploit.
“Signing this bill is a no-brainer,” said Mr. Black, who sponsored the legislation. “Everybody is aware of the vulnerability. To tamper with it, I think, would be a disgrace.”
© Copyright 2013 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
David Hill joined The Washington Times in February 2011 as a Maryland political reporter. He can be reached at email@example.com.
- Md. drivers could face eventual doubling of gas tax
- Federal appeals court restores Maryland's concealed carry law
- Md. bill would end student suspensions for mimicking gun behavior
- Maryland Senate passes bill decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana
- Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell assailed on transportation
Latest Blog Entries
By Andrew P. Napolitano
Fourth Amendment says Obama is not at liberty to collect metadata
- U.S. Army mulls wiping out memory of Robert E. Lee, 'Stonewall' Jackson
- Half of America strips religion from Christmas
- Gov't wasted $30 billion on 'pillownauts,' crystal goblets -- buying human urine!
- BOLTON: Nero in the White House
- Sen. Max Baucus: Obamas choice for China ambassador
- Obama's own panel rips NSA spying on phone calls of Americans
- President gets budget win -- but only by staying out of negotiations
- Armed response, not restrictive gun laws, brought swift end to school shooting
- U.S. pilot scares off Iranians with 'Top Gun'-worthy stunt: 'You really ought to go home'
- NAPOLITANO: NSA spies pick up interference from the Constitution
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
Right-brain investing in a left-brain world. You can do it. I can help.
News and views on the Civil War.
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.
Extraordinary day at Redskins Park
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow