On a day where a suspicious package shut down roads around the Capitold and we learned Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D) underwent an operation to remove fluid from his lungs following an equestrian mishap, Senate Republicans made early work of this session’s bill that would have increased the Commonwealth’s minimum wage. The Democratic-led SB 681 proposed an $8 per hour minimum wage for July 1. The wage would increase to $9 next year and then flatline at $10.10 in 2017.
Currently Virginia’s minimum wage is $7.25 in accordance with federal law. Sen. Majority Leader Thomas Norment (R-James City) led today’s 11-3 vote to table to motion during committee.
The bill was sponsored by Sen. David Marsden (D-Burke), who equated the $7.25 wage to about $15,000 for a 40-hour work week. The amount, after taxes, would be equivelant to poverty.
Driving forward in committee today was Delegate Jeff Campbell’s (R-Smyth) HB 1317 to amend Virginia’s wreckless driving definition. Currently, the threshold of reckless driving, no matter the applicable speed limit, is 80 miles per hour. Many have criticized the current statute after Gov. Bob McDonnell increased many interstate speed limits to 70 miles per hour in 2010.
Finally, Second Amendment activists took to the Capitol today just like every other year to voice concerns and show support for gun rights. Last week during his State of the Commonwealth address, McAuliffe called to reinstate Virginia’s one-handgun-a-month regulation. The Republican led majority has already said that will not happen under their control.
Gun right supporters have been able to push away restricting laws in recent history, citing a need to focus on jobs and social issues other than bearing arms.
Tuesday at the Capitol is seventh day of the session.