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Arlington County Civic Federation

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Arlington County Civic Federation

Legislation Committee
Nancy Graham, Chair
Arlington, VA

FINAL DRAFT 2005 Legislative Priorities

To be considered November 9, 2004

Civic Federation Principles
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 public education, public transit, roads and bridges, and human services as high priorities.

1. Arlington County

Honor James B. Hunter, III. Urges the Arlington county Board to honor the long and distinguished public service contributions of former County Board member James B. Hunter, III by naming an appropriate public facility in his honor.

2. Conservation (environment)

Air Quality - Clean Smokestacks Act. Urges the legislature to adopt a Clean Smokestacks Act (similar to that of North Carolina) to reduce emissions from 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.

3. Crimes and Offenses Generally

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

B. Antidiscrimination and Hate Crimes Ordinances. Supports the addition of sexual orientation to the categories included in existing state antidiscrimination and hate crimes laws.

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).

4. Criminal Procedure

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

B. Death Penalty Moratorium. Urges state 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.

5. 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.

6. Equal Rights for All Virginians

A. Same-Gender Relationships. Urges the General Assembly to repeal the "Affirmation of Marriage Act" (HB 751)[1] passed in 2004 and supports repeal of code of Virginia section 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 and unenforceable.."

B. Insurance Benefits. Urges the General Assembly to join the other 49 states in allowing private companies to offer extension of health insurance benefits to those not related by blood or marriage. This would allow companies the option of offering domestic partner benefits and would allow insurance companies to extend health coverage options if they so choose.

C. Employment and Housing. Urges prohibition of discrimination in employment and housing on the basis of sexual orientation in a manner consistent with existing state laws.

7. Energy Conservation and Resources

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

8. 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.

C. Authority for Nurses. Supports enacting legislation to continue to expand the authority of certified advance practice nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician's assistants to write appropriate prescriptions and to practice independently or in collaboration with physicians. Such legislation would reduce costs and expand access to health care.

9. 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," and when home owners inquire about coverage but do not file a claim.

10. 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.

11. 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.

12. 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.[2]

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

E. Sales Tax Modernization. Urges the Legislature to simplify and modernize its sales tax system by adopting legislation to conform with the multistate Streamlined Sales and Use Tax Agreement (as proposed in HB 788 and SB 514). The effect of such legislation would be to adopt uniform definitions of goods and services (such as what constitutes computer software). As of 2004, 42 states are participants and 20 states have adopted conforming legislation. [3]

13. Transportation and Highway Safety.

A. Red Light Cameras. Urges the County to support legislation expanding the Red Light Camera program.

B. 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.

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."

E. 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

Addenda Items


We oppose efforts to require state institutions of higher learning to limit access for those who do not offer proof of citizenship or immigration status.

Zoning Ordinance.

Urges the county Board (1) to modify zoning ordinance provisions regarding coverage for single-family residential properties to keep the bulk of new construction more in proportion with existing neighborhood patterns, and (2) to encourage home designs to include features that are characteristic of many neighborhoods and do not adversely affect neighboring properties.


[1] HB 751 states "A civil union, partnership contract, or other arrangement between persons of the same sex purporting to bestow the privileges or obligations of marriage is prohibited. Any such civil union, partnership contract, or other arrangement entered into by persons of the same sex in another state or jurisdiction shall be void in all respects in Virginia and any and any contractual rights created thereby shall be void and unenforceable."

[2] 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.

[3] This effort was prompted by judicial decisions determining that retailers without physical presence in a given state do not have to collect sales and use tax on sales made into that state. The explosive growth of e-commerce beginning in the late 1990s increased the number of transactions that have escaped sales tax. States were losing revenue and so-called "bricks and mortar" retailers argue that they are at a competitive disadvantage to the electronic retailers because they do have to collect sales tax. The agreement does not change these rules (Federal legislation would be need) but, instead, focuses on making state sales taxes more uniform so that compliance with current rules is simplified. Project proposals include adopting more uniform definitions and procedures, more efficient administrative procedures, and new technologies to reduce the burden of tax collection. More information can be found on the project website, www.streamlinedsalestax.org.

This page was last revised on: September 21, 2004.
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