- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 5, 2002

RICHMOND Virginians would see a noticeable spike in the fees they pay for yearly state inspections, emissions tests and registration for their vehicles under proposals that some lawmakers liken to raising taxes.
Under two separate bills sponsored by Delegates Vincent F. Callahan Jr. and Robert D. "Bobby" Orrock Sr., motorists would see an increase in the fees of between $4 and $8.
The House of Delegates passed the bill on second reading yesterday. The final vote is today.
Mr. Callahan's bill calls for the state inspection fee to rise from $10 to $15 and emissions inspections from $20 to $28. Mr. Orrock's bill would add $4 to vehicle registrations, which are $26.50 for most vehicles under 4,000 pounds and $31.50 for vehicles over 4,000 pounds.
Mr. Callahan says it has been a long time since the fees for inspections and emissions were raised and inspection stations are losing money.
"The fee goes to private enterprise," said Mr. Callahan, Fairfax Republican. "It would keep up with the rate of inflation."
The last time the inspection fee was raised was in the early 1980s. Emissions inspections have been required only in Northern Virginia for seven years.
"If you look at it from the context that these fees haven't been raised in several years, it's understandable," said Justin McNaull, a spokesman with AAA Mid-Atlantic.
Delegate David B. Albo, Fairfax Republican, who voted against Mr. Callahan's bill last year, said the increase is needed so mechanics can break even.
"There is no money to be made in this," Mr. Albo said.
Mr. Orrock, Caroline Republican, said the registration fee needs to be increased to help rescue squads and other emergency services meet increased demands.
Gov. Mark R. Warner has already proposed raising vehicle-registration fees by $2 for anti-terrorism measures, which would raise $30 million over the next two years. Mr. Orrock's bill would raise about $44 million over the next two years.
Delegate Richard H. Black, Loudoun Republican, also said it was not fair to the public to jack up fees during a recession.

Parents would have to give permission for girls younger than 18 to have an abortion, under a bill that passed the House of Delegates Courts of Justice Committee.
By a 16-5 vote, the bill advanced to the floor of the Republican-controlled House, where it's expected to pass. But abortion-rights advocates say the bill, sponsored by Mr. Black, is just another attempt to limit a woman's choice.
"They are just again trying to add barrier after barrier," said Ben Greenberg, a lobbyist of Planned Parenthood of Virginia. "They are incrementally making it more and more difficult."
Mr. Black and supporters of the bill say parental rights should come first when dealing with such a sensitive issue. The bill also requires notarized permission from a parent to a doctor.
Except for the notary aspect of the bill, Mr. Black said 14 other states have similar laws requiring parental consent.
"Unfortunately, Virginia has been a little slow in protecting human life," Mr. Black said. "The language we have here has been tested."
A similar bill, sponsored by Sen. Charles J. Colgan, Manassas Democrat, is pending in the Senate Courts of Justice Committee.
If the bill passes, court challenges are likely, Mr. Black conceded. The state's parental-notification law faced a court battle.
The 1997 notification law was upheld as constitutional by the federal 4th Circuit Court of Appeals in 1998. In 1999, the U.S. Supreme Court let the appeals ruling stand.
The bill and any other legislation that restricts abortion rights may never become law because Mr. Warner, a Democrat, has said that he will "fight further efforts to chip away at a woman's right to choose."

The Courts of Justice Committee endorsed a bill requiring the state to develop guidelines for posting the Ten Commandments and portions of three other "historical texts" in public schools.
The legislation by Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter, Prince William Republican, originally applied only to the Ten Commandments. After critics raised questions about constitutionality, he amended the bill to add the nonreligious documents.
"Taken together, these four texts do not indicate a religious purpose," Mr. Lingamfelter told the committee, which voted 12-9 to send the bill to the House floor.
The bill would require the State Board of Education and the state attorney general to develop guidelines for displaying the commandments, the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and portions of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of Virginia.
"Local school boards may authorize the display of transcendent values in historical texts in a manner consistent with such guidelines," the bill says.
Michael Wolf, representing a coalition of Jewish organizations, spoke against the bill.
"We are asking you not to secularize the Ten Commandments," he said. "Many people believe the Ten Commandments are of divine origin."
He also said the commandments differ slightly from one faith to the next, and state officials would have to decide which version to use.
"Please don't get into the business of rewriting sacred text from the Bible," he said. "There is no reason to stir up this hornet's nest."
Mr. Lingamfelter said that, contrary to "cheapening the Ten Commandments," his bill would elevate them as an important underpinning of the nation's value system.

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