The Virginia House, without debate and for the first time in 10 years, voted to increase the state minimum wage from $2.65 an hour to $3.65 an hour. Under the proposal, pending in the Senate, pay for a 40-hour workweek would rise from $106 to $146.
MARK YOUR CALENDARS:
This year's election schedule, when the 140 members of the General Assembly and many local officials are up for reelection, has been turned on its head by the need to redraw political boundaries to reflect the population changes of the 1990 Census. The General Assembly will take on the complex and politically charged redistricting in a special session on April 1. The plan is subject to approval by the U.S. Justice Department.
The process has pushed primary elections from June 11 to Sept. 10, and the filing deadline for the primary is Aug. 2. Nominations from parties not using direct primaries must be made from Aug. 23 to Sept. 10.
QUICK, LAUNCH A PATRIOT:
A popular restaurant near the Capitol, the Penny Lane Pub, is offering a gastronomic treat called the Scud Missile -- a bowl of chili with a beef and bean burrito plopped in the middle.
IN OTHER ACTION:
A bill by Del. Richard L. Fisher (R-Vienna) that would permit Fairfax County to hold advisory referendums was approved by the House, 62 to 32. Del. Harry J. Parrish (R-Manassas) was the only Northern Virginia delegate to oppose the measure, which is before the Senate . . . . Both chambers have approved a resolution commending former Fairfax County executive J. Hamilton Lambert, who retired Dec. 31, for his 31 years of service to the county . . . . The Senate approved and referred to the House a bill that would permit police to stop and issue a $25 ticket to anyone driving or riding in the front seat of a car who is not wearing a safety belt. Under current law, police can issue a ticket for seat belt infractions only if the car was stopped for another reason.
TO SOME, IT'S A FORM OF ART:
It seems at least once a session, Del. C. Richard Cranwell (D-Vinton) bludgeons the Richmond Times-Dispatch newspaper, or as he calls it, the Richmond Times-Disgrace.
This year, the editorial page was the target of his scorn. Thursday morning, under the headline "The State's Funny Money," the paper hailed the "fiscally responsible" House Republicans and blasted "the fiscal nightmares" that could occur under budget proposals by Gov. L. Douglas Wilder and the House's Democratic leadership.
Waving the paper aloft during the House session that afternoon, Cranwell fired back that the paper's editorial board has "become the propaganda wing of the Republican Party," and repeated one of his father's adages: "He told me, 'Son, you can win any argument when you're not shackled by the truth.' "
QUOTE OF THE WEEK:
"You're not Northern Virginians. You're Northeastern Virginians. The real Northern Virginians are from Winchester and Frederick and Warren counties," said Del. Clinton Miller (R-Shenandoah), giving his suburban Washington colleagues a lesson in state geography.
A subcommittee of the House Committee on Counties, Cities and Towns will hold a public hearing on a Senate bill that would delay for 18 months the deadline for local governments to bring their landfills into compliance with state environmental regulations. Under current law, existing landfills must be outfitted with runoff collection systems, double liners and groundwater monitoring by July 1992. The bill notes that the state has provided no money to help localities meet the regulations and pushes the deadline to Jan. 1, 1994. The hearing is scheduled at 9 a.m. tomorrow in House Room 1.
THE WILDER WATCH:
It is testimony to the likelihood of a Wilder-for-president campaign that the governor's aides, questioned about a rumor that he would announce in March, didn't offer the standard denial that he is not running. Instead, they insisted only that no date has been picked, and went on to discuss the optimum time to challenge an incumbent president on domestic issues in the midst of a popular war. Meanwhile, Wilder will practice his "New Yawk" accent next weekend, as a host to Sen. Daniel P. Moynihan at the Jefferson-Jackson Day dinner Saturday in Richmond and in a speech to black and Hispanic legislators Sunday in Albany.