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Arlington County Civic Federation

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Arlington County Civic Federation

The Civic Voice of Arlington

DRAFT 2004 Legislative Priorities

To be considered November 11, 2003

2nd Revision

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, public transit, roads and bridges, 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.

2. Arlington County

    A. 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.

    B. Red Light Cameras. Urges the County to continue the strengthening of the Red Light Camera enabling legislation.

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. 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]

    C. 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).

    D. Red Light Camera Violations. 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.

6. Criminal Procedure

    A. 21-Day Rule. Urges elimination of the 21-day rule for consideration of potentially exculpatory.

    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

    A. Domestic Partner Benefits. Urges the General Assembly to repeal laws that prohibit private companies from offering domestic partner benefits to its employees in Virginia even though the company offers these benefits to employees in other states.

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. Health

    A. Certificate of Public Need. Opposes any attempt to reduce the scope of the Certificate of Public Need (COPN) program in the review of acute=care hospitals, ambulatory clinics, and their associated services. Opposes any attempt to exempt services or equipment from COPN review on a piece-meal basis.

    B. Regional Health Planning Agencies. Opposes any attempt to eliminate or reduce the funding level for regional health planning agencies. These agencies provide meaningful input into the COPN process and also provide the sole opportunity for significant local public representation.

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. 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.

15. 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]

16. Taxation

    A. Consumer Use Tax. Supports revision and reform 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. Supports legislation to increase the state gasoline tax with revenue devoted to transportation.

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

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

17. 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. Pedestrian Safety. Supports revising the state pedestrian crosswalk statute by striking the first sentence of section 46.2-923 that states "When crossing highways, pedestrians shall not carelessly or maliciously interfere with the orderly passage of vehicles." Section 46.2-924 should continue to state "No pedestrian shall enter or cross an intersection in disregard of approaching. traffic."

18. United States Government

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

    B. Credit Card Security. Because of the alarming increase in identity theft, urges legislation to require credit card companies to request confirmation of address change to the last known address before issuing a new or replacement credit card.

19. 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. Administration of Government, Generally

    B. Constitutional Offices. Urges the legislature to reconsider constitutional amendment HJ700 that would authorize the governing body of each county and city to decide whether there will be a treasurer or commissioner of the revenue, or both, either elected or appointed by the governing body.

5. Crimes and Offenses Generally

    B. Sexual Orientation. Supports the addition of sexual orientation to the coverage of antidiscrimination and Hate Crimes laws. (9 keep; 1 delete)

8. Discrimination and Housing

    Employment and Housing. Urges prohibition of discrimination in employment and housing on the basis of sexual orientation. (10 keep; 1 delete)

16. Taxation

    E. Local Income Tax. Opposes legislation that would allow a local income tax..(5 keep; 6 delete). Those members voting to delete wanted to see what tax reform efforts the General Assembly will endorse; others wanted to retain this provision until action has been taken.


[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.

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