MEMO TO CONGRESS:
With a few exceptions, the Northern Virginia delegation split along party lines last week on a resolution asking Congress to propose a constitutional amendment protecting a woman's right to have an abortion as outlined in the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision. The resolution, introduced by Del. Leslie Byrne (D-Fairfax), passed 50 to 43, with Northern Virginia Democrats supporting the measure and Republicans opposing it. There were two exceptions: Republicans Robert K. Cunningham Sr. (Springfield) and John A. Rollison III (Woodbridge) voted for the resolution.
SOON TO BE A HOUSEHOLD NAME:
A bill to make Papilio glaucus Linne (the Tiger Swallowtail butterfly) the "official insect of the Commonwealth" flew out of the House during the weekend on a 90 to 7 vote. The bill now goes to the Senate.
It must have been a horrifying moment: L. Karen Darner (D-Arlington), who was elected to complete the late Warren Stambaugh's term, had her first bill up for a vote on the House floor. After she made her pitch, the voting board lit up in solid, bipartisan red for rejection. Gradually, the red lights switched to green, and the bill, which tightens local parking ordinances, was approved 100 to 0. Her House colleagues finished the prank with an ovation.
The House passed and sent to the Senate a resolution asking Congress to propose a constitutional amendment prohibiting desecration of the American flag . . . . The Senate passed and sent to the House a bill that would allow physical therapists to practice without the supervision of a physician or other health professional . . . . Legislation passed the Senate that would give police the authority to stop drivers who aren't using a seat belt. Current law allows such tickets to be written only if the motorist has been stopped for another reason . . . . The House approved a bill sponsored by Del. Robert E. Harris (R-Fairfax) that would require tow truck operators to notify police whenever they tow a vehicle from privately owned land . . . . A bill approved by the House and sent to the Senate would appoint a task force to study what services should be available to children exposed to drugs about the time of their births and their families.
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
"When you don't have a lot of money, you turn to turf and morals." -- Del Glenn R. Croshaw (D-Virginia Beach), explaining the popularity this year of bills involving turf wars and moral issues.
The House and Senate must finish work today on all bills introduced in both chambers and forward them to the other chamber for consideration, a process known as "crossover." Crossover for revenue and appropriation bills is Wednesday.
The Senate passed legislation aimed at avoiding the sort of controversy Gov. L. Douglas Wilder stirred last year when he refused to divulge the names of contributors to his lavish inaugural gala or say how he planned to spend profits of nearly $1 million.
After a barrage of publicity, Wilder relented and released some details about his inaugural booty. He said he plans to turn his fund into a political action committee that will spend money on state politics.
For future governors, though, disclosure may not be voluntary. Sen. Joseph V. Gartlan Jr. (D-Mount Vernon) is the sponsor of a bill that would require governors to disclose details of their inaugural funds and prohibit them from spending the money on themselves. Although Gartlan has clashed often with the administration, he says his bill -- which passed the Senate Friday on a 33-1 vote -- isn't intended as a personal shot at Wilder.
THE WILDER WATCH:
Gov. L. Douglas Wilder took his son, Larry Jr., to the White House last night as President and Mrs. Bush were hosts to the nation's governors. Wilder's two daughters, Loren and Lynn, previously had accompanied their father to White House events. While in town for the winter meeting of the National Governors Association, Wilder also was planning to visit his longtime friend, D.C. Mayor Sharon Pratt Dixon. Before leaving the District, Wilder was scheduled to appear on "Good Morning America" and a call-in show on C-SPAN. On Wednesday, as part of Black History Month, the governor will be in New York City to receive the Black History Makers Award from Associated Black Charities.