House Grants No Reciprocity to Senate

There were three seconds on the clock. The Siegel Center was dead quiet. The pep band had stopped playing. The only sound was the open sobbing from the House of Delegates bench as they contemplated another improbable loss to the Senate.

The free throw hit the rim and fell off to the side. The Senate grabbed the rebound and called time-out. But wait! There were no more timeouts! Alas, the game was finished and the House had triumped. 44-42.

The Perils of the "Sharing Economy"

One of the buzzwords in the General Assembly has been the "sharing economy," meaning an economy where people participate in the work force as independent contractors using their own cars, tools, houses. This concept was epitomized by Uber, which was formally legalized in Virginia in the 2015 session. It's now being extended by the "Airbnb" legislation currently pending.

Meet the Cheroenhaka

Walter Brown spent 28 years in the U.S. Army, eventually becoming a colonel. You can say he's proven his leadership skills.

When he retired from the Army, he took up a new position, as chief of Virginia's Cheroenhaka Tribe which is based in Virginia's rural Southside.

How the Lanes Were Won (I-66 Version)

Two years ago, I was visited by the new Secretary of Transportation, Aubrey Layne. He had come to talk about plans for improving I-66, the most congested highway in Virginia. He asked for my input.

My response was simple: if you’re going to widen outside the Beltway, you have to widen inside the Beltway (or “ITB”). Because you can widen I-66 all day long through western Fairfax and not help drivers who still hit the ITB bottleneck. And so it began.

How Life Resembles "War and Peace"

Here's a quick synopsis of yesterday in Richmond: I-66 tolls fast tracked. Ban on primary pledges passes. FOIA eviscerated. Land use bill delayed. Got it?

Meanwhile, on to more important things.

For the past four weeks, BBC has been broadcasting a mini-series on Leo Tolstoy's "War and Peace," which is merely the greatest novel ever written. I've watched every minute on cable and, yes, the book is better but still it was gripping.

What is it about this uniquely Russian story (or collection of stories) that is still so meaningful nearly 200 years later?

My Favorite Super Bowl memories

1. Redskins beat the Dolphins in 1983. I'm a freshman in high school, at home with my parents. I put a hand-painted sign "Honk if you Love the Hogs" at the end of our driveway. On 4th and 1, Riggins hits the hole and breaks free. I can still hear my Dad yelling "Go Big John!" When a man becomes immortal ...

2. Giants beat the Pats in 2008. I was driving back to Richmond that night, listening to the game on the radio. The Giants had no chance. Then David Tyree's miraculous catch, after Eli lobs it up. The Pats' perfect season ruined. Crocodile tears all around.

Voter Pledge Ban Clears Committee, Two off the Floor

It was a hectic day today in the State Capitol. This morning, my gas tax bill suffered a setback in Finance Committee (more on that later).

During our session "third read," when bills are debated and voted upon, I had two bills successfully voted out: SB 111 (updating Virginia's punitive damages cap) and SB 117 (the "dooring" law to protect bicyclists).

The highest profile measure was SB 686, which seeks to strip out language in Virginia's current law which allows parties to utilize a partisan pledge in the process of conducting a statewide primary.

Homegrown

Tonight I attended a reception in Arlington celebrating the premier of an HBO feature documentary, "Homegrown." It depicts the story of young Muslim-Americans who grow up in the USA and then, unfathomably, choose jihad. It also portrays the families left behind to pick up the pieces.

Governor Makes a Deal and it's the Right Thing to Do

There's no quicker way to start a fight in the State Capitol then to file a bill or make a speech on guns.

Governor McAuliffe ran for Governor as an advocate for more gun control. He's been that advocate as Governor. But he's also a pragmatist who recognizes that Second Amendment rights run deep in Virginia, and many Virginians responsibly exercise those rights.

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