In Session: Virginia Assembly Briefs

Nuclear Deterrence

Sen. Chap Petersen (D-34) called it the “nuclear option,” an idea floated by Sen. Richard Stuart (R-38) that the City of Alexandria should lose all state funding unless it cleans up its sewage problem by 2020. Stuart and other lawmakers expressed frustrations that Alexandria continues to dump 13 million gallons of raw sewage into the Potomac River each year without a clear plan to fix the problem.

As it turns out, the nuclear option was a good negotiating point.

Behind the scenes, Sen. Adam Ebbin (D-30) worked with Stuart to craft a compromise — Alexandria agrees to clean up the mess by 2025 in exchange for state funding. Ebbin first announced the compromise to Connection Newspapers during a Facebook Live video.

“We will have an accelerated timetable,” said Ebbin on Facebook Live. “But I expect no loss of state funds, which is super important to me, and I’m happy I was able to work that away.”

Studying Internet Loans

The Wild West of internet loans may be getting a bit tamer, although lawmakers on both sides of the aisle say there’s more they need to know about the growing trend. Over the course of the last week, members of the House and Senate both moved toward having state regulators take a look at internet companies that offer consumer finance loans over the internet. The move comes after charges that companies from across the globe and some companies affiliated with Indian tribes were evading Virginia law designed to protect consumers.

“There have been some questions raised by not the companies that this intended to regulate but the companies who are already regulated,” said Sen. Scott Surovell (D-30), who introduced the legislation on the Senate side. “The Bureau of Financial Institutions has indicated they’d like to take a deep dive into this and make some recommendations to us for next year.”

Pro Publius

Letters to the editor are one of the most-read parts of every newspaper. That’s just as true today as it was back in the summer of 1787, when newspapers were flooded with letters for and against ratification of the Constitution. Some of the letters in support were written under the pseudonym Publius became famous and are now known collectively as the Federalist Papers — a group of op-ed columns written by Alexander Hamilton, James Madison and John Jay.

This week, lawmakers in Richmond moved toward requiring that the Federalist Papers be taught in public schools. Del. Tag Greason (R-32) says he took a look at the Federalist Papers before he introduced the bill, and he says he sees some modern parallels.

“Today I would say it’s more like maybe a document you might get from a lobbyist,” said Greason. "I have this vision of Hamilton running around saying, ‘Hey have you heard about this thing, the Constitution? Here let me explain it to you. Let me explain why I support it. Let me tell you why I support it.”

Critics say public schools should also consider teaching articles written that were critical of the Constitution, which led to the creation of the first 10 amendments, better known as the Bill of Rights.

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