Read the Bill – don’t rely on what others say
Sometimes I am contacted to tell me that I have misrepresented facts on an issue. They will cite what someone else has told them as proof of what they have read or what they want to believe. The Richmond Times-Dispatch had a story addressing an issue of whether conservatives are misinterpreting legislation that liberals have proposed. The letter writer had clearly not read the legislation. He simply wanted to change the dialogue to represent what he wanted it to be. To determine the truth is easy. Go to the Virginia General Assembly website and look up any bill. Then you can read it yourself.
Gov. Northam and the Senate Democrat Leader have assured all that they would not end the “right-to-work” policy. However, behind the scene, to their most ardent non-business supporters, they are saying that the “right-to-work” policy will be a shell of itself after this session — they will gut it. They intend to pass legislation that will erode the elements of good business in the name of supporting the workers. They have legislation that forces workers to pay for collective bargaining by the union even if one has chosen to not join the union.
Other bills would place government authority over business decisions that could force some small businesses to close and, in other situations, force some businesses to move out of state, choosing instead a more business-friendly state. Read the bills! In 2019, Virginia was named the best state to do business. This distinction has attracted prospective employers to come and hire many Virginians. Should proposals offered this year become law, it will only take a few years for opportunities for our sons and daughters to be lost.
The letter writer I referenced above was focused on the gun issue. He tried to turn the debate away from our constitutional rights and to the issue of mass shootings. He references, “unfounded fear that our government is intent on taking our weapons away from us.” I encourage him to read the bills that have been filed. He writes of “huge ammo clips that hold dozens and dozens of rounds (to facilitate mass killings …).” If he had gone to the trouble of reading Senate Bill 16, he would have seen that the bill would not only bar the sale of magazines of over seven rounds, but also make every citizen that currently owns one a criminal. This alone could trigger your right to possess a firearm to be lost.
This Year Will Be Far Different Than Years Past
Most of the Senate committee chairs will be from Northern Virginia; none will be from southern or rural Virginia. We will be challenged to have the needs of our region heard. For example, Gov. Northam wants to raise gasoline taxes to pay for road needs, mostly to address the needs of northern Virginia. He fails to respect the fact that many in our area must drive far more miles annually for our jobs and basic needs. We will be forced to pay significantly more at the pump to build new roads for the most affluent part of the state.
For the first time, more legislators were born non-Virginians than were born here. Most came for the great opportunity that Virginia’s business climate has offered them or their parents. Many do not appreciate what has made Virginia a great place to live and raise a family. It is not the sidewalk suburbs they have, but it is the friendly communities that dot the Commonwealth. It is the respect for our forebears and history, both honorable and not so honorable.
We will be in session until at least March 7. We would be honored for you to come to see the legislative process work. If you do, come by our office at the Pocahontas Building room 505. You can also let us know your thoughts on issues by emailing us at District15@ senate.virginia.gov, by mail at P. O. Box 396, Richmond, VA 23218 or by calling 804- 698-7515.
FRANK RUFF JR. serves as the 15th District senator in Virginia. He can be reached at Sen.Ruff@verizon.net, (434) 374-5129 or P.O. Box 332, Clarksville, VA 23927.