Friday, January 14, 2005

More on the Virginia Family Values PAC

As expected, Thursday's issue of The Hook arrived in boxes and store lobbies around Charlottesville with a story about the Virginia Family Values PAC. Headlined "Whose values? Lefty PAC fights for families," the article by Courteney Stuart has some precious reactions from two of the PAC's targets, Delegate Dick Black and Delegate David Albo (both from Fairfax County).

Stuart reports that

Black stands behind his positions and his actions, and criticizes the group.

"Essentially they are a homosexual and abortion group that are trying to use a deceptive title," he says. "The problem with liberalism is that it rests on a foundation of sand," he adds. "Liberals are constantly running away from who they are. They don't want to say that they are for unnatural sex acts and the killing of children; they want to say they're for family values. I have no problem with someone who says what they stand for."

At the same time, Albo demonstrated the puzzlement similar to mine about his inclusion among the targets:

Told of the group and its website by a reporter, Delegate Albo expressed shock that he'd be included.

"It's so outrageously ridiculous," says Albo, who says he was aware of criticisms about his massive crime overhaul, HB 1053 but says the bill was reviewed extensively by attorneys at the Crime Commission, the Attorney General's office, Legislative Services, and in the Courts of Justice Committee.

"Not a single one could figure out what they [critics] were talking about," Albo insists.

Further, Albo's bill would retire Virginia's so-called "fornication" statute which has long criminalized non-marital sex. And Albo says he voted in support of the "morning after" pill.

"Either they're confused," says Albo, "or they're really just a front for a Democrat political action committee." After noticing a large photo of Greg Werkheiser, his future Democratic opponent in the 42nd-district on the site, Albo says he believes it's the latter.
Curiously, however, after the Virginia Family Values PAC started to get some press attention, Albo, together with Democratic Delegate Chap Petersen, introduced a bill to clarify last year's Marriage Affirmation Act (known during the last General Assembly as HB 751, a number that lives on in infamy). Here's the key section of the proposed law (HB 2490), with the additions in italics:
A civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage is prohibited. Any such civil union, partnership contract or other arrangement entered into by persons of the same sex in another state or jurisdiction shall be void in all respects in Virginia and any contractual rights created thereby shall be void and unenforceable. The provisions of this section shall not abridge the right of any person to enter into a lawful contract that pertains to the ownership or devising of joint property, the maintenance of personal health, or the protection of private assets.


On a related note, Roanoke-based libertarian writer Brian Gottstein published a column on Wednesday called "Bills before the General Assembly that could change your life." He points to several pieces of proposed legislation that will help remove the claws of government from our backs.

Among the bills he cites are:
HB 1016 - ALLOWING GROUP INSURANCE COVERAGE TO INCLUDE NON-SPOUSES - This bill will change the law from excluding to allowing insurance coverage under a group health and accident policy to be extended to any person whom the insured group member elects, provided the extension of coverage is agreed to by the insurer and the group policyholder (Ahh, the free market at work!)

The measure also allows coverage for children who are older than 19. Currently, Virginia insurance regulations forbid insurers from offering coverage to insureds’ dependents other than spouses or children under the age of 19 (or age 25 for full-time students).

Many conservatives are concerned that this is a Domestic Partner Benefits program for homosexual partners in Virginia, but it benefits more than just that group. This bill could help people who have to take care of sick parents, relatives or unrelated children. . . .

SB 736 - REDUCES ESTATE TAXES - Eliminates Virginia’s estate taxes on estates under $10 million, or closely-held businesses and working farms.

The ultimate taxation without (self-) representation, estate taxes are very large taxes that the state and federal governments collect from you after you die and can’t complain about them. Sure, you’ve already paid income taxes, property taxes, sales taxes, and many other taxes on your money and property during your lifetime, but this is one last grab from government. The taxes are due nine months after your death, and often the family business or family farm has to be sold to pay them, because your survivors don’t have the cash to cover them. Morally, estate taxes should be eliminated completely for any size estate. . . .

SB 477 - SODOMY - Provides that sodomy is not a crime where all persons are consenting adults who are not in a public place and not engaged in prostitution.

These bills have been in front of the General Assembly for years. Finally let’s get the government out of our bedrooms! Although some sexual acts may be distasteful to you, the government shouldn’t be breaking down bedroom doors to make sure consenting adults aren’t engaging in them.

HB 587 - GIVING YOU YOUR MONEY BACK - REFUND OF SURPLUS FUNDS - Requires the state to refund surplus tax revenues to taxpayers when the surplus exceeds the amount required to be deposited in the Revenue Stabilization Fund (a.k.a. “the rainy day fund") by at least $50 million.

To that list I'd add HB 826, patroned by Delegate Terrie Suit, which helps level the playing field between property owners and government "authorities" that use eminent domain to condemn property even when it is not for "public use" as traditionally defined. This bill is intended to strengthen a now-weak Virginia "Landowner's Bill of Rights."

All of these bills are worthy of consideration. If you live in Virginia, be sure to write to your state Senators and Delegates and ask them to vote for the taxpayer's interest, not the tax-absorber's interest.



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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

"Either they're confused," says Albo, "or they're really just a front for a Democrat political action committee."


Oh not at all. The VFV PAC is already looking around for Republicans to support in primaries against their targets. And in fact, this could be just what the doctor ordered for the Virginia GOP. They've been getting nuttier and nuttier over the last few years, moving farther away from real conservatism and towards something that's neither conservative nor liberal but rather just bizarre and dangerous.

As the Republican party is becoming more and more defined by crackpot legislation and leaders who is totally out of step with mainstream values, the GOP risks a major backlash at the polls. And indeed, they have already lost 4 seats to the Democrats in the past year. They need a good push back towards true conservatism. Maybe groups like VFV will do it for them. Otherwise moderate conservatives will eventually be forced to switch parties.

-J. Landers