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Arlington County Civic Federation

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2003 Legislative Priorities

Adopted November 12, 2002

Civic Federation Principles

Because Arlington's population is changing rapidly, the Civic Federation adopts the following principles in order to maintain our quality of life, enhance the desirability of our community as a place to live and work, and meet future human and infrastructure needs:
  • We urge the General Assembly to revise state revenue-sharing formulas to result in more equitable funding for Arlington County government, public schools, and transportation

  • We strongly support identifying schools, mass transit, highways, and human services as high priorities in a tight budget year

1. Administration of Government, Generally

A. Requirement of Publicly Owned Industrial Facilities to Develop Environmental Management Plans. Supports legislation to develop and implement pollution-prevention plans and to establish a state office to coordinate and provide technical assistance.

B. Initiative and Referendum. Requests the Governor of Virginia to appoint a bipartisan study commission to examine and weigh the potential assets and liabilities of Initiative and Referendum in Virginia.

C. Constitutional Offices. Urges the legislature to mandate that the Commissioner of Revenue and the Treasurer's Offices in Arlington be combined into a treasurer's office. That office would be headed by a civil service employee.

2. Arlington County

Rename N. Herndon Street. Urges the Arlington County Board to rename N. Herndon Street from Key to Jackson St. to N. Hunter Street in honor of former County Board member James B. Hunter, III, with the concurrence of Herndon-street residents.

3. Authorities

Baseball Stadium Authority. Urges repeal of the Virginia Stadium Authority, Virginia Code section 15.1.227-71 and opposes use of public funds for professional sports facilities in Virginia. Supports return of professional baseball to the Nation's Capital.

4. Conservation (environment)

A. Importation of Trash. Strongly urges the Governor, the Attorney General, our Congressional delegation, and the General Assembly to continue to pursue all available avenues to prevent additional importation of trash into Virginia.[1]

B. Air Quality - Clean Smokestacks Act. Urges the legislature to adopt a Clean Smokestacks Act (similar to that of North Carolina) to clean up coal-fired power plants in Virginia by closing the existing grandfather loophole in the Clean Air Act that exempts old, dirty coal plants. This law should require every power plant in Virginia to meet the most recent pollution control standards for new pollution sources. The new standards must be met on the later of the date that is 30 years after a power plant commenced operation or the date that is 5 years after the date of the enactment of the Virginia Clean Smokestacks Act.

5. Crimes and Offenses Generally

A. Sodomy Laws. Supports repeal of the sodomy law as it applies to consenting adults.

B. Sexual Orientation. Supports the addition of sexual orientation to the coverage of antidiscrimination and Hate Crimes laws.

C. Aggressive Panhandling. Requests the legislature to authorize the Arlington County Board to adopt an ordinance to make it unlawful for any person to panhandle in an aggressive manner, to panhandle within fifteen feet of an automatic teller machine, or to panhandle from any operator of a motor vehicle while standing in a roadway median or on a travel lane.[2]

D. Handicapped Parking. Supports legislation to raise the reduced mail-in fine for parking in a handicapped space to $300 (the current fine is $500 should you go to court).

E. Red Light Cameras. Supports requiring the owner of a vehicle captured on film running a red light to be responsible for payment of the fine whether the owner or another person was driving. A defense for this crime would be providing proof that the vehicle was stolen or providing the name of the person to whom the car was entrusted.

F. Immigration Violations. Encourages the legislature to provide incentives for municipal and county police departments to participate in the U.S. Immigration and Naturalization program that allows local police to arrest and detain individuals for immigration violations.

6. Criminal Procedure

A. 21-Day Rule. Urges extension of the period for consideration of potentially exculpatory evidence in capital cases from 21 days to 3 years.

B. Death Penalty Moratorium. Urges legislation that will impose a moratorium on executions until policies are in place to minimize the risk that innocent persons will be executed and that will ensure that death-penalty cases are administered fairly and impartially.

7. Dangerous Weapons

Gun Control. Strongly supports requiring mandatory instant background checks on purchasers of all firearms at all gun shows and allowing up to seventy-two hours to complete the check if the instant check is inconclusive.

8. Discrimination and Housing

Employment and Housing. Urges prohibition of discrimination in employment and housing on the basis of sexual orientation.

9. Domestic Relations

Same-sex Marriage. Supports repeal of �20.45.5 that states, "A marriage between persons of the same sex is prohibited. Any marriage entered into by persons of the same sex in another state or jurisdiction shall be void in all respects in Virginia and any contractual rights created by such marriage shall be void and unenforceable."

10. Energy Conservation and Resources

Recycling. Urges the General Assembly to increase recycling goals from 25 to 35 percent by the year 2005 and to establish an official definition of recyclable materials.

11. Education

Standards of Learning (SOL). Urges a study by an accredited independent organization to determine if SOLs can be made a more effective measurement of student achievement.

12. Insurance

Insurance Rates. Supports a law to prohibit insurance companies from raising rates when the insured motorists in accidents are found to be not "at fault."

13. Property and Conveyances

Retention of Local Zoning Authority. Supports legislation to prohibit Commonwealth agencies from overriding local jurisdictional use plans and zoning decisions and ordinances.

14. Partnerships

Limited Partners - Access to Information. Supports legislation that would permit citizens access to names and addresses of limited partners and their financial investments or other contributions in limited partnerships which conduct business with publicly traded corporations or state or local governments of at least $10,000 annually.

15. Public Health

Ban on Smoking in Restaurants. Urges legislation extending to Arlington County the authority to ban smoking on the premises of any restaurant or other establishment open to the public in which prepared food is served for consumption on the premises. Furthermore, when such enabling legislation has been enacted, the Civic Federation urges immediate imposition of the aforementioned restriction by Arlington County.

16. State Corporation Commission

State Corporation Commission. Supports increasing the SCC's membership from three to five and encourages General Assembly members to ensure that confirmation of candidates includes full disclosure review of their qualifications and records with regard to consumer issues. [3]

17. Taxation

A. Consumer Use Tax. Supports repeal of the Consumer Use Tax.

B. Economic (Fair-Market) Rent. Recommends establishment of statewide, economic (fair-market) rent, not contract rent, as the basis for assessments of commercial property. [4]

C. Local Gasoline Tax. Supports legislation to permit Arlington County to levy a gasoline tax as can cities in Virginia.

D. Cigarette Tax. Supports authorizing Arlington County to increase the cigarette tax in a manner similar to that of cities.

E. Local Income Tax. Opposes legislation that would allow a local income tax..

F. State Tobacco Products Tax. Urges the General Assembly to adopt a tobacco products tax more in line with neighboring states.

18. Transportation and Highway Safety

A. Truck Safety. Supports measures to increase the number of officers and to strengthen penalties for violators in order to improve safety of truck operations on Virginia highways. Demands stronger enforcement of speed limits, and urges tougher requirements for commercial drivers' licenses.

B. Interstate 66. Opposes changes to I 66 inside the capital beltway unless such changes are part of a comprehensive regional transportation plan and are made with community consensus.

C. Radar-triggered Cameras. Supports enabling legislation to allow Arlington County to institute a pilot program to enforce speed limits on state and county-managed roadways through fixed radar-triggered cameras.

D. Funding Pedestrian and Bicycle Safety Projects. Urges the State Legislature to direct the Secretary of Transportation to revise facility construction guidelines of the Commonwealth Transportation Board and safety funding guidelines of the Virginia Department of Transportation to ensure appropriate consideration of pedestrian and bicycle safety projects.

19. United States Government

A. Professional Sports Facilities. Supports an end to Federal tax-exempt bonds for professional sports facilities.

B. Quiet Communities Act. Supports the reestablishment of the Office of Noise Abatement and Control in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to identify trends in noise exposure and response and to renew EPA's role in combating noise pollution. [5]

20. Water and Sewer Systems

A. Water Quality Measurements. Urges DEQ to develop and standardize methods for the measurement of contaminants in storm waters and waters that feed the Chesapeake Bay.

B. Nutrient Reduction. Encourages the Commonwealth to consider methods in addition to point source control to achieve identified nutrient reduction goals.

C. Integrity of Public Water System. Supports a Joint Legislative Audit Review Committee (JLARC) review of the integrity of the state's public drinking water supply system to identify problems and determine appropriate penalties for lack of compliance.


[1] We encourage DEQ to use appropriated funds to enforce environmental laws, including solid waste management, as intended by the legislature in 1998.

[2] Aggressive panhandling means (i) approaching, speaking to, or following a person in a manner that would cause a reasonable person to fear imminent physical injury, or the imminent commission of a criminal act upon the person or upon property in the person's immediate possession; (ii) touching another person without that person's consent; (iii) intentionally blocking or interfering by any means with the free passage of a person; or (iv) engaging in any conduct with the intention of intimidating another person into giving money or goods to any person.

[3] The State Corporation Commission regulates state corporations in the same way that the Securities and Exchange Commission regulates at the Federal level. The SCC has often been perceived as not sufficiently protective of consumer interests. The Federation believes a body as powerful as the SCC should have broader, more diverse representation than its present membership permits.

[4] Although the Virginia Supreme Court has ruled that contract rent may be used, the Federation has opposed its use because it usually lowers commercial assessments, shifting more of the real estate tax burden to homeowners.

[5] Pursuant to authorities granted under the Clean Air Act of 1970, the Noise Control Act of 1972, and the Quiet Communities Act of 1978, the Environmental Protection Agency established an Office of Noise Abatement and Control. Its responsibilities included promulgating noise emission standards, requiring product labeling, facilitating the development of low-emission products, coordinating federal noise reduction programs, assisting state and local abatement efforts, and promoting noise education and research.. However, funding for the Office of Noise Abatement and Control was terminated in 1982 and no funds have been provided since.

This page was last revised on: December 27, 2003.
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