No More One Gun a Month - VA Gov. Bob McDonnell Signed It - Del. Scott Lingamfelter Put the Spin on It

Gov. Bob McDonnell




 

The Washington Post reports

 

Del. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William and sponsor of the repeal bill, said the one-handgun limit didn’t accomplish much for law enforcement.
“I think Virginians deserve effective laws, and one handgun a month has been overtaken by technology and improved background checks,” he said. “Criminals don’t go into gun stores, stand there in the bright light, hand over their driver’s license and stand there and wait for the vendor to see if they have a criminal record.”

You see, when you're a gun-rights advocate, you've got "right" on your side and you can say and do anything you like. In his lame justification of the new law, the Delegate is pretending that limiting purchases to one a month has something to do with criminals buying guns from FFL dealers.  Obviously this is not the case. What he said about criminals not standing in the light and handing over their documents has absolutely nothing to do with it.

What the law did was to limit the so-called law abiding citizens from buying more than one at a time.  Those people include criminals and traffickers who haven't been caught yet as well as straw purchasers who turn the guns they buy over to criminals immediately.  Other laws which conveniently interweave into this prohibit registration of guns and licensing of gun buyers, therefore those straw purchasers easily escape detection.

This is Virginia.  This is a backward state run by right-wing lunatics and populated by red-neck gun lovers, who, whether they're in the majority or not, are certainly more powerful and more influential than the liberal, progressive, intelligent and reasonable people of Virginia.

It's a sad story about a step backwards.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

(cross posted at Mikeb302000)

 

 

No More One Gun a Month - VA Gov. Bob McDonnell Signed It - Del. Scott Lingamfelter Put the Spin on It

Gov. Bob McDonnell




 

The Washington Post reports

 

Del. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Prince William and sponsor of the repeal bill, said the one-handgun limit didn’t accomplish much for law enforcement.
“I think Virginians deserve effective laws, and one handgun a month has been overtaken by technology and improved background checks,” he said. “Criminals don’t go into gun stores, stand there in the bright light, hand over their driver’s license and stand there and wait for the vendor to see if they have a criminal record.”

You see, when you're a gun-rights advocate, you've got "right" on your side and you can say and do anything you like. In his lame justification of the new law, the Delegate is pretending that limiting purchases to one a month has something to do with criminals buying guns from FFL dealers.  Obviously this is not the case. What he said about criminals not standing in the light and handing over their documents has absolutely nothing to do with it.

What the law did was to limit the so-called law abiding citizens from buying more than one at a time.  Those people include criminals and traffickers who haven't been caught yet as well as straw purchasers who turn the guns they buy over to criminals immediately.  Other laws which conveniently interweave into this prohibit registration of guns and licensing of gun buyers, therefore those straw purchasers easily escape detection.

This is Virginia.  This is a backward state run by right-wing lunatics and populated by red-neck gun lovers, who, whether they're in the majority or not, are certainly more powerful and more influential than the liberal, progressive, intelligent and reasonable people of Virginia.

It's a sad story about a step backwards.

What's your opinion?  Please leave a comment.

(cross posted at Mikeb302000)

 

 

Virginia Limits Abortion Coverage

Lawmakers in Virginia have approved an amendment that would ban private insurance plans from covering abortions if they participate in the commonwealth's health care exchange. Virginia thus joins at least seven other states that have passed bans on coverage of abortion in state health care exchanges. Over the weekend, Republican Governor Bob McDonnell had quietly amended a bill that outlined how Virginia would create a health exchange, inserting a provision that barring participating insurance companies from covering abortions except when the mother's life is in danger or the pregnancy is a result of rape or incest.

Under the Affordable Care Act, the states must set up health benefit exchanges by 2014, allowing individuals and small businesses to pool their buying power and choose coverage plans offered by private insurers. While Federal law prohibits Federal funding for abortions, the new law allows plans in the exchanges to cover abortions as long as they collect a separate premium from policy holders and that money is kept apart from Federal subsidies.

Increasingly however, Republican controlled legislatures are adding restrictions that would prevent insurance companies from offering any coverage of abortion. Arizona, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee passed bans last year after the federal legislation was approved, and at least 20 states are considering doing the same. 

In response to Governor McDonnell's assault on the reproductive freedom of women in the commonwealth, Tarina Keene, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Virginia said "It flies in the face of free market principles and limited government, which is what the governor always says he supports." Perhaps but we all know that when it comes to our sex lives, the GOP jettisons its so called principles.

And yet despite this rather severe restriction on reproductive freedom, religious conservatives believe that the bill does not go far enough. The Washington Post has some more background on the debate in Virginia.

Governor McDonnell is also on a bit of roll. He also restored nearly $1 million in abstinence-only educational funding that legislators had stripped out of his proposed budget and he is working to kill a proposal that would for the first time allow gay couples to adopt children in Virginia saying he thinks that the current nondiscrimination regulations are “proper,” but should not be expanded to “inhibit the very fine work some faith-based organizations are doing.”

Harsh SB1070 copycat laws on the horizon in 2011

From the Restore Fairness blog-

Following the tragic shooting in Arizona, there has been a call for greater civility and tolerance in the political and public spheres with the hope that a more reasonable path would be favored by all. However, news of  numerous states introducing legislation similar to Arizona’s harsh, anti-immigrant law, SB1070, doesn’t bode well for the new year.

On Tuesday, Mississippi passed and signed  into law SB 2179, a copy cat SB 1070 legislation that allows local law enforcement officers in Mississippi to demand proof of citizenship from drivers whom they have pulled over for traffic violations.

From the Clarion Ledger-

The bill would authorize local law enforcement officers to check a person’s immigration status if “reasonable suspicion” exists that the person may be in the country illegally during any “lawful stop, detention or arrest.

The bill’s chief backer is Sen. Joey Fillingane, a Republican in a chamber that is predominantly Democrat. Reports by the Clarion-Ledger indicate that Fillingane considers SB 2179 an improvement on SB 1070 because, according to him, SB 2179 only allows officers to inquire about a person’s citizenship status as part of a secondary search, once they have already been stopped for a different, ‘primary’ offense, such as a traffic violation. The issue remains, however, that a significant percentage of racial profiling takes place when people are stopped for minor traffic violations, during stops that are at the officer’s discretion, often without accountability on the part of the officer. Further, in addition to the ways in which this law can lead to racial profiling, it is important to note that the legislation will also cost the state additional costs of housing, transportation, and hiring experts.

Following in the footsteps of Mississippi, states like Florida, Iowa, Oregon, Nevada, Georgia, Tennessee and Kentucky are all contemplating Arizona-style immigration laws, with conservative legislatures and governors responding to the lack of federal action on immigration by taking immigration enforcement into their own hands. There are also concerns in Oklahoma, Nebraska and New Mexico, all of which are slated to usher in anti-immigration legislation.

In Virginia a group of House Republicans recently announced plans to put forward at least sixteen bills aimed at undocumented immigrants including bills that would ensure that children without documentation could not attend public schools and colleges. Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter, who is taking the lead on these bills said that state action was called for in such areas where the federal government had “completely failed.” The bills that they unveiled on Tuesday included legislation that would require authorities to check the immigration status of anyone “taken into custody,” and to ensure that the check would apply even to those who were arrested and released on bail or bond before being taken to jail. Virginia already denies driver’s licenses to undocumented immigrants and all taxpayer-paid services except those expressly required by law such as education and emergency medical care. The  laws proposed by this group seek to challenge even those by denying public education to children who are undocumented.

When questioned by the Washington Post, David B. Albo said that while this package of anti-immigrant bills was motivated by Arizona’s SB1070 law introduced in 2010, they were of the opinion that the laws they propose were moderate in comparison to SB1070 and hence had a chance at passing where SB1070 did not.

A consideration for lawmakers on laws similar to SB1070 are the costs involved. For example, the Senate Bill 6, Kentucky’s Arizona copy cat law, is estimated to cost the state $40 million a year in expenses.

According to the Lexington Herald Leader:

…..A 2008 study estimated that, if Kentucky successfully removed all of its undocumented immigrants, it would lose $1.7 billion in economic activity, $756.8 million in gross state product, and approximately 12,059 jobs. Meanwhile, Arizona’s Hotel and Lodging Association reported a combined loss of $15 million in lodging revenue due to meeting cancellations just four months after its immigration bill’s passage due to an economic boycott that was waged against the state.

Skeptics of Arizona style immigration laws are also looking at the issue purely from the point of view of business and how such laws are detrimental for the economic prosperity of the state in question. Lawmakers opposing the bills argue that states proposing such legislation are being “fiscally irresponsible.“For example, in just four months after passing SB 1070, Arizona lost an estimated $141 million in visitor spending.

While debates around the politics, efficacy, economics and constitutionality of laws such as SB 1070 continue to rage, it is easy to forget that eventually it is individuals and their families that are most adversely affected by these laws. As more states think of taking immigration enforcement into their own hands, it is important to keep in mind that when we deny due process to some and compromise their civil liberties, we compromise the human rights of all.

Learn. Share. Act. Go to restorefairness.org

 

 

 

Weekly Pulse: Judge Rules Against Health Reform, Takes Cash from Opponents

by Lindsay Beyerstein, Media Consortium blogger

The Virginia federal judge who ruled against a key component of health care reform on Monday has ties to a Republican consulting firm. Judge Henry Hudson is a co-owner of Campaign Solutions, as Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! reports.

Hudson, a President George W. Bush appointee, has earned as much as $108,000 in royalties from Campaign Solutions since 2003. A cached version of the firm’s client roster lists such vocal opponents of health reform as Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Jim DeMint (R-SC), and Olympia Snowe (R-ME), Rep. Todd Tiahrt (R-KS), the Republican National Committee and the American Medical Association.

In November, Collins and Snowe joined McConnell in signing an amicus brief to challenge the constitutionality of health care reform in a separate suit in Florida. Campaign finance records show that Campaign Solutions has also worked for Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, who is spearheading the lawsuit. Tiahrt added an amicus brief to Cuccinelli’s lawsuit.

Today, the mandate. Tomorrow, the regulatory state?

Hudson ruled that the individual mandate of health care reform is unconstitutional. The mandate stipulates that, after 2014, everyone who doesn’t already have health insurance will have to buy some or pay a small fine. The judge argues that this requirement exceeds the federal government’s power to regulate interstate commerce.

The Commerce Clause gives the federal government the power to regulate commerce between the states and international trade. Suzy Khimm of Mother Jones explains that this clause underpins the power of the federal government to regulate the economy in any way:

But the issues at stake in Cuccinelli v. Sebelius (Ken Cuccinelli is the conservative attorney general of Virginia; Katherine Sebelius is President Barack Obama’s Secretary of Health and Human Services, or HHS) are actually far broader. Hudson’s ruling doesn’t just show how the Supreme Court could gut the health law—it shows how the court could neuter the entire federal government.

Is it constitutional?

Chris Hayes of The Nation interviews Prof. Gillian Metzger, a constitutional law scholar at Columbia University, about the merits of challenges to the constitutionality of health care reform. According to Metzger, “the argument that [the mandate] is outside the commerce power is also pretty specious given the existing precedent.”

Steve Benen of the Washington Monthly accuses Judge Hudson of committing an “inexplicable error” in legal reasoning. There is a longstanding precedent that the federal government can regulate economic activity under the Commerce Clause. Hudson acknowledges this, but he maintains that this power doesn’t cover regulations of “economic inactivity” (i.e. not buying health insurance). As Benen notes, people who don’t buy insurance aren’t opting out of the market, they’re opting to let society absorb their future medical costs. Everyone who does buy insurance pays more because freeloaders coast without insurance and hope for the best.

Luckily for the Obama administration, the judge did not bar the implementation of health reform while the case works its way through the courts. The Supreme Court will ultimately hear this case. In the meantime, the federal government can continue building the infrastructure that will eventually support health care reform.

This is the third time a federal judge has ruled on the constitutionality of health care reforms and the first victory for the anti-reform contingent.

Mandatory mandate

Paul Waldman reminds TAPPED readers why the mandate is critical to any health care reform based on private insurance. With a single-payer system, you don’t need a mandate because everyone is automatically covered. A mandate only comes into play when you have to force people to buy insurance.

Without a mandate, healthy risk-takers who don’t buy insurance will starve the system of premiums while they are well and bleed the system for benefits when they get sick. Meanwhile, people who already know they’re sick will sign up in droves, and the Affordable Care Act will force insurers to accept them.  Without a mandate, the private health insurance industry would collapse and take health care reform down with it.

Is expanding Medicare the answer?

Matthew Rothschild of the Progressive argues that the legal headaches over the individual mandate illustrate why it would have been legally and procedurally easier to achieve universal health care by simply expanding Medicare to cover everyone.

At Truthout, Thom Hartmann argues universal health insurance in the form of “Medicare Part E” would spur economic growth and innovation because entrepreneurs could start businesses without worrying about how to provide health insurance for their employees.

Meanwhile, Brie Cadman reports at Change.Org, Sen. Tom Coburn (R-OK) is trying to defund health care reform by cutting funds for preventive health care. Coburn is urging his fellow Republicans to vote against a House-passed measure that would allocate $750 million for the 2011 Prevention and Public Health Fund. Cadman notes the irony of a medical doctor like Coburn, who also claims to be a fiscal conservative,  trying to scuttle funds to control preventable diseases which would otherwise cost society billions of dollars a year.

This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about health care by members of The Media Consortium. It is free to reprint. Visit the Pulse for a complete list of articles on health care reform, or follow us on Twitter. And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, environment, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit, The Mulch, and The Diaspora. This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets.

 

 

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