Del. Van Yahres’ Assembly News

Every week, Mitch Van Yahres sends an update of what he’s been up to at the General Assembly. This week, his bill HB378, which allows cities to hold City Council elections in odd-numbered years, has passed the Senate, having already been approved by the House. Van Yahres also says that he’s going to start voting against all special interest license plates until “the Assembly can get a handle on the program.” Keep reading for his full update. I’d also be interested in getting comments from y’all as to whether we should continue to post his weekly updates on

Report from the General Assembly

Delegate Mitch Van Yahres

Friday, February 8, 2002

Every week during session I will send out an e-mail update of activity at

the General Assembly. I hope that this helps you understand some of what

is happening here. If you have any questions or issues that you would like

to see raised in this communication, e-mail me at Also, please forward this message to any

other interested parties.

* Well, today I had my first bill pass both the House and Senate.

HB378, which will allow cities to hold city council elections in the fall

of odd numbered years, sailed through the Senate this week. Benefits would

include having city elections concurrent with state elections rather than

national elections and a cost savings to the locality. The law goes into

effect in July 2002.

* HB154 is my favorite bill this year. I introduced this bill after a

local physician contacted me about the amount of medication that nursing

homes were forced to destroy when a patient’s status changed. He wondered

if there wasn’t a way to donate these unused drugs to free clinics. I

agreed and had legislation drafted. It didn’t take long before I was

getting wind of opposition. So I postponed the first committee hearing on

the bill in order to work out the kinks. Before I could get to work on it,

several individuals who opposed the bill, but liked the idea, came to see

me. They had already met together and developed language that they could

all agree on. By the time this bill got to committee the following

organizations were working together: The Board of Pharmacy, Department of

Health, Department of Health Professions, Department of Medical Assistance

Services, the Virginia Pharmacy Association, Virginia Health Care

Association, Virginia Association of Non-profit Homes for the Aging, and

the Virginia Free Clinic Association. These groups are often at odds, but

this time they came together and found a way to collaborate. This bill

will not change the world, but it will help out a small part of it. In

this year’s difficult political environment, this is a great example of

government that works. HB154 passed the House today by a vote of 97-2.

* Every year more and more special license plate bills are introduced.

This year, new plates you can choose from include a plate with a picture of

a Holstein cow, one celebrating the Parrothead Club, another commemorating

the 250th anniversary of the Town of Smithfield, one bearing the legend

“Fox Hunting,” and many many others. Three of my colleagues in the House

and I have decided that the proliferation of special license plates has

gone too far and have decided to vote against all of them until the

Assembly can get a handle on the program. To date, it’s only the four of

us, but maybe someday?.

* This week the Republican-led House of Delegates today refused to

consider amendments offered by Dels. Jim Shuler (D-Blacksburg) and Karen

Darner (D-Arlington) to ensure that Virginia’s public schools are first in

line for additional revenues when the state’s economy turns around and to

add school construction and renovation to bond bills now making their way

through the General Assembly. Shuler’s amendment to HB 1284 would provide

the same amount of bond funding for public school (K-12) construction,

renovation, and upgrading — $900 million over six years ? as for new

buildings on college and university campuses. Darner’s amendment to HB

1285 would earmark future surplus revenues for a new “Education First”

fund. The current bill designates those funds only for college and park

projects listed in the Republican bond package.

* If you want to know more about these or other bills before the General

Assembly this year, try the on-line Legislative Information System. The

URL is (www is not necessary). This site will provide you

a summary of the bill, the full text of the bill, its current status,

member’s votes in committee and on the floor, and other interesting

information. I encourage you to take advantage of this great resource.

13 Responses to “Del. Van Yahres’ Assembly News”

  • You bet. Keep posting these newsletters. Del Van Yahres has a plain-spoken, no B.S., style and it’s worth knowing what he’s up to, while the legislature is in session.

    And, by the way, I agree with him on those stupid theme license plates. The state has no business getting involved with this foolishness. Just give us license plates that identify them as being from Virginia and assigning a number.

  • I agree. Post ’em. But only because it is Mitch, who is a character worthy to hold Mr. Jefferson’s chair. Other mailings from our elected representatives (known as on the national level as the “franking privilege”) tend to be self-serving.

  • you allowed Delegate Rob Bell the same. Otherwise you become just a democrat site, unbalanced and not as fair as you aspire to be.

  • Definitely post Van Yahres’ comments. You should actually lean on other local reps to use this site as an outlet for getting in touch with their constituents.

  • Somebody else made a good point: that Van Yahres’ e-mail newsletter is unusually informative. I’ve seen few other regular updates provided by representatives — I gather that it’s not particularly common — and I have no idea if Bell provides such a thing. But if he does, I wouldn’t be interested in posting it unless it were as useful as Van Yahres’ updates. I’m far more interested in providing useful information to people than giving people PR fluff in order to maintain an appearance of balancedness. :)

    Note: I posted an earlier reply to this, but it got erased (and was the only thing to be erased) when I had to revert to a database backup.

  • in your earlier reply your answer was not maybe. It was sure, I hope this is not revisionist history. Not a good stand for a canidate for the public trust.

  • in your earlier reply your answer was not maybe. It was sure, I hope this is not revisionist history. Not a good stand for a canidate for the public trust.

    Oh for chrissake, I said that I accidentally lost the comment when I reverted to an earlier version of the database. My earlier version was briefer — I think that I simply asked “does he even have a newsletter?” So I took that and expanded on it.

    If I wanted to be revisionist, I wouldn’t have acknowledged that I’d replied earlier. And I also wouldn’t set up a forum that permanently archives all of my public thoughts on every major issue and allows others to search through and read them, and call me — publicly, through that very forum — on anything that appears to be revisionist. Try and convince any other candidates to do that! ;)

  • Unless I’m mistaken, even though he’s certainly worthy to do so, Mitch doesn’t hold Jefferson’s chair – I think George Allen did, and the chain of possession seems to point to Rob Bell as the current occupant.

    As for the argument to post Bell’s messages, I agree that they should be posted if they contain relevant content, and if Mitch’s messages start to lean toward the self-serving they should be discontinued as well. I doubt they will be, however.

  • Database backup? Did something crash?

    (different Anonymous Coward)

  • Database backup? Did something crash?

    I attempted to switch the software from PHP-Nuke to PostNuke. I vastly prefer PostNuke, but I experienced some difficulties during the early-Sunday-morning operation and ended up reverting late on Sunday. Because I foolishly posted my two-like comment after making the backup but before restoring it, that single comment got lost in the shuffle.

    I have contacted the lead developer of PostNuke about some of the problems that I experienced (the big one being that anonymous users couldn’t contribute, something that I’m not interested in changing), and I’m working with him on figuring out how to simplify the upgrade path to PostNuke. PHP-Nuke is just a horrible program, and I feel bad for subjecting all of you to it, and I would like to upgrade to PostNuke as soon as I can…as long as it doesn’t break anything.

  • Calm down there, big fellow. No need to get twisted up about it. It should be noted that I believed that your first answer was more affirmative then your current statement. The revisionist history was more tongue in cheek then “J’Accuse!”. ;)

    in the future I will try to use the smiley face thingy to show that. How often does one get to accuse a progressive, Waldo, of revisionist history anyway?

  • in the future I will try to use the smiley face thingy to show that. How often does one get to accuse a progressive, Waldo, of revisionist history anyway?

    Not often. :)

    Smilies are a necessary evil, unfortunately. I don’t like ’em, but it’s the only way to indicate sarcasm, amusement, etc.

  • Although, I would think it’s crucial to hold his feet to the fire, especially when the politician controls the media outlet.

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