Friday, May 1, 2015

Governor McAuliffe Announces Invasions On Your Freedoms

RICHMOND – Today Governor Terry McAuliffe announced the actions he has taken on legislative items sent to his desk following the Virginia General Assembly’s consideration of his amendments during the 2015 Reconvened Session.

“As I evaluated the bills the General Assembly returned to me following the Reconvened Session, I applied the same standard I did at the conclusion of the regular session.” said Governor McAuliffe. “If I determined that the bill moved Virginia forward, I signed it. If it did not contribute to economic growth, stronger communities or a higher quality of life, I vetoed it.

“I am proud that the General Assembly adopted so many of the amendments I submitted to them and that they chose not to override any of my vetoes for the second year in a row. This session was marked by bipartisan accomplishment on issues that matter to Virginia families, and I look forward to continuing those important efforts as we work together to build a new Virginia economy.”

On April 15th the General Assembly voted to accept the Governor’s amendments to the following bills, allowing them to become law:

·         HB1275
·         HB1276
·         HB1402
·         HB1444
·         HB1457
·         HB1458
·         HB1564
·         HB1601
·         HB1612
·         HB1639
·         HB1776
·         HB1826
·         HB1833
·         HB1854
·         HB1857
·         HB1908
·         HB1917
·         HB1930
·         HB1955
·         HB2036
·         HB2062
·         HB2316
·         HB2368
·         SB675
·         SB676
·         SB712
·         SB776
·         SB848
·         SB891
·         SB1049
·         SB1052
·         SB1097
·         SB1186
·         SB1201
·         SB1232
·         SB1309
·         SB1325
·         SB1380

Today the Governor announced that he has signed the following bills, which contained amendments that the General Assembly voted not to accept:

HB 1570 (Identical to SB 1168) - HB 1570 is the omnibus child day care bill. It requires fingerprint-based background checks for licensed day care centers and family day homes. It requires employees and volunteers to notify the provider if they are convicted of a barrier crime or are the subject of a founded complaint of child abuse or neglect.  It also expands the list of barrier crimes specific to family day homes. The bill lowers to four from five the number of children unrelated to the provider who can be cared for in a family day home without a license. Local Commissioners of the Revenue must report to the Virginia Department of Social Services the names of child day or family day homes that obtain a business license.   It requires child day care centers and family day homes that provide day care services (through DSS) funded by the federal Child Care and Development Block Grant to comply with federal laws and regulations. 

HB 1702  Authorizes a federally-licensed firearms dealer to obtain a criminal history records check on an individual purchasing a firearm from the dealer’s personally-owned inventory or collection.

HB 1835 (Identical to SB 1371) Adds independent agencies of the Commonwealth to the definition of public body under the Virginia Public Procurement Act.

HB 1842  Reauthorizes tranches of Virginia Investment Partnership, an economic development incentive fund that encourages capital investments by existing Virginia businesses, and accelerates the Major Eligible Employment (MEI) grant payments to three years from six.                    

HB 1984 (Identical to SB 1196) Raises the age of mandatory retirement for judges from 70 to 73.        

HB 2070 (Identical to SB 1424) The omnibus ethics and conflict of interest reform legislation. 

HB 2125 (Identical to SB 1301) Specifies when a warrant is required for the use of unmanned aircraft systems by law enforcement.

HB 2148 (Identical to SB 1333) Includes Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) as “minority owned businesses” for DSBSD certification and VPPA purposes. 

HB 2206 (Identical to SB 1195) Revises the Special Conservators of the Peace (SCOP) regulatory program. 

HB 2286 Deals with the possession or transportation of firearms, ammunition, stun weapons, and explosives.

HB 2323 Moves certain authorities and responsibilities for state information technology management from the Secretary of Technology to the Chief Information Officer.            

SB 721 Requires agencies that have seized property for forfeiture to provide an inventory to the property owner.

SB 1193 Requires certain institutions of higher education  to include a prominent notation on the transcript of each student who has been suspended for, has been permanently dismissed for, or withdraws from an institution while under investigation for a violation of the institution’s code, rules or set of standards governing student conduct.                

SB 1195 Revises the Special Conservators of the Peace (SCOP) regulatory program. 

Today the Governor announced that he has vetoed the following bills. Each bill is accompanied by a statement from the Governor explaining his reason for veto:

SB 1066 (as well as identical HB1296)
Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto Senate Bill 1066, which prohibits a special election to fill a congressional vacancy from being held on the same day as the general election in which that office is regularly scheduled to be filled.

As written, the bill appears to create a potential conflict with Virginia Code §24.2-228.1 that requires the court to issue a writ for a special election on a general election date for certain constitutional office vacancies.  While §24.2-228.1 requires a special election to be held on the same date as a general election, the new provisions of §24.2-682, as contemplated in Senate Bill 1066, would prohibit the court from ordering a special election on the same day as a general election. 

I cannot, in good conscience, sign a bill that would create the aforementioned conflict with §24.2-228.1. 

SB 1161 (Statement Identical for HB 1879)
Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto Senate Bill 1161, which would extend both the ability to claim and to allocate the coal employment and production incentive tax credit and the allowance of the coalfield employment enhancement tax credit by two years without any meaningful reform.

In January 2012, the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (“JLARC”) published its final report, Review of the Effectiveness of Virginia Tax Preferences, Senate Document No. 4.  In JLARC’s report, it found that tax preferences collectively reduced annual taxpayers’ liability by approximately $12.5 billion.  It also found that the effectiveness of tax preferences designed to promote specific activities appeared to be mixed.  The purpose of these two tax credits was to slow the decline of coal production and employment.  Due to both coal production and coal employment declining at the same or even faster rates than predicted had the credits not been enacted, JLARC’s report concluded that the economic activity had not moved in the desired direction and that the credits had not achieved their goal.

Specifically, from 1988 until 2014, coal mine operators, electricity generators and other coal-related companies claimed more than $573 million in tax credits.  However, during the same period, the number of coal miners in Virginia has declined from 11,106 to 3,600. The extension of these tax credits without meaningful reform is inconsistent with these findings. 

Each day, I work tirelessly to build a new Virginia economy and ensure that Virginia is the number one place in which to do business.  In order to attract new jobs, I must assure business leaders that Virginia has both fair tax policies and is the best choice for employees and their families.  The effective and efficient use of revenues raised by these tax policies is an essential part of that assurance.  Given the findings of the JLARC study and the lack of meaningful reform in the face of these findings, I believe it is unwise for me to sign this legislation. Accordingly, I veto this bill.

SB 1350
Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto Senate Bill 1350, which requires general registrars to cancel the registration of any voter for whom the registrar receives notice that the voter has moved from the Commonwealth in accordance with the Driver License Compact at § 46.2-483 et seq. of the Code of Virginia.

As written, the bill is not compliant with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) requirements related to list maintenance because it requires the immediate removal of Virginia voters from registration lists prior to sufficient notice to the voter.  On March 27, 2015, I recommended line amendments to this bill for the purpose of giving general registrars the ability to comply with the NVRA and state law.  These amendments were rejected putting Virginia law in conflict with federal statute. 

I am committed to protecting the voting rights of all eligible Virginians.  Therefore,it would be imprudent for me to sign legislation that may unduly impede the rights of Virginia citizens to vote.  Accordingly, I veto this bill.

SB 965 (Statement is identical for HB 1673)
Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto Senate Bill 965, which would significantly restrict the use of License Place Readers (LPRs) and lead to many unintended consequences affecting public safety, transportation and the efficient conduct of business in the Commonwealth.

Despite their proven success in locating stolen vehicles, identifying drivers involved in hit-and-run accidents, locating missing children and enhancing overall public safety, this bill would drastically limit the use of LPRs by law enforcement agencies. In order to use a LPR without a warrant under this legislation, agencies must prove the LPR is being used for  “known relevance” data collected that are intended for prompt evaluation and that there is suspected criminal or terrorist activity.  This provision is extremely narrow and could impede day-to-day operations.

This bill also sets a strict, seven day retention period for all data collected by LPRs.  Many localities in Virginia retain this data for 60 days to two years.  Seven days is a substantial reduction.  Additionally, law enforcement agencies demonstrate that crimes are often not reported until several weeks later.  Under this bill, essential data would not be available at the time of those reports.  This is particularly concerning when considering implications for the National Capitol Region, where cross-state collaboration and information-sharing are essential to responding to potential criminal or terrorist activity occurring near Virginia’s borders.

Furthermore, defining vehicle license plate numbers as “personal information” could dramatically impact state and local agency operations and create public confusion. State law requires that license plates be attached to the front and rear of every vehicle, and license plates must be clearly visible and legible. 

This new definition of personal information would likely prevent the live Internet transmission of video from VDOT’s traffic cameras as a violation of the state’s Government Data Collection and Dissemination Act.

The bill could potentially cripple the use of innovative, electronically-managed tolling lanes that improve the quality of life for Virginians by reducing commute times and expediting the tolling process.  These projects use cameras that record license plate numbers for billing purposes, saving travelers the time they would spend waiting in line at a toll booth.  The billing mechanism could be in violation of this legislation, eliminating the use of these time-saving travel options.

It would be unwise for me to sign legislation that could limit the tools available for legitimate law enforcement purposes and negatively impact public safety, or derail major transportation projects and jeopardize time-saving technologies that are essential to our economy, our citizens, tourism and the efficient conduct of business. Accordingly, I veto this bill.

HB 1315
Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 1315, which requires the jury commissioner to retain information obtained from those persons not qualified to serve as jurors for specific reasons and make that information available to the general registrar for that locality.  The bill also requires the general registrars to use the requested information received to identify voters who are no longer qualified to vote and to initiate list maintenance procedures pursuant to current law.

My Administration is committed to protecting the voting and civil rights of all Virginians.  I believe additional study is needed regarding the use and dissemination of the data before it becomes a permanent part of our court and election processes.  Accordingly, I veto this bill.

HB 2322
Pursuant to Article V, Section 6, of the Constitution of Virginia, I veto House Bill 2322, which allows for limited benefit plans to be offered if federal subsidies or other provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act are eliminated. 

Currently, more than 385,000 Virginians have enrolled in the Marketplace.  Eighty-four percent of those enrolled are receiving premium subsidies.  In June, the Supreme Court will decide on the lawsuit King vs. Burwell, which will determine if subsidies can be received for participation in a federally-facilitated exchange. 

House Bill 2322 presupposes that the Supreme Court will rule in favor of King and federal premium subsidies will be eliminated for the 385,000 Virginians relying on the Marketplace for coverage.  This legislation is premature and decreases the state’s flexibility and options in reaction to such decision.  Accordingly, I veto this bill.

Destroying American Freedom: but who cares?

Governor McAuliffe Says Cheese

~ Twenty Paces to Create Jobs, Introduce Apprenticeship Program and Support Next Generation of Farmers in County~

RICHMOND – Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Ewes Guys, LLC, doing business as Twenty Paces, will open operations for its new farmstead sheep and goat’s milk cheese production and processing facility in Albemarle County.  The company, which focuses on high-quality, sustainably-made products, will invest $321,000 in a facility at Bellair Farms and create seven new jobs.  In addition to producing high-end cheeses and meats for restaurants and specialty cheese retailers, Twenty Paces will ensure the transfer of farming expertise between generations through an apprenticeship program, dedicated to sharing dairy farming knowledge with the community.  The Commonwealth is partnering with Albemarle County and Twenty Paces on this project through the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development (AFID) Fund.

Speaking about the investment, Governor McAuliffe stated, “I am pleased to announce that Twenty Paces will open this new artisanal cheese production facility in Albemarle County, furthering Virginia’s reputation as a leader in the specialty food industry and helping to build the new Virginia economy.  With this announcement, we continue to realize the benefits of fully integrating agriculture and forestry into the state’s strategic economic development platform.  Supporting entrepreneurs with unique business models is another way for Virginia to grow and diversify our economy.”

With a newly renovated and expanded creamery, Twenty Paces will produce high-quality sheep and goat’s milk, as well as process, age, and distribute farmstead cheeses for a rapidly growing artisanal cheese market in the U.S.  A true entrepreneurial start-up, Twenty Paces will also produce grass-fed lamb and goat meat for restaurants and specialty food retailers in the Commonwealth and along the East Coast.  This new artisanal product will bolster Virginia’s reputation as a center for artisanal food production.  Twenty Paces will use 100% Virginia-grown sheep and goat’s milk for its products.

“Twenty Paces’ investment in this facility is the result of creative entrepreneurs engaged with a supportive community, and the partnership at Bellair Farms is a model for how new local, sustainable agriculture can work,”  said Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry Todd Haymore, who represented Governor McAuliffe at the announcement.  "It is particularly exciting to have young people interested in preserving agricultural heritage and traditions. Continuing to expand agricultural expertise throughout the Commonwealth is an important component to building the new Virginia economy, and I applaud Twenty Paces for its commitment to furthering those traditions by training apprentices at their facility.”

“Twenty Paces’ commitment to producing 100% natural, sustainably-produced artisanal cheeses benefits not only the agricultural economy of the Commonwealth, but consumers along the East Coast and beyond,” added First Lady Dorothy McAuliffe, who also attended the announcement.  “Virginia is blessed to have a diversified agricultural economy that provides fresh, wholesome commodities and food products, in addition to thousands of jobs.  I also believe that innovative agricultural operations, like Twenty Paces, will help in our mission to bridge the nutritional divide in Virginia.”

Through this investment, Twenty Paces will utilize working farmlands and an existing barn at Bellair Farms to produce its farmstead specialty cheeses, supporting the Commonwealth’s largest economic driver, agriculture.  Realizing the importance of the next generation of farmers in Virginia, the company is committed to sharing dairy farm knowledge with others in the community through its apprenticeship program. 

“Twenty Paces is honored to be recognized by Albemarle County and the Governor through this AFID grant,” said Kyle Kilduff, co-owner of Twenty Paces.  “Their support, as well as the support of Bellair Farm owner, Cynthia Davis, and farm manager, Jamie Barrett, helps ensure the success of Twenty Paces in Virginia’s growing artisanal cheese industry.  Twenty Paces is committed and proud to carry on the family farm and entrepreneurial tradition through farmstead cheese production and management-intensive grazing. These practices improve pasture, produce flavorful milk and cheese, and also lower our cost of production, allowing us to provide jobs in our community through a sustainable business model for years to come.”

The Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services partnered with Albemarle County to secure this project for Virginia.  Governor McAuliffe approved an $11,000 grant from the AFID Fund to assist with the project and Albemarle County will provide an $11,000 cash match. 

“Albemarle County is extremely pleased to partner with the Governor and Twenty Paces through this important grant program, which furthers our long standing priority of supporting the County’s agricultural heritage and economy,” said Tom Foley, Albemarle County Executive.  “We are very fortunate to have citizens of our community, like Cynthia Davis of Bellair Farms, who demonstrate personal stewardship and commitment to agriculture through efforts like placing Bellair Farms in an historic trust and starting a CSA operation.”

Speaking about the announcement, Senator Creigh Deeds, D-Bath County said, “Living in rural Virginia, I know the importance of a strong agricultural economy and appreciate the Governor’s dedication to this region’s local, small producers.  The Governor’s continued support and partnership on economic development opportunities, like the AFID grant, help communities across Virginia, and I am particularly pleased about the positive regional impact this announcement has today.”

According to a 2013 economic impact study conducted by the University of Virginia’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, agriculture and forestry are two of Virginia’s largest private industries with a combined economic impact of $70 billion annually.  Agriculture generates more than $52 billion per annum, while forestry generates more than $17 billion.  The industries also provide more than 400,000 jobs in the Commonwealth.  More information about the Weldon Cooper Center’s study can be found at

About the Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund
The AFID Fund was created during the 2012 session of the General Assembly and is being embraced by the McAuliffe Administration as an important tool in growing the Commonwealth’s agriculture and forestry sector and helping to make Virginia the leading exporter of agricultural and forest products on the East Coast.  More information about the AFID grant, which has the flexibility to assist projects large and small throughout Virginia, can be found at

Are Teachers In Gloucester, Virginia Being Paid Enough?

If you have been watching the local Board of Supervisors meeting about the present budget or watching the school board meetings, there is always a cry that the county is under funding the school board and that teachers simply are not getting the pay they deserve.

  What are the real facts about this claim?  From the looks of it: teachers are paid above a living wage.  For years it was always claimed that teachers were not being paid enough money and that what they were being paid fell below or at best was just barely a minimum living wage.  A living wage has nothing to do with minimum wages in general.  A living wage in the present economy is about $45,000.00 per year.  Anything above that level allows a better standard of living.

The present pay for teachers in Gloucester is an average of over $49,000.00 per year which is above the $45,000.00 level allowing for an above minimum living wage for their positions.  Assistant principles and principles in my view are way overpaid for their positions exceeding $86,000.00 for the average Principle here in Gloucester and above $60,000.00 for assistant principles affording comfortable living wages for these folks.  If they are not making it on those salaries, then they have serious cash management issues they personally need to address.

  School programs have all been cut to bare bones while pay for teachers, assistant principle, principles and the tremendous bloat of administrative personnel runs rampant.  It has now become more advantageous to work in the public sector than to work in the private sector.  A complete inversion of the way it used to be for well over a century.

2014 2015 Virginia Teachers Salary Report from Chuck Thompson

The above information shows where we got our numbers from used in this article.  So the next time you hear anyone complaining that teachers are not being paid enough and that the school board needs more money, you need to stop and ask a lot of questions.  Who is making the claim?  Why are they making that claim?  What is that claim based on?  How are they justifying those claims?

  When it comes to playing with numbers: anyone can play with the figures to make them say anything they want them to say.  I can always justify why I do not have enough money at anytime for any reason.   The bigger the budget the easier it is to create the claim of shortage to meet the budget.  Inflating a budget is a very easy trick to pull as well.  

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Thursday April 30th, 2015 Support Teresa Altemus Candidate For Republican Nomination BoS

If you can not read the above flyer, you can click on it and blow it up.

Teresa Altemus is running for the Republican nomination for the Board of Supervisors position for Gloucester Point.  She is running against present sitting Board of Supervisor Chris Hutson for this position.  Only one will get to run for the seat on the Republican ticket after Thursday.  So its critical to get out and vote for whichever candidate you want to see running for that seat and sitting on the Board of Supervisors for the next four years.

  After Thursday, anyone running for the Republican nomination are prevented from running as an independent later on as we understand it.  So that means if you want to see Teresa representing your interests on the BoS, then you need to come out and support her and vote for her on Thursday.  Please bring a photo ID.  Location is Achilles Elementary School in Guinea.  Registration is between 5:30 and 6:45 PM.  If you want to see Chris Hutson continue to represent you then you need to come out and support him.   

Teresa Altemus

Chris Hutson

Get out the vote!
If you fail to pick one then you have no complaint when the wrong one gets elected.