On the first day Virginia state lawmakers can file bills for the 2016 General Assembly session, Republicans in the House of Delegates introduced legislation that would ban tolls on Interstate 66 inside the D.C. Beltway and require the state to get approval from the legislature before implementing the federal Clean Power Plan.
The bill to prohibit tolling on I-66, designated House Bill 1 and patroned by Del. Jim LeMunyon, R-Fairfax, stems from a contentious campaign issue in Northern Virginia in the run-up to Election Day. LeMunyon's bill would prohibit tolling east of mile marker 67 near the Dulles Access Road exit.
House Bill 2 would give the General Assembly additional powers to oversee the implementation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's Clean Power Plan. The new legislation, patroned by Del. Israel O'Quinn, R-Washington County, would require McAuliffe to get the General Assembly's approval before moving forward with the plan in Virginia.
Republicans also filed two proposed constitutional amendments: one to allow the creation of charter schools by the Virginia Board of Education and another to add Virginia's right-to-work law to the state constitution. Both measures would still require approval by voters.
In the 2016 General Assembly session, the Republican caucus plans to focus on enshrining Virginia’s right to work tradition into the state’s constitution, push back on onerous federal regulations like Obamacare and EPA overreach, rollback on onerous state regulations, free market reforms to Virginia’s healthcare COPN laws, and a structurally balanced new two-year budget.
Legislation is also being proposed in response to recent terrorist attacks in France. The legislation will be aimed at prohibiting state agencies from assisting the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Virginia for the next two years. We have seen radicals use the refugee crisis as a means to enter other countries, and we will not allow it in Commonwealth. Virginia is a welcoming state, but our first priority is the safety of our citizens.
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