If we get tired holding our breath waiting for the new all-Republican Loudoun board of supervisors to adopt an ethics policy, for our very Republican Commonwealth Attorney Jim Plowman to bring charges against new Republican supervisors Janet Clarke (R-Blue Ridge) and Ken Reid (R-Leesburg) for violating state ethics laws (yes, already!), or for new Republican supervisor Geary Higgins (R-Catoctin) to unveil his much-anticipated Major Stinkbug Initiative, there is always Loudoun’s GOP delegation in Richmond to keep us diverted.
When they aren’t co-sponsoring legislation forcing doctors to perform medically unnecessary procedures on women, they are merely filing bills supplied verbatim by conservative business groups. (Our own new Republican Delegate and old Real Estate Developer Attorney Randy Minchew is of course an expert in this way of doing business; as Loudoun GOP Chairman and Real Estate Developer Attorney Minchew, he used to e-mail over the exact texts of motions for the 5-4 GOP majority on the 2003–2007 board of supervisors to pass “with as little discussion as possible,” as he instructed one time.)
Sen. Dick Black, Del. Tag Greason, and many other local GOP stalwarts figure prominently among Virginia GOP legislators who belong to or work closely with a group called the American Legislative Exchange Council. ALEC is funded almost entirely by right-wing big business groups, which provide “model” legislation to be adopted by compliant state legislators. Black and Greason have received travel expenses and gifts from the group; Black, Greason, Sen. Jill Holtzman Vogel, and others have co-sponsored ALEC bills filed in Virginia. Among its initiatives in Virginia have been bills to:
• expend public funds on private-school scholarships
• establish “virtual” school programs run by for-profit companies
• block clean-air regulations
• amend the U.S. Constitution to give states a veto over federal legislation (I guess it’s OK to ignore the Founding Fathers whenever they depart from the Tea Party’s cartoon version of the Founding Fathers)
• exempt “health care sharing ministries” from all insurance laws (even though many of them have been exposed as outright scams)
• exempt health insurers from having to cover mammograms, preventive care, childbirth and pregnancy care, or any other state-mandated coverage for companies with 50 or fewer employees
• reduce the tax on chewing tobacco and snuff
• limit the liability of single company, Crown Cork & Seal, in asbestos litigation
It’s nice to know who our Republican elected officials are working for . . .