Lawmakers in Richmond are caving to the pressures of the Virginia Farm Bureau, VACo, and Fauquier County Supervisors. VFB said the Boneta Bill, HB1430, should have been discussed with them before it was introduced.
Legislative Update 1-28-2013
2011 LEGISLATION PASSED RELATED TO AGENDA 21
UNELECTED GOVERNING BODIES – Unelected governing bodies are authorized to make policy decisions without having to face voters at an election resulting in the potential for abuse. This is contrary to a democratic process in which elected officials can be influenced by the electorate.
HB1521 Water authorities, sewer authorities, etc.; specified as political subdivisions of State.
CONCERN: Authorities are given the power to establish policy, set fees, raise and spend money, create debt, and have the power to regulate. An authority can also be a device to achieve user cost financing when it is politically difficult for a local government to do so.
HB1522 Water and waste authorities; eminent domain powers
CONCERN: Gives the power of eminent domain to an unelected authority.
SB1064 Erosion & sediment control plans; may charge fee to cover costs associated with certain review, etc
CONCERN: Grants power to an unelected body to set the standards and require an erosion and sediment control plan to be submitted for review before land disturbance can occur for any reason and charge fees of least $1,000 or more as they determine necessary for the review and approval, project inspections, and compliance. There are no caps on fees they are allowed to charge and review could result in a requirement for additional expensive permits or fees as the unelected body sees fit.
SB1112 Metropolitan Planning Organizations; specifies role in transportation decision-making process
CONCERN: Establishes an unelected regional authority paid for by taxpayers to be the decision makers and drafters for policies relating to transportation.
SB964 Coastal resource management; Marine Resources Commission, et al., to develop integrated guidance
CONCERN: Grants power to an unelected body to govern and regulate human activity on Virginia's shoreline. The commission has the power to set fees for costly permits for use of shoreline for human activities.
REDISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH – Uses taxpayer funds as incentives to preserve rural land into perpetuity to discourage future growth and to serve as buffer zones between urban boundaries and wildlands. Programs to preserve rural land transfers the tax burden from those who take advantage of preservation programs to the rest of the taxpayers. The potential exists for strict regulations to be imposed to force frustrated land owners to take advantage of programs they might not otherwise participate in.
HB1725 & SB1105 Virginia Farmland Preservation Fund; created
CONCERN: Establishes a fund to use taxpayer money to purchase development rights, fund conservation easement, and provide education of preservation of farmland to the landowner.
SB1104 Open-space land; expands definition to include agricultural and forestal production
CONCERN: Allows local governments to use taxpayer funds to purchase and hold easements for agricultural and forestal production as long as they are in production and not less than 5 years. Local governments that purchase open space easements are eligible for federal grants and other assistance from the federal government on the backs of the taxpayer.