On Ronald Reagan’s 102nd birthday a few months ago, I wrote about having the privilege of seeing the President and asking him a question at his visit to the University of Virginia.
At the time, I only had a transcript of the exchange, but our amazing campaign intern Peter researched and found the footage.
While my voice makes me sound 13 years old, I was in fact a recent college graduate! (I recall having a different question, but when it became clear that mine would be last, I changed it to give President Reagan a chance to talk about his future.)
What strikes me the most about the clip were the three issues President Reagan wanted to fight for after his presidency: line item veto, a balanced budget amendment and America’s national security. These are – obviously – still critically important issues for our national and state leaders.
I’m proud to announce that Second Amendment hero Dick Heller has endorsed me for Attorney General.
Dick Heller was the plaintiff in the Supreme Court’s landmark 2008 case D.C. v. Heller. This decision, for the first time in American history, held that the Second Amendment protects an individual right to possess a firearm. In the last decade, there is no one who has done more to protect our Constitutional rights than Mr. Heller.
In his endorsement, Mr. Heller said “Rob Bell is a gun owner and has a record of standing up for our Constitutional right to bear arms. I know he will fight fiercely against anyone who would try to take our gun rights away.”
I’m honored that someone on the front line of the fight for our Constitution would trust me to be Virginia’s next Attorney General.
Of course, right now Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is bringing forth new gun control legislation. Make your opinions heard — please e-mail Senators Tim Kaine here and Mark Warner here. (You can also call either Senator, or your Congressman, at (202) 224-3121.)
Too many freedoms have already been lost on our watch. Please join the fight for our Constitution.
Delegate, 58th District
On Friday, Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli issued his official advisory opinions about the transportation tax legislation and the proposal to create a Medicaid Innovation and Reform Commission (MIRC) that would be empowered to review proposals and ultimately authorize the expansion of Medicaid. He found both measures were unconstitutional.
I’ve already discussed my opposition to the transportation package, but here is a short video of my speech in opposition to the creation of the Medicaid Commission.
(The clip can be found here: http://goo.gl/J7qSd)
I fought against the bill because it appeared to me to be unconstitutional, as the Attorney General has now found. (In addition, I believed that the creation of the MIRC did not provide sufficient protections against expansion of Medicaid, which has already grown by 478% in the last 20 years.)
Delegate, 58th District
This week Governor McDonnell signed my human trafficking bill, House Bill 1870, into law.
Human traffickers are predatory criminals who seek out lonely and isolated teenagers. The trafficker promises money, drugs, or sometimes just an exciting life. It is only after the teenager is far from her family that she discovers what the trafficker is really offering is prostitution.
Human trafficking of adults and minors can be difficult to prosecute because the crime often crosses jurisdictional lines. This new law will allow human trafficking to be investigated by multi-jurisdictional grand juries.
You can see the video here:
I appreciate all the work by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli to lead on this important issue, and Governor McDonnell for signing it into law.
As the General Assembly session ended last week, two major bills passed that I opposed and argued against.
The first, HB 2313, was the transportation package. It will increase a variety of taxes by more than $800 million a year. (See summary of new taxes here.)
I fought the transportation proposal. I voted against the bill when it was first presented and have opposed every version or amendment that would have raised taxes or costs on Virginia taxpayers.
Given the overall growth of the budget, I believe that it is wrong to pass even more costs onto Virginia taxpayers, and voted No. Unfortunately, it did pass.
The second, HB 1500, was the state budget.
I had various concerns with the proposed budget, but the most significant was the issue of Medicaid expansion under Obamacare. (The Obama administration offered $9 billion in exchange for a large expansion in Virginia; Virginia would have to start paying increased costs in 2017.) Even without expansion, state spending on Medicaid spending has grown explosively – 478% – over the last 20 years. Put differently, since 1985, spending on Medicaid has grown from approximately 5% to 25% of the state budget. Absent massive reforms, this growth is likely to continue.
Under HB 1500, the final decision on Medicaid reforms and whether to accept the Medicaid money will be made by a special commission. I did not believe this plan provided enough protections for Virginia taxpayers, and argued against it on the floor and voted No. (As Attorney General Cuccinelli noted and as I argued during floor debate, there are also Constitutional concerns with allowing such a decision to be made by a commission.)
Democrats believe this was a substantial victory; Senator Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax) cheered, “We have put Virginia on a clear path to expanding Medicaid.”
I am very disappointed in these two measures. I believe that Republicans are and should be the party of lower taxes and more limited government. I pledge that I will continue to fight for our conservative principles going forward.
I’m conducting a special briefing on my “Photo ID – No Exceptions” bill on Tuesday, January 22nd, at 9:00 a.m. at the State Capitol in Richmond.
I’ll be holding the briefing in House Room 3. (If you will be in Richmond for “RPV Grassroots Day at the Virginia Capitol,” the briefing will be in the same room as the Meet & Greet reception with Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli that begins at 9:30 a.m. — you can just come 30 minutes earlier!)
I look forward to talking about the bill and answering any questions.
Here are the complete details:
Photo ID – No Exceptions
Briefing by Delegate Rob Bell
Tuesday, January 22, 2013
9:00 a.m. – 9:30 a.m.
House Room 3
Virginia State Capitol
For directions, click here.
I hope you can attend.
It will only take a few minutes, and I really want to hear your thoughts on some of the bills I’m introducing this year. Many of my bill requests are still being processed. When they go on line this evening, they can be found here.]]>
Like other legislators, I am finishing up my legislative proposals for the General Assembly session, which begins on Wednesday. This year, my package will include:
“Tebow Bill”: In 29 other states, homeschooled students (like Tim Tebow) can participate in sports and other extracurriculars at their local high school. I think this option should be open to Virginia homeschoolers as well. See the bill, here. We failed last year in a Senate committee by one vote; this year I am hopeful we get it passed. To help, click here.
Photo ID – No Exceptions: In the last election, voters could present utility bills to vote; meanwhile, a paid Democratic operative was caught on camera explaining how these could be forged to fool election officials. I will introduce a bill that will (1) require voters to present a valid government issued-photo identification in order to vote, (2) this ID will require proof of citizenship as is currently required for ID provided by DMV, and (3) Virginia will provide the needed documentation to eligible voters at no cost if they cannot afford it. We need true government-issued photo ID for voting. To help pass this, click here.
Financial Abuse of Mentally Incapacitated: We are concerned about increasing financial exploitation of mentally incapacitated Virginians, often seniors. I will introduce a bill that states that when someone knows that the victim is mentally incapacitated, and through use of that incapacity obtains money or other valuables, this would be treated as fraud.
Human Trafficking: Working with the Attorney General’s office, I will be introducing a bill to allow multijurisdictional grand juries to investigate additional types of human trafficking. This is important because these crimes often stretch across multiple jurisdictions.
Many of my bills are still being edited, but by Wednesday, they will all be posted here. You can look up all the bills currently being considered here.
Delegate, 58th District