The 2018 General Assembly session is upon us, kicking off today, Wednesday, January 10th. In recent years, I’ve written about several important pieces of legislation that either expand or degrade freedom in the Commonwealth of Virginia which have come from both Republican and Democratic legislators, such as Delegate Sam Rasoul (D-Roanoke), Delegate Ben Cline (R-Rockbridge), and Senator Chap Petersen (D-Fairfax). I’ve noticed that these legislators usually craft one or two exemplary bills that all Virginians who value freedom, regardless of party affiliation, ought to support.
However, this year, Delegate Nick Freitas (R-Culpeper) is sponsoring some truly fantastic legislation. Not content with one, two, or even three bills, his list of patronage on Virginia’s Legislative Information System is, quite frankly, amazing.
Highlighting some of my favorites, we have HB 534, a repeal of the so-called incumbent protection act (which stifles political competition by allowing incumbents to select the nomination method of their political party).
Next, there is HB 539, which requires political parties to pay for their own nomination contests rather than forcing the Virginia taxpayer to pick up the tab for their primaries.
Then, there is HB 540, which lowers the threshold for the state to recognize new political parties from the rather onerous 10% in a statewide contest to a far more reasonable 3%. Doing so would likely result in more contested elections and more candidates for voters to choose from. Thus, it should more accurately reflect the political preferences of Virginians rather than the present system of either being presented only one choice or often choosing between the lesser of two evils.
Following that, we have HB 553, ranked choice voting, which will permit voters to rank their choices on the ballot (assuming they have more than two). Doing so would eliminate the so-called spoiler effect and mean that voters could actually vote for their preferred candidate without worrying about the idea of “throwing their vote away”.
Lastly, there is HB 900, civil asset forfeiture reform, which means that if you are found innocent of a crime, law enforcement doesn’t get to keep your property that they seized during the investigation. It seems like common sense, but some politicians and law enforcement agencies support this theft (and it truly is state-sponsored theft) as a way to pad their operating budgets.
That’s a lot of great stuff coming from Delegate Nick Freitas, isn’t it? The only other issues that I can think that I’d like to see resolved this session are a lowering of the signature requirements for ballot access in both statewide and congressional races and an end to the observance of Daylight Saving Time.
Although I normally don’t feel it necessary to mention this detail, given recent events please note that the opinions expressed in this article are my own and this piece has not been paid for nor authorized by either Delegate Nick Freitas or his 2018 campaign for U.S. Senate.
If you value liberty, please thank Delegate Nick Freitas and his staff for these bills!