Excerpts from the prepared text of Gov. Mark R. Warner's State of the Commonwealth speech:
Death Penalty: Our state continues to cling to the outdated "21-day rule" that can actually prevent evidence of innocence from coming to light. No other state has such a restrictive rule. . . . I believe the rule should be changed.
In June, the Supreme Court ruled that executing persons who are mentally retarded is unconstitutional. Once again, I urge you to send me legislation to comply with the court's decision and prohibit the execution of mentally retarded persons in Virginia.
Safety: To protect the safety of travelers on our roads and highways, it's time to pass a primary seat belt law that will save lives. I have also proposed doubling fines for traffic violations in designated high-risk corridors . . . and cracking down on those who drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Transportation: We must take on the great challenge -- and the great opportunity -- to better coordinate land use and transportation planning. My reform package will allow state transportation, environmental and economic development officials to assist those localities that ask for help integrating the full impact of growth.
And we will continue targeting congestion. I have directed VDOT and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation to work with officials in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads to identify their top 10 affordable congestion relief projects. Our goal will be to put these projects in place quickly and cheaply.
Health Care: I am proposing to give the Board of Medicine new tools to crack down on those doctors who fail to meet the highest standards. . . .
I have sent you a budget that preserves basic services, while freezing provider reimbursements for hospitals, nursing homes and HMOs. It also includes steps to control the soaring cost of prescription drugs.
My budget redirects approximately $22 million in existing funding from state mental health institutions into community-based services. This proposal does not close any mental health facilities.
Government: I will support a constitutional amendment to end the nation's only prohibition on gubernatorial succession. The current term limit for governors inhibits long-term planning, and it limits the ability of Virginia voters to hold their leaders accountable.