Elections have consequences, and Virginia is about to see that in detail with the convening of the General Assembly session this week. You need look no further than some of the bills that are being filed by emboldened Democrats with an enhanced voice in Richmond. Take a read of some of the more interesting ones from the new Prince William team:
HB 254 is a bill put in by Democrat Elizabeth R. Guzman to advance what is known as “meet and confer”, a leftwing effort to move Virginia toward public labor unions, and inevitably, the ability of Virginia state workers to go on strike (the next step). It’s a direct assault on Virginia’s right-to-work laws.
It’s what you would expect of socialists.
Additionally, she has wasted no time with her “soft on crime” agenda by submitting HB 417 that would permit a person incarcerated for a felony offense to petition for a new sentencing hearing and get a new sentencing proceeding. Our courts are already very busy, but this will jam them up more (at tax-payer-expense too). Just what to expect from liberals in government.
Moving to the intrusive government department, HB 626 was introduced by Prince William Democrat Hala S. Ayala prohibiting an employer from requiring, as a condition of employment, that an employee refrain from inquiring about, discussing, or disclosing information about the employee’s own wages or about any other employee’s wages. This measure also prohibits an employer from taking retaliatory action against an employee for sharing such information. (So much for private contracts.)
Violations will be subject to a civil penalty of $100. I’m sure the local Chamber of Commerce in Prince William will be happy to see that — at long last — Ayala will get those “evil small business owners” under control. Water coolers everywhere will be the beneficiary of this one, I’d bet.
Continuing on the anti-business theme, Manassas far-left-winger Lee J. Carter filed HB 463 that requires employers to provide employees with unpaid break times for meals. Employers that violate this measure would be subject to a civil penalty. (Just got to stop those small businesses from starving their employees.) Honestly, I have NEVER had a person come to me in 16 years of state government and say, “My employer won’t let me take a lunch break.”
Nonetheless, Mr. Carter will argue that it’s a crisis of such proportion that we must put civil fines in place. And of course, Mr. Carter is finally in a place to implement his much anticipated anti-boatowner agenda with HB 465. This increases the watercraft sales and use tax rate from 2% to 4.15% and removes the $2,000 cap on the tax. That’ll show those rich boat-owners who’s boss…the Virginia Department of Taxation, that’s who! Bass fishermen unite! By the time Carter is done with you, with the cost of a boat, the license, bait, rod, and reel, bass will be $500 a pound! But at least your employer will have to give you time for lunch to go eat it.
Seriously, most of this stuff won’t pass. But for Democrats, nothing says “I love you” like higher taxes, intrusive government and less freedom. Make no mistake about it. The difference between Republicans and Democrats is now on full display in Virginia:
Republicans want to grow the economy.
Democrats want to grow the government.
And the Guzman-Ayala-Carter coalition is already at work doing just that. But this is what we get when we elect socialist ideologues eager to run your lives better than you can.
Scott Lingamfelter is a former member of the House of Delegates and a retired colonel in the U.S. Army.