Archived Story

Legislation targets region

Published 10:20am Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Today, the Virginia General Assembly will convene at the state capital, just as it has for the last 394 years.

For the next 30 days, 40 senators and 100 delegates will consider thousands of pieces of legislation, including amendments to the state budget that was enacted in 2012.

Several bills have been introduced by Del. Rick Morris, R- Carrollton, that will directly impact Western Tidewater. One would extend the current excise tax on peanuts grown and sold in Virginia, the proceeds from which would be used to promote the sale and use of peanut products.

Another would add the City of Franklin to the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Zone, which would allow qualifying businesses who locate or expand in the city to apply for grants based on job creation.

Another would create the Efficiency Evaluation Fund, which would provide matching dollars for localities to hire private consultants for finding more efficient ways to operate.

All of these are fairly straightforward, common sense bills that will likely find easy passage.

However, one bill being introduced by Morris will require a little muscle to get through. This bill would eliminate the ability of a non-elected body to appoint a school board.

Southampton County, one of only a handful of localities in the state to have its school board appointed by an un-elected committee, would be required to elect its school board or have it appointed by the board of supervisors.

We have long advocated for this new legislation and are eager to see it enacted, primarily because the measure would hold school board members directly accountable to taxpayers.

Of the two options, we would prefer to see the school board directly elected. Under either scenario, the change would be an improvement.

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