Civic Federation's 1996 Legislative
At Its November 14, 1995 Meeting, The Arlington
County Civic Federation Adopted A 45-Point Legislative
The Arlington County Civic Federation has urged the General
Assembly of Virginia to pass state "motor-voter" legislation and
to repeal concealed weapons legislation enacted at the last
session. The initiatives are part of a 45-point legislative
package for 1996, adopted by the Federation at its November 14,
The motor-voter legislation would permit Virginians to register
at Department of Motor Vehicle offices, which proponents argue
would increase voter registration by making it more convenient.
The controversial concealed weapons statute, adopted by the 1995
General Assembly but opposed by much of the Northern Virginia
delegation, makes it easier for Virginians to acquire a permit
for a concealed weapon.
Other portions of the legislative package oppose further cuts in
higher education funding, seek authority for Arlington County to
increase the cigarette tax, and endorse a state consitutional
amendment to allow initiative and referendum. The Federation
also endorsed a recycling goal of 40% by the year 2000 and other
environmental initiatives. The detailed 45-point legislative
The Arlington County Civic Federation is the 79-year-old "Civic
Voice of Arlington." Its delegates, including delegates from the
Ballston-Virginia Square Civic Federation, represent nearly 70
neighborhood associations and other civic groups throughout
Civic Federation's 1996 Legislative
A. Funding. The Federation opposes any efforts to change
the formula for state funding what would result in less funding
for Arlington County Public Schools.
B. School Boards. The Federation continues to support
legislation enabling school boards to bargain collectively with
C. Higher Education. The Federation believes that higher
education plays a significant role in the economic development of
the Commonwealth and region. The Federation is concerned that
Virginia has dropped from 22nd to 43rd in the nation in tax
dollar support per full-time student. This change in Virginia
public policy drastically affects a student's ability to access a
quality higher education at a time when U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics and Bureau of Census data indicate increasing reliance
on higher education for worker training as we evolve from an
industrial to a knowledge-driven economy and Virginia converts
its defense industry. The Federation asks the General Assembly
to maintain higher education funding at least at the current
D. At-Risk Students. The Federation supports the
initiation of legislation to provide disparity funding for summer
school programs for at-risk students.
A. Funding. The Federation supports utilization of
Federal, state, and local funding and technical assistance for
mass transit, transportation management associations, commuter
bikeways, and alternative work schedule programs. The Federation
urges the General Assembly to revise the state transportation
funding formula to increase funding formula to increase funding
for growth areas such as Northern Virginia.
B. Streets and Highways. The Federation continues to
support more efficient use of existing highways and specific
initiatives such as
- better traffic light synchronization;
- greater state awareness of bicycle safety issues such as
requiring the Virginia Department of Transportation to establish
sufficient right-of-way for bicycles during planning and
construction on state roadways and greater accommodation for
bicycles on state roadways; and
- a requirement that operators of slow-moving vehicles use
designated pullout areas every few miles if they are impeding the
flow of traffic.
3. Housing and Human Services
B. Funding for Social Services. The Federation recognizes
that demands for increased social services by needy persons in
many localities, particularly in northern Virginia, have placed
considerable pressure on already-tight local budgets. The
Legislature should appropriate sufficient funding to local social
service agencies to process food stamps, Medicaid and AFDC
applicants in a timely and efficient manner.
- The Federation supports continued General Assembly funding
for the Virginia Housing Partnership.
- The Federation encourages Arlington County and the
Commonwealth of Virginia to support affordable housing ownership
C. Consolidated Services for At-Risk Youth. The Federation
supports changes that will enhance the existing system of
services to at-risk youth through additional funds appropriated
by the General Assembly. In addition, the Federation endorses
development of a coordinated service delivery system to include
social service, school district and judicial system resource
which would result in more efficiently meeting individual client
D. Department for the Aging. The Federation requests
legislation to provide funds through the Department for the Aging
for public and professional education and training on
guardianship and alternatives.
4. Fiscal and Tax Policy
A. Consumer Use Tax. The Federation urges legislation to
repeal this tax on the grounds that it is inequitable and
difficult to enforce compliance.
B. Contract Rent Study. The Federation requests legislation
to study if contact rent should be considered an appropriate
factor in determining value for assessments of commercial and
residential rental property. The Supreme Court of Virginia has
ruled that contract rent may be considered in addition to
economic rent/fair market rent. The Federation has been opposed
to the use of contract rent in the past because such use usually
has lowered commercial assessments, shifting more of the real
estate tax burden to homeowners.
C. Revenue Impact Statements. The Federation continues to
support enactment by the General Assembly of legislation
requiring a revenue impact statement as part of any legislative
proposal that would change local taxing authority. Such a law
would appropriately highlight the fiscal impact of legislative
proposals prior to enactment.
D. Cigarette Tax. The Federation supports the Arlington
County proposal to authorize the County to increase the cigarette
tax, in a manner similar to that of cities.
5. General Government
A. Retention of Local Zoning Authority. The Federation
believes that the General Assembly should not permit state
agencies to override local land use plans and zoning
B. Written Notice of Zoning Requests. The Federation
supports legislation to allow the County to notify condo-co-op or
townhouse owners associations when the property is located near a
site for which a zoning change has been requested.
C. Initiative and Referendum. The Federation supports a
constitutional amendment to reserve power to the people to
propose laws and amendments to the constitution and to adopt or
reject any law or section of a state law. Required percentages
to place items to referenda be 5 percent of the total cast for
Governor in the previous gubernatorial election for statutory
initiatives and referenda and 8 percent for state constitutional
D. Board of Zoning Appeals. The Federation continues to
support shifting the power of appointment of the Board of Zoning
Appeals from the Circuit Court to the County Board, and, in the
alternative, legislation granting the County Board the power to
define what constitutes the "hardships" which can be the basis
for granting variances.
E. State Corporation Commission. The SCC's membership
should be increased from three to five. A body as powerful as
the SCC should have broader, more diverse representation. The
Federation also encourages the General Assembly members to ensure
that confirmation of SCC candidates includes full review of
relevant qualifications and records of prospective SCC members
with regard to consumer issues.
F. Limited Partners-Access to Information. The Federation
supports legislation that would permit citizens access to names
and addresses of limited partners and their financial investments
or other contributions in limited partnerships which conduct
business with state or local governments of at least $10,0000
annually. Citizens must present bona-fide public interest reason
for this information and the partnership or its agent must
provide this information within ten business days at a reasonable
cost to the requester.
G. Public Employee Ethics.
H. Motor-Voter Registration. The Federation supports state
motor-voter legislation to permit Virginia voters to register at
Department of Motor Vehicle offices.
- The Federation supports legislation requiring that state
ethics brochures be provided to public officials and employees
before they assume their state or local government positions.
These officials and employees should certify in writing that they
have read and understand these ethics requirements as a condition
of their employment.
- The Federation urges a legislative study on replacing the
existing Virginia Senate and House Ethics Advisory Panels with a
comprehensive state/local ethics commission.
A. Recycling Goal of 40% by 2000. Because the cost of
landfilling waste is expected to increase due to space
limitations, environmental and energy considerations, the
Federation recommends Virginia adopt a recycling goal of 40% by
the year 2000 for the state. To promote recycling and reasonable
comparisons of progress, the state should require reporting of
recycling quantities so that valid comparisons can be made.
B. Use of Recycled Goods. The Federation supports allowing
local governments to choose whether to employ recycled glass and
recycled tires in the base layer of roads.
C. Water Quality Measurements. The Federation supports the
development and standardization of methods for the measurement of
storm waters and waters that feed the Chesapeake Bay.
D. Notification of Use of Lawn Pesticides. The Federation
supports the adoption of a rule requiring commercial lawn care
firms to post signs for 48 hours after chemical lawn treatment,
similar to a pre-spray notification already in place for gypsy
E. Exploration of Mitigation of Pollution by the Newspaper
Industry. The Federation supports legislation to require the use
of recycled paper in newsprint, to develop de-inking facilities,
to promote the use of soy-based ink, and to initiate other
actions aimed at mitigating or preventing pollution by this
F. Requirement of State Industrial Facilities (Owned by the
Commonwealth) to Develop Environmental Management Plans. The
Federation supports legislation to develop and implement
pollution prevention plans, and to establish a state office to
coordinate and provide technical assistance.
G. Illegal Dumping and Incineration of Waste. The
Federation recommends the following additions to the Arlington
County Manager's proposal on Natural Resources: raising of fines
for illegal dumping and a study of long-term effects of
incineration of waste.
H. Environmental Protection Programs. The Federation
strongly recommends that the state restore environmental programs
to either pre "rollback" levels or to current and/or new EPA
standards, whichever are more stringent, and that funding be
restored to accomplish this.
7. Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority/Washington
The Federation recommends incorporating the following
improvements in revised enabling legislation for the Metropolitan
Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) and Washington National
B. Regulatory Compliance No waiver or exception should be
granted MWAA from federal state or state procedures for
metropolitan or regional planning and historic preservation.
Development at MWAA-controlled airports should require completion
and approval of Environmental Impact Statements in accordance
with Environmental Protection Agency requirements and should be
subject to the provisions of section 4(f) of the U.S. Department
of Transportation Act regarding the use of public parks,
recreation areas, wildlife refuges, and historic sites.
- The directors of MWAA from the Commonwealth of Virginia
should be selected by the Governor from a pool of candidates
recommended by the governing bodies of Alexandria, Arlington,
Fairfax, and Loudoun.
- If a Congressional advisory committee is retained for MWAA
within constitutional guidelines, a majority of its members
should be representatives of the Washington, D.C. area.
C. Safety and Airport Use
- A safety panel should be established to recommend appropriate
parameters for development at MWAA airports. Its members should
be selected by a committee from the National Transportation
Safety Board, the Air Line Pilots Association, the National
Capital Planning Commission, the National Park Service, and the
Washington Area Council of Governments.
- As the smallest of MWAA's airports, National should be
designated a short-range airport, with a non-stop flight
perimeter of 650 statute miles.
- A single Master Plan should be developed to coordinate
efficient development and usage of MWAA airports according to the
characteristics of each site, as is required by the existing
legislation. Consideration should be given to incorporating
Baltimore-Washington International Airport in the MWAA Master
- Wide-bodied jets, including the single-aisle 757, should be
prohibited form National Airport.
- In any calculation of the number of jet carrier operations
permitted at MWAA airports, there should be no loopholes in the
mandate that there be no than 37 operations (the sum of take offs
and landings) per any 60-minute period. Multiple sections of one
flight shall not be counted as one operation only.
- The acoustical contour line for delineating the noise
"footprint" of National Airport should be determined in
consultation with the Washington Metropolitan Area Council of
Governments. Useful standards, in addition to Ldn (Loudness,
day/night) should be studied and incorporated in the final
definition of National's noise impact.
- The recommendations of the Council of Governments regarding
nighttime flights should be instituted.
8. Uninsured Motorists and Traffic Safety
A. Reduce Number of Uninsured and Enhance Verification of
Claims. The Federation continues to support efforts to reduce the
number of uninsured motorists and to enhance verification of
motorists' claims of insurance.
B. Reports to Insurers. The Federation recommends that when
motorists are not adjudicated "at fault" in an accident, the
Commonwealth should not provide accident reports to insurers,
except on request and with notice to the insured.
A. Gun Control
B. Driving Under the Influence (DUI) The Federation
continues to support mandatory stiff penalties for operating a
motor vehicle on public rights of way while under the influence
of alcohol or any other drug which impairs driving abilities.
The use of an auto for travel to and from work shall not be a
mitigating factor in sentencing a convicted DUI where alternative
travel modes enable a one-way trip of less than two hours.
- The Federation supports obligatory firearms safety training
and demonstrated proficiency from all purchasers of firearms.
- The Federation urges the General Assembly to rescind the 1995
concealed weapons permits bill. Failing recision, Arlington
County should be exempted from the law.
- The Federation urges the Virginia State Crime Commission to
study the types and numbers of weapons used in violent crime and
to consider if strengthened penalties should be enacted.
D. Truck Safety.
- Damages in Civil Cases. The Federation continues to support
modification of the doctrine of contributor negligence so that
negligent defendants determined to be substantially at fault (for
example, more than 75 percent) can be held liable for a
proportionate share of damages and liable for the full award
where the behavior of the defendant(s) has either been malicious
or reckless. Arbitration should be explored as a reasonable,
efficient, and fair means to avoid costly litigation.
- Selection of Judges. The Federation requests appointment of a
commission to study and recommend a plan for merit selection of
judges on a less partisan basis to ensure judicial independence
and the appointment of the most qualified individuals based on
legal experience and expertise.
E. Telephone Solicitation. The Federation supports the
Telephone Solicitation Act to require registration and regulation
- Unsafe and speeding trucks are a chronic problem in Northern
Virginia. The Federation recommends that truck owners be
required to present proof of a valid current inspection when
obtaining or renewing a truck license. The Federation also
continues to support increased fines for safety violations (to be
based on vehicle weight), additional truck inspections, lane-
restrictions on trucks on multi-lane highways, a rush-hour ban on
the transportation of hazardous materials, and a requirement of
improved rearview mirrors.
- The Federation encourages stronger enforcement of speed
- The Federation urges tougher requirements for commercial
F. Sexual Orientation. The Federation supports the addition
of sexual orientation to the coverage of antidiscrimination laws.
Sexual orientation should be added to the Hate Crimes law.
G. Third-Party Notification. The Federation supports plain-
language provisions for third-party notification in long-term
care insurance policies, so that incapacitated persons would not
lose coverage automatically if they should inadvertently miss a
H. Aggressive Panhandling. The Federation requests that the
Arlington County Board adopt an ordinance to make it unlawful for
any person to panhandle in an aggressive manner, to panhandle
within fifteen feet of an automatic teller machine, or to
panhandle from any operator of a motor vehicle while standing in
a roadway median or on a travel lane.