Port City Politics


Richmond, for at least 45 days a year, bustles with activity. Which is why this column, originally hailed as a monthly roundup of the Port Citys state delegation, might be making more frequent appearances for the next several weeks.


On the subject of committees, Del. David Englin (D-45) suffered a setback this week when the Committee on Finance tabled a cigarette tax bill he championed along with Del. Patrick A. Hope (D-47). Had HB 1815 been approved, smokers would have seen the tax per pack rise to $1.45.
Ex-cons on voting row?

No word as of print time whether Del. Charniele Herring (D-46)s constitutional amendment granting the General Assembly the power to restore ex-felons voting rights will see the light of day. Currently, HJ 543 is awaiting a vote in the privileges and elections committee. 

At a voting rights forum earlier this month, Herring called on supporters to make an appearance in Richmond when the amendment comes up for discussion. While she believes a show of support could make the difference, Herring also expressed doubts the proposal will get very far this year. 

Tea Party pressure has kept Republicans wary of backing the amendment, she said.


Despite the daily grind of crafting laws, debating policy and committee hearings, at least one of Alexandrias delegates has found fun in his work. Englin recounted via Twitter the cameo of falconers and their birds of prey in the lower chamber last week. 

Fun to see such beautiful raptors here in the committee room! he wrote. 

Englin even passed along a photograph of the falcons to his subscribers.

Thats not the only time the Del Ray delegate has tweeted daily highlights in the state capital. On Monday he recounted the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame induction of Tiki Barber, Johnny Newman and others, and found a minute to deliver a good comeuppance to delegates debating Armys loss to Navy over the weekend.

[David Englin] wonders if squids bragging on House floor about winning Army-Navy game recall how both did against Air Force? the U.S. Air Force Academy graduate wrote.

In a rivalry not quite on par with the Black Knights and Midshipmen, Del. Adam Ebbin (D-49) wants Republican Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli straight-jacketed from weighing in on court cases unless directed by the governor or General Assembly.

Ebbin blasted Cuccinelli for wasting taxpayer money to further his political aspirations in a statement unveiling HB 2468. 

Instead of focusing on enforcing consumer protection laws and making sure Virginia is the safest state in the country to raise a family, the attorney general is devoting taxpayer dollars and scarce government resources to pursue symbolic lawsuits and other civil actions that serve only to promote his own agenda and political career, Ebbin said.

Cuccinelli has made a name for himself adding his two cents to high-profile court cases. Among his more headline grabbing moves, Cuccinelli teamed with eight fellow attorney generals in backing Arizonas immigration law.

The bill has been referred to the Committee for Courts of Justice for the time being.