Yes, Virginia, Size Does Matter

Today was a really good day for our legislative staff.

We got two major pieces of legislation through the demanding Senate Courts committee:  SB 891 (strengthening the rights of subcontractors to collect through mechanic’s liens) and SB 892 (ensuring that “Good Samaritans” who report overdose situations will not be prosecuted for misdemeanors).

Later in the afternoon, in Senate General Laws, we got a significant piece of legislation passed unanimously, SB 1008, or “the Homeowner Bill of Rights” which codifies a number of important rights for HOA and condo members.  If it actually passes the full Assembly, it will be one of the first pro-consumer measures to be added to the State Code since I joined in 2001.

For my last trick — at the witching hour of 5:00 p.m — I presented SB 885, which redefines “small business” in Virginia so that it actually reflects small businesses.

What do I mean?

The current law in Virginia defines small business as one with under 25o employees or $10 million in revenue.  That pretty much counts everyone.  The Secretary of Commerce estimated that over 90% of Virginia employees work for such a business.

Because the state law is so over-inclusive, the “small business” set asides in our state programs are taken up by companies which are not small businesses — some have $30 million in annual revenue.  (Remember that being under either threshold qualifies you).  That effectively cuts out the smaller-cap companies.

As one witness stated:  Yes, Virginia, size does matter.

My bill, SB 885, simply sought to change the “or” in the law to “and,” therefore halving the number of eligible businesses.  A number of groups, including the administration, spoke for the proposal.  The business lobby pushed back, and so the bill was eventually deferred by General Laws to next week to find a potential common ground.

Regardless, it was a very good day.  I’m headed to the AFL-CIO reception at the Marriott in a few minutes, then a late night work-out at the YMCA.  Size does matter.

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Press Release: Sen. Petersen’s “Good Samaritan” Overdose Bill Passes Senate Courts Committee

RICHMOND, Va. – Senator Chap Petersen’s (D-Fairfax) bill to protect “Good Samaritans” who call 911 to report drug overdoses has passed the Senate Courts of Justice Committee in a unanimous vote.

Petersen’s legislation, SB 892, would provide an affirmative defense for individuals who take responsible measures to report an overdose, remain at the scene of the overdose until emergency services arrive, and identify themselves to the responding officer.

The legislation does not protect those who commit acts of violence, felonies, or distribute drugs.

SB 892 was brought to Senator Petersen’s attention by Professor Gerard Lawson of Virginia Tech and was supported in Committee by a coalition of organizations and individuals impacted by drug overdoses.

Statement of Senator Petersen:

“‘Good Samaritans’ who call 911 to report a drug overdose should have legal protections. I personally believe that this bill, if enacted, will save lives. I’m glad the Senate Courts of Justice Committee supports this bill.”

Statement of Professor Gerard Lawson:

“We are thrilled that the Senate Courts of Justice Committee saw the wisdom in this bill, and voted overwhelmingly to report it on to the full Senate. We are one step closer to a common sense law to save lives in Virginia. ”


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Let’s Stop Pretending “Deflate-gate” is a Real Scandal

In the unreal world of American media, there must be a national scandal at all times.   A prime subject is the NFL, whose overwhelming popularity overshadows all other sports, thus making it a 24/7 target for every social agenda.

That brings us to the New England Patriots, a team which has been uniquely successful over the past fourteen years — winning three Super Bowls and appearing in three others (including next Sunday’s).

Now the Pats are led by Tom Brady, the very prototype of a “pretty boy” NFL quarterback.  Of course, Brady is also one of the most competitive performers to ever put on a helmet.  There’s a reason he’s a 70% career winner.  His coach, Bill Belichick, has the look and personality of a medieval monk.  Somehow, he keeps putting winning teams on the field, with a bunch of guys who nobody else wants.

With that understood, let’s review the facts from last Sunday.  A couple hours before game time, the referees delivered twelve new footballs to the Patriots.  It is expected that the team will “break them in” in some manner — otherwise, why would they get them before the game?

During the first half, the Patriots used these twelve footballs on their offensive series.  After each play, the ball would be handed to the referee to spot the line of scrimmage.  Apparently, nobody noticed the balls were under-inflated — or, if they did, nobody cared enough to change the balls.  Again, the PATRIOTS were using the ball and, if they had a complaint, they didn’t say so.

At half-time, the Pats were leading 17-7.  At that time, there was a complaint from Indy — and the twelve balls were seized by the NFL.  Apparently, they were deflated by 10% or so.  A new set of balls was introduced.

Having lost their edge, the Pats struggled to a 28-0 margin in the second half. As in the first half, they mainly kept the ball on the ground and simply established physical dominance over the Indy front.  Ball game.

In my simple opinion, a ball should always be inflated (or deflated) at a pressure which is most to the liking of the offense.  Who else cares?  The defensive players are simply making tackles, rushing the passer or covering receivers.

It’s not like baseball where a doctored baseball prejudices the batter. There is no prejudice.  If you’re on defense, just make the damn tackle.

The entire investigation is a joke and the rule about ball pressure should be recognized for what it is — a meaningless regulation where none is needed.

Wisely the Colts have not participated in the “Let’s ban the Patriots from the Super Bowl” clown talk.  Please you people.  Get a life!

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