Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Our Picks from Terry Kilgore's Bills

Some of our State Senators and Delegates use e-mail heavily. Some do not. Terry Kilgore has never yet sent me an e-mail; even at home, in his capacity as an attorney in private practice, he lets people e-mail documents to his secretary before meeting to discuss things in real life. However, I don't want e-friends who've forwarded e-mails from their legislators to think mine haven't been proposing good bills too.

I sneaked a peek at Delegate Kilgore's proposals last week...gave him five days to respond to my comments, which he hasn't done. Some of them deal with things I personally can't claim to understand well enough to evaluate the bills, like banking and coal mining. Then there's HB 129, which seems interesting...I don't understand exactly who could legally do what if this one becomes law, and I'd like to know more. Does this mean that e.g. I could hire an electrical engineer to install an unobtrusive little gadget to allow me to harness electrical energy from the waterfalls below the Cat Sanctuary, and sell that energy to other people?

HB 130 and 131provide tax breaks for our veterans. HB 130 exempts veterans' retirement benefits from Virginia state tax.

HB 131 provides tax credits for disabled veterans, proportionate to their disabilities, and this web site says the sooner the better.

HB 592 simplifies the background check process for Virginians purchasing firearms. Our sponsors will appreciate this one.

HB 709 provides that, when damages are paid to the victim of a motor vehicle accident, they are due to the victim irrespective of insurance benefits. I think. I'd rather see "insurance benefits" simplified down to "the benefit of having set up a bank account to cover possible injuries or claims for damages," which I'd understand much better than the jargon of the existing insurance gambling racket. I think this is a bill I like.

HB 1234 transfers authority from the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority itself to the Governor of Virginia for appointing an individual outside V.E.D.P.A. as the "Authority's" C.E.O. By what oversight this wasn't done sooner...long overdue.

HB 1254 restricts collection of unemployment funds by members of symphony orchestras during their off season. Reasonable.

HB 1356 allows employees of local governments to participate in state insurance programs. A reasonable compromise as long as the law requires us to have state insurance programs.

HB 1655 codifies the process for medical care providers to collect benefits from the insurance provider of the driver at fault in an accident when someone has been injured. Again, seems reasonable until such time as we can all shake the insurance gambling racket off our backs.

HB 1656 allows the Virginia Workers Compensation Commission to be housed in some part of Virginia other than Richmond. I'm for it; at least it'll stop W.C.C. workers filing claims for damages resulting from their having to be in Richmond.

HB 1676 reduces the time allowed for service of process, when a person is being sued, from twelve to six months from the initiation of the process. Seems reasonable. Last time I checked Maryland allowed only three months.

HB 1769 authorizes the Health Department to participate in a medical insurance "benefit exchange." Not what I'd prefer, but what a substantial number of people wanted.

HB 1785 adds a "public facility" in Wise, Virginia, to an existing list of "public facilities" authorized to sell things to the public for profit, pay sales tax, and receive financial benefits from that sales tax (without necessarily dipping into any other state revenue).

HB 1816 stiffens penalties for operating meth labs in places where a child or disabled person might be injured by the almost inevitable fire. Everybody likes this idea; if there's any debate it will be which bill sticks it to the fools who operate meth labs most efficiently.

HB 2160 limits to one year the time when people treated for work-related injuries are exempt from bills for medical care that they claim should be covered by workers' compensation. If claims for workers' compensation are settled within a year, this is excellent.

HJ 94 allows individuals to offer "voluntary prayer" aloud in schools and public meetings. I like it.

HJ 681 commends the Mountain States Health Alliance. This group oversees the Indian Path hospital in Kingsport, Tennessee, where we were all favorably impressed by the efficient, safety-conscious treatment one of Delegate Kilgore's first and most loyal fans received--no sitting in a room full of coughing, vomiting patients when she'd been taken in for a stroke. If the group has been able to make that basic, but still rare, improvement in all their hospitals, they richly deserve commendation.