Bolling to push conservative package of bills
Friday, January 11, 2008
Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling proposed yesterday a strongly conservative legislative agenda that includes tougher laws against illegal immigrants and proposals to help homeowners get property tax relief.
Bolling said many of the 24 proposals arose out of a listening tour, "100 Ideas for the Future of Virginia", that he began last April.
Bolling is expected to run against Attorney General Bob McDonnell for the Republican gubernatorial nomination in 2009. McDonnell unveiled his legislative agenda on Tuesday.
One Bolling proposal would shift the burden of proof to the local government when a homeowner appeals an assessment increase of 20 percent or more. Currently, the burden of proof is on the homeowner.
Bolling also endorsed a proposed constitutional amendment that would allow localities to grant a homeowners exemption of up to 20 percent. The proposed amendment, which has bipartisan support, already has passed one session of the legislature.
On immigration, Bolling has proposed a bill that would make a federal conviction for hiring an illegal immigrant grounds for suspension of a business licensed issued by Virginia.
Bolling also wants to prohibit illegal immigrants from attending a college or university in Virginia unless they have a student visa.
Another proposal would require local law enforcement officials to notify federal officials when the local officials have arrested an illegal immigrant.
Bolling got behind a proposal that would direct 65 percent of educational spending to the classroom. Bolling said about 40 percent of Virginia's kindergarten-12th grade education budget is spent on administration. The "65 percent solution" would free more than $400 million a year for such purposes as increasing teacher pay, he said.
As he has previously said, Bolling wants to repeal the unpopular driver-infraction fees, as does Gov. Timothy M. Kaine, a Democrat.
But Bolling disagreed with Kaine's proposal to cut $275,000 in abstinence funding from the state budget. Kaine maintains the funding does not work. Conservatives, such as Bolling, say abstinence is the solution to teenage pregnancies.
Bolling said Virginia's status as the only state in which a governor cannot succeed himself should end. He said he would back a constitutional amendment that would allow a governor to seek a second, four-year term or one six-year term.
A lieutenant governor, who presides over the Senate and votes in case of a tie, can't sponsor legislation, but Bolling has secured sponsors for each of his proposals.
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