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Several Bills Pass Senate As Session Draws To an End

February 22, 2013 by Contributor filed under Government, News No Comments

As things at the General Assembly slow down a bit as the session is approached its end, several bills brought forth by Senator Richard H. Black, of the 13th District, made their way through the Senate and on to the House and subcommittees.

Senate Bill 715, regarding motor vehicle titles, would allow for said titles to be transferred to a designated beneficiary upon the unfortunate death of the owner. Currently it is set up so that upon someone’s death their vehicle(s) goes to an heir or someone designated in their will. However, with this bill, people would be able to go to the DMV and designate anyone as the new title-holder of the vehicle(s) if something were to happen to them. This would be helpful considering many people do not have a will and in some cases their vehicle is the largest asset they have to give their heirs; the title will now be transferred without the hindrance and expense of probate.

Senate Joint Resolution 272 pertains to the spouses of soldiers killed in action. This Constitutional Amendment would give a Virginia state property tax exemption for the spouses of those who are killed in action. Senator Black noted, “We must not only look after the men and women serving our country; we must also care for the men, women, and families supporting those who are serving. The families of our soldiers are an equally vital part of our country’s moral.” As the only Purple Heart recipient in the General Assembly, the Senator has taken part in an array of deployments, missions, and served for over 30 years. He understands the importance of having military family affairs in order, especially if something fatal were to happen to the serviceperson while overseas. This bill would assure an exemption for the spouse indefinitely.

Senate Bill 716 would require both the Governor and the General Assembly to approve any change in ownership or general management of a Virginia Port, another of Virginia’s significant assets. Former-Governor Tim Kaine was responsible for giving away the Dulles Toll Road, thus causing current apprehension by Senator Black about selling some of Virginia’s most significant assets with little input by voters or the General Assembly. “It is concerning that people want to offer away different assets within Virginia, and even more so that they’re willing to settle for far less than such things are worth. One may not live directly near the ports, but it is necessary that everyone understand their value.”

Senate Bill 719 would better secure our voting rights by adjusting voter identification requirements, polling place procedures, and applications for absentee ballots. Citizens would no longer be able to use “soft” forms of ID, such as utility bills, bank statements, government checks or paychecks. Acceptable ID would be a voter registration card, Social Security card, driver’s license, employee photo identification, concealed handgun permit, or any other ID card as issued by the state of Virginia, the United States, or a four-year college. This bill would make it more difficult for voter fraud to occur, which has unfortunately been a common issue in recent elections. Provisions are contingent upon funding being included in a general appropriation act passed by the 2014 Session of the General Assembly.

The Session ended today, February 22.

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