By Rand Paul
Obama acts as though we no longer have a Constitution
Independent voices from the TWT Communities
Proposed reforms to the way Virginia finances its highways and bridges headed for a vote by the full House and Senate this week after legislative negotiators agreed Wednesday on an $870 million annual package that represents the first overhaul of transportation funding in a generation.
Va. Gov. Bob McDonnell's transportation funding reform package was drastically rewritten Tuesday in a prickly meeting of the Senate Finance Committee, creating starkly opposing visions for overhauling highway financing system with just a dozen days left to broker a compromise.
Virginia's Senate on Tuesday defeated a proposed amendment that would have replaced Gov. Bob McDonnell's retail sales tax increase with a 5.5 percent wholesale tax on gasoline.
A Republican-dominated House subcommittee has again killed efforts to allow no-excuse absentee voting in Virginia and join 34 states that allow more early voting.
Virginia lawmakers handed Gov. Bob McDonnell a series of defeats on Monday, rejecting budget amendments made by the governor that some argued would delay the state's contribution to Phase 2 of the Dulles rail project and would have made it more difficult for state employees to receive one-time 3 percent bonuses.
Virginia localities, teachers and employee groups are urging Gov. Bob McDonnell to veto or amend what they call a slapdash, last-minute overhaul to the state's $54 billion pension fund.
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House Republicans and Senate Democrats in Virginia's General Assembly on Tuesday will submit their respective plans to redraw the lines of the state's political districts.
"Even when we disagreed, we weren't disagreeable," said Delegate S. Chris Jones, Suffolk Republican, who led the House negotiating team. "We worked very hard on an agreement and I think we've got a good package."
Mr. Jones noted that Tuesday was the final day for committees to act on revenue bills, and that delaying action on the only surviving transportation legislation would kill hopes of enacting new sources of money for highway maintenance funding.