Petersen Senate Sentinel: Super Senate Rests on Sunday

We're near the midpoint of the 2017 session. Today the chamber is quiet, after an active week on the floor. Friday was an especially active day:

First the Senate debated SB 1282, which removes local zoning authority so that private telecom providers can construct new facilities on public land at minimal cost. Here's the issue: governments owning the land historically negotiate with providers to obtain benefits like universal access. SB 1282 takes away that ability in exchange for ... nothing. I voted "no." The bill passed the Senate 21-18, but the battle is not over.

Petersen Senate Sentinel: Keeping Score in Richmond

Friends, Virginians, Citizens of Fairfax:

On Tuesday, the Senate lost one of its most treasured, honorable, and shiny members: The Massey Cancer Center trophy which is awarded to the winner of the annual House-Senate basketball game.

The House won the game 31-17. The sole redeeming moment was a late game three-point basket by yours truly, which apparently covered the spread.

When not playing hoops, we've been busy down in Richmond. Here's how my legislation is faring.

Press Release: Petersen Bill Will Ban Political Contributions From Regulated Monopolies in Virginia

RICHMOND, Va. – Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) has introduced ​last-minute ​legislation ​to​ ban political contributions from regulated monopolies.​​

In the code of Virginia, regulated monopolies are called public service corporations. A list of public service corporations can be found in § 56-1 of the Code of Virginia.

Press Release: Senate Establishes Online Video Archive Sought By Petersen

RICHMOND, Va. – Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax City) has sought to put Senate floor video online for years. This year, Petersen's dream has become reality.

"I like to call it 'we get our own YouTube' bill," Petersen said following the posting of Senate video online. "Its 2017 baby. We're on the internet!"

Petersen has submitted a budget amendment directing the Senate to put video online for years. The measure is part of his 2017 transparency agenda, which also includes bills to open up college tuition increases and elimination of a key FOIA exemption.

RTD: Va. Senate panel advances bill to raise felony larceny threshold to $500


A bill in the Senate to raise the threshold for felony larceny advanced in committee Monday. A similar bill passed the full Senate last year but was killed in a House committee.

Virginia’s threshold for felony larceny is $200, set in 1980, and is one of the lowest thresholds in the country. Amended legislation by Sen. Scott A. Surovell, D-Fairfax, and legislation from Sen. J. Chapman Petersen, D-Fairfax City, would raise the amount to $500.

RTD: Bill that might have meant millions for utility ratepayers snuffed out in Senate


During the first full week of the General Assembly session, there were few bills that held bigger potential implications for Virginians’ pocketbooks than Sen. J. Chapman Petersen’s SB1095, which was swiftly smothered Monday in the Senate’s Labor and Commerce Committee.

The bill would have tied the fate of the utility rate freeze enacted by the legislature and Gov. Terry McAuliffe in 2015 to that of the stalled Clean Power Plan pushed by former President Barack Obama’s administration to limit carbon emissions from power plants.

Petersen Senate Sentinel: Time to Get Educated

Friends, Virginians, Citizens of Fairfax:

Around here legislators love to talk about Virginia colleges and universities. Some of us even attended one. But seldom does the General Assembly intervene in the management of our universities. Usually that benign neglect is good; sometimes however it leads to abuse.

Following the discovery of UVA's $2.2 billion operating surplus last summer, we now have a critical mass of legislators interested in refocusing higher education on the basics, i.e. teaching young people.

Daily Press: Bill: End Dominion rate fix if carbon regulations fall:

By Travis Fain

Legislation due for its first hearing this week would end a partial freeze on electricity rates in Virginia if the Obama administration's new carbon regulations get thrown out.

Passed two years ago, ostensibly over concerns with looming compliance costs from the federal Clean Power Plan, Virginia's Senate Bill 1349 locked base rates for Dominion and Appalachian Power, limiting the authority state regulators have to order refunds when the regulated monopolies exceed mandated profit caps.

Media Advisory: Petersen "Refund Restoration" Bill to be Heard Monday

RICHMOND, Va. – Senator Chap Petersen's (D-Fairfax City) legislation restoring refunds to Dominion and Appalachian Power customers has been assigned a hearing date.

The legislation, SB 1095, will be heard Monday, January 16th in the Senate Commerce and Labor committee.

The committee meets 15 minutes after adjournment in Senate Room B.

Petersen's legislation, SB 1095, would repeal Senator Frank Wagner's (R-Virginia Beach) 2015 legislation that freezed electricity bill refunds for five years (SB 1349).

Petersen Senate Sentinel: Keep the Big Boys Honest (and Drain the Swamp!)

Friends, Virginians, Citizens of Fairfax:

In 1969, a young state senator from Norfolk ran for Governor on a simple slogan: "Keep the Big Boys Honest."

The target of his campaign were state-regulated utilities who held power in the halls of the General Assembly. Henry Howell did not win that race, but he made a name for himself as someone who would fight for ordinary Virginians.