Some of this will be review for my legislative readers and some might be new but try out these ideas for next session:
- Term Limits – the GOP should simply sign on to Del. Rasoul’s bill (actually a state constitutional amendment) on term limits.
- Initiative and referendum – yes there are states with ridiculous ballot questions (California and Ohio come readily to mind) but there needs to be a check on the legislature – I am told by Bob Shannon that term limits in the 15 or so states where they have it only have come about when the voters placed it on the ballot and passed it. We need that safety value.
- Ending non-judicial foreclosure. If you want to stand up for the little guy/gal – let’s insist we have some sort of judicial foreclosure procedure – let a judge – even if it is General District Court only – by a standardized form – review the procedure and ensure it is right. My hero, Henry McLaughlin, an attorney downtown, has won a case or two at the state supreme court showing how laws were not followed by mortgage companies (I used to say that mortgage companies were one of the best arguments for communism I know of!); so it ought to be passed. Several years ago, Senator McEachin introduced (and I blogged in support of it!) a judicial foreclosure bill to apply to future mortgages but if it is consistent with the Contract Clause of the Constitution (can’t be a constitutionalist and break it when convenient!) some sort of summary oversight could be added to the procedure to make sure the mortgage foreclosure procedure was followed. Give that power to General District Court with appeal to Circuit Court upon payment of a bond.
- Administrative salaries in higher education – I read that VCU is about to hive off a NINTH vice president. I thought when I read it (because I read a Heritage Foundation report I got from Bob Shannon) it’s too much administration in higher education (and probably in primary/secondary ed too) and then I went to this site and found that approximately the top fifty (Let’s capitalize that for emphasis: I said TOP FIFTY) employees at VCU earn over 200k a year (I think the governor earned about 200k last year although that might not include use of mansion and perks associated therein) Where’s the liberal outrage at income inequality in the public sector? The libs are all ready to rage at CEOs making 200 times or some number like that the lowest guy/gal on totem pole and that is none of their business. But this is mostly if not all taxpayers’ money. And the colleges always want more tax dollars and to also raise tuition, too. Some ambitious pol in the legislature could ride this issue all the way to the governor’s mansion and beyond perhaps. Because parents all over but especially in Hampton Roads and NOVA hate tuition hikes. Set up a temporary subcommittee on appropriation, budget or education committees and subpoena the college presidents and simply ask them: Do you need fifty people over $200k? Really? How about other areas of waste in higher ed? I’d set up (buy it if I had to at my expense) at 800 number for anonymous reporting of waste and fraud in higher ed. You’d get a lot of cranky stories but a few nuggets might emerge. How about dorm fees for example? How about perks for senior professors? And budget cuts tend to fall on the backs of the ordinary people working there.
- Reform of divorce laws – again support the little guy or gal! We need to consider ditching fault, shortening separation periods, more standardized forms, abolishing the loss of spousal support if the party is at fault (usually adultery), discouraging spousal support altogether except for limited times or special circumstances (long marriage and educational disparity perhaps) and maybe this bill is a step in the right direction (although largely symbolic) that Delegate Albo came up with to replace visitation with the term “parenting time”. I am not sold on all these ideas but especially Republicans need to consider it.
It will not violate the grand larceny threshold if the pols “steal” these ideas for the good of the Commonwealth. Stand for the right, support guns, pro-life, lower taxes and regulations etc. but help the little guy/gal and we can win elections. Who’ll do it?
Article written by: Elwood "Sandy" Sanders