Democrat sponsors ABC privatization in House
A Democratic delegate has decided to carry Governor Bob McDonnell’s proposal to privatize the state’s ABC stores ... and a Republican delegate has introduced legislation to ask public school systems to count the number of enrolled students of non-legal status. Craig Carper reports.
After no Republicans put forward a bill to carry Governor Bob McDonnell’s ABC privatization proposal in the House, Democratic Delegate Bob Brink of Alexandria has decided to do just that.
Brink: I think it’s important that this piece of legislation receive full consideration by both the Senate and the House.
However, don’t count on Delegate Brink to support the bill. Earlier this year, while serving on Governor McDonnell’s Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring, of which ABC privatization was the centerpiece, Brink expressed serious concerns with the proposal.
Brink: This proposal is Privatization 3.0 or 4.0 or somewhere down the list, and with this plan, as with all the other versions of it, the most important thing is to make sure that the numbers work. First of all, will the plan continue to pump money into the state budget to fund schools, public safety and healthcare on an ongoing basis? When you net out the costs such as the buyout of current ABC employees, how much one-time money will this plan really provide for transportation? And another important number is one thousand. That’s the new number of outlets selling hard liquor across the state that would be envisioned in this proposal. We need to look hard and long at the effect of tripling the current number of outlets and whether the bill gives localities adequate power to deal with all of those effects; now everybody agrees that selling distilled spirits isn’t a core function of government, but we’ve been doing that for over seventy-five years. It is by all accounts a profitable and well-run enterprise and before we sell off the ABC stores, we need to take a careful look at just what it will do. Introducing the Governor’s proposal on the House side will give us all a chance to have the full discussion that it deserves this year.
Introducing the bill in the GOP-controlled House could put some Republicans, many of whom have also expressed concerns about the Governor’s proposal, in the uncomfortable position of voting against it.
McDonnell spokesman Tucker Martin issued a statement thanking Brink for his sponsorship of the bill and saying (quote) We know he wouldn’t put his good name on a measure that he doesn’t support (endquote).
Republican Delegate Todd Gilbert of Shenandoah is introducing a bill that would ask public school districts to keep track of the number of illegal immigrants that they enroll.
Gilbert: Since 1982, we’ve been required by the Supreme Court to educate children who are illegal, who lack legal status under the Plyler v. Doe decision, but that doesn’t mean that Virginia can’t arm itself with the information that we can use to demonstrate to the federal government just how broken our immigration system is and just how much it’s costing the citizens of the Commonwealth of Virginia to educate children who would not otherwise be educated with taxpayer dollars, were they not here illegally. So it’s just a head-counting bill. No information is going to be shared. No names are going to be put on lists. But local school systems would be required to count children lacking legal status so that we can get an estimate of just how much it’s costing the taxpayers to educate these children.
The bill is likely to pass in the Republican-led House and fail in the Democratic-controlled Senate.
Craig Carper, WCVE News, Capitol Square