Danny's Desk: News from the Virginia General Assembly
Jan 26, 2016

Responding to Constituents and Bill Requests-

We receive many calls, emails and letters from our constituents, and I always appreciate hearing from the folks in my district. One topic that has generated a large number of contacts from citizens of the 14th District is the great concern over recent actions regarding the personal freedom of carrying concealed handguns, when one has a proper permit.

A few weeks ago Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring, a Democrat from Northern Virginia, suddenly revoked long-standing agreements with 25 other states, which allowed reciprocity (they honor our concealed carry permits and we honor theirs). The explanation was that those states do not have as high a standard for obtaining gun permits as Virginia. His order goes into effect next week on February 1st.

The idea that so many states do not set the bar as high, and that the discrepancy is significant enough to abruptly end mutual agreements, seems somewhat questionable to me. A resident of my district called us to relate a story about observing the concealed carry training in North Carolina, which he described as very thorough and as good as, or better than, some he had seen in Virginia.

The Attorney General’s action has triggered concern from our region, and from our neighboring states of North Carolina and Tennessee, where we have friendships, active commerce, and families crossing those borders daily without thought of differences of policy – until now. All jurisdictions in my district, Danville, Pittsylvania County and Henry County, border North Carolina. This ruling affects many citizens who hold concealed carry permits on both sides of the state border.

The Attorney General’s action resulted in several bills coming forward in the General Assembly to reverse his unilateral action- an action which was also supported by the Governor. There is even a bill to take away the guns of the body guards of the Governor. The argument is that it is not fair for him to have that level of armed protection, if the regular citizens, including our neighbors from other states, cannot have the ability to protect themselves.

Senator Carrico of Southwest Virginia, a former State trooper, has put in a budget amendment to defund the Governor’s “armed” protection. Delegates Farris, Ware and Webert have introduced various concealed carry bills to improve safety, yet honor the permits of citizens of our neighboring states. It appears that this is not a party issue, because many legislators are hearing from Republicans, Independents and Democrats alike, who are upset about the reciprocity issue.

A number of the proposed bills will probably pass the Republican-led House easily and the Virginia Senate by a small margin. The question is what will the Governor do with the bills when they go to his desk? He can sign, amend, veto, or ignore and let them take effect without a signature. We will know by the time of the Reconvened Session in April.

Some of My Bills for the Region

One of my bills offers a way to help our area economically. It requests a Study to look at establishing an additional “Intermodal Transfer Facility,” commonly known as an inland port.

There is one inland port in Virginia in Front Royal for Northern Virginia commerce. Facilities there receive 20-foot and 40-foot containers from manufacturing companies located within about a 150-mile radius. The containers of product are collected and then moved by rail to the port of Norfolk. The reverse also happens.  Incoming goods at the Port of Norfolk are sent by rail to the inland port to be distributed to their final destinations by truck.

My HJ99 requests the Secretary of Transportation to study the feasibility of establishing an additional intermodal transfer facility on Route 58 in the Danville/Pittsylvania County/Henry County region. This type of facility can attract companies to send containers of product from a wide area, including North Carolina. It could be a hub and job center for products going out and coming in. Manufacturers have an easier way to ship and to receive products abroad. It can reduce the cost of shipping. This can be another piece of the Economic Development puzzle and help to attract manufacturing companies.

Dealing with other local issues, the City of Danville requested that I introduce two bills. Back in late February of 2015 Councilman Lee Vogler contacted me about a possible Land Bank bill. As Chairman of the Virginia Housing Commission, I, along with fellow members requested that Land Bank research be conducted by a Committee of the Housing Commission. The result was a recommendation from the Virginia Housing Commission, which was the source of my HB268. This could be a way of addressing vacant, abandoned and tax-delinquent properties. A referendum would be held before a land bank could be established in a locality.

Another request from the City of Danville involved ownership of properties being moved around without payment of delinquent taxes. HB636 gives localities the option to refuse transfer of real property recordation unless the locality certifies that all taxes and fines have been paid. It is not fair to citizens who pay their taxes and pay them on time, to watch others get by without doing the same. This is a pilot program for the City of Danville.

As bills progress through the Legislature, you are able to find information about them and track them by going to the Virginia General Assembly Website. You can even request alerts. Access:  virginiageneralassembly.gov

 We are currently in our offices in Richmond.  My Legislative Aide, Mary Franklin, is staffing our office here, located in Room 702 of the General Assembly Building.  You can contact us by sending an e-mail to DelDMarshall@house.virginia.gov or by sending a letter to me at PO Box 406, Richmond, VA 23218-0406, or by calling 804-698-1014. And, visit www.dannymarshall.com to complete our 2016 Survey (on lower right Homepage).