Monday, March 13, 2017

Episode 359 (3-13-17): Subcommittees are Where Many Proposed Virginia Laws Start to Float or Sink


CLICK HERE to listen to episode audio (4:18)

Transcript of audio, notes on the audio, photos, and additional information follow below.

All Web addresses mentioned were functional as of 3-10-17.


TRANSCRIPT OF AUDIO


From the Cumberland Gap to the Atlantic Ocean, this is Virginia Water Radio for the week of March 13, 2017.

SOUNDS – ~ 6 sec – Crowd gathered for January 18, 2017, meeting of the Virginia House of Delegates’ Natural Resources Subcommittee.

This week, we drop in on a tightly packed room spilling into a hallway of a historic building in the heart of Richmond, Virginia.  In this room and others like it, people from various backgrounds gather to express concerns, clarify uncertainty, and work towards compromise.  Have a listen for about 90 seconds to an abbreviated version of what was in fact a 30-minute conversation, and try to figure out what’s going on!

VOICES – ~84 sec

You’ve been listening to a discussion in the January 18, 2017, meeting of the Natural Resources Subcommittee, part of the Virginia House of Delegates’ Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Committee.   In the audio you heard, this subcommittee was discussing House Bill 1679, related to chemicals used in the hydraulic fracturing for natural gas.

In a subcommittee, members meet with stakeholders from across the Commonwealth to discuss legislation.  Subcommittees are usually the first place where proposed bills get thoroughly debated at the General Assembly, so their meetings can draw a passionate and heated crowd.  Subcommittees are the place to discover the issues of a bill, and clarification is the name of the game at this level.  What happens here is crucial to whether or not proposals move forward from committees to House and Senate floors and ultimately to the governor’s desk.

So if someday in January or February you find yourself at the Virginia General Assembly, try to drop into a subcommittee meeting.  You may not have enough room to move, and you may find yourself standing in the hallway or sitting on a table rather than a chair.   But even if you’re crowded, you’ll be sure to witness the interpersonal, relatively informal, and occasionally humorous side of Virginia law-making.

Thanks to this week’s guest host, Eryn Turney, the spring 2017 intern at the Virginia Water Resources Research Center.

We close with the words of James Edmunds, the chair of the Virginia House of Delegates’ Natural Resources Subcommittee.

VOICE – ~6 sec – Adjournment of January 18, 2017, subcommittee meeting.
SHIP’S BELL

For more Virginia water sounds, music, and information, visit us online at virginiawaterradio.org, or call us at (540) 231-5463.  Virginia Water Radio is produced by the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, part of Virginia Tech’s College of Natural Resources and Environment.  Thanks to Stewart Scales for his banjo version of Cripple Creek to open and close the show.  In Blacksburg, I’m Alan Raflo, thanking you for listening, and wishing you health, wisdom, and good water.

AUDIO NOTES AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

This week’s audio was recorded by Virginia Water Radio at the January 18, 2017, meeting of the Natural Resources Subcommittee of the Virginia House of Delegates’ Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources.  The excerpt you heard was a montage of comments in the original sequence but not the original timing. An audio recording (30 min./31 sec.) of the subcommittee’s full discussion of House Bill 1679 on January 18, 2017, is available at this link.

For more on 2017 General Assembly bills on hydraulic fracturing chemicals, please see the Virginia Water Central News Grouper post, Water in the 2017 VA General Assembly: Fracking Chemical Disclosure Bills – Updated February 21, 2017.

An excerpt of the January 18 subcommittee meeting was also featured in Episode 353, 1/30/17.

Click here if you’d like to hear the full version (1 min./11 sec.) of the “Cripple Creek” arrangement/performance by Stewart Scales that opens and closes this episode.   More information about Mr. Scales and the group New Standard, with which Mr. Scales plays, is available online at http://newstandardbluegrass.com.

PHOTO

Meeting of the Virginia House of Delegates’ Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee/Natural Resources Subcommittee, in Richmond on January 18, 2017.

EXTRA FACTS ABOUT VIRGINIA GENERAL ASSEMBLY COMMITTEES AND SUBCOMMITTEES


The Virginia General Assembly convenes every year in January.   In all even-numbered years, the Assembly holds a so-called “long session” of 60 days; “short sessions,” initially set for 30 days but typically extended to about 45 days, are held in odd-numbered years.  A reconvened (“veto”) session is held in April.  During long sessions, the Commonwealth’s budget for the upcoming two years is set; amendments to the current biennial budget may be considered both in long and short sessions.  The General Assembly’s main Web page is http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/index.php.

Standing committees are key parts of the General Assembly process. Proposed legislation is assigned to a committee, then possibly to a subcommittee.  The House of Delegates has 14 standing committees, while the Senate has 11.  Most of these groups meet weekly during the General Assembly session. Information about all standing committees—including membership, meeting times, and legislation being considered—is available from the Virginia Legislative information System, online at http://lis.virginia.gov/lis.htm.

Two committees that receive many water-related bills are the House Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committee (House ACNR) and the Senate Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources Committee (Senate ACNR).  The House ACNR Committee includes three subcommittees: Agriculture; Chesapeake; and Natural Resources.  The Senate ACNR does not include any subcommittees.  Energy-related bills may be assigned initially to the House or Senate Commerce and Labor Committees, both of which (as of 2017) have energy-related subcommittees.

SOURCES

Used in Audio

Virginia Legislative Information System, “2017 Session: House Bill 1679,” online at http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?ses=171&typ=bil&val=hb1679.

Virginia Legislative Information System, “2017 Session: Members of the General Assembly,” online at http://lis.virginia.gov/171/mbr/MBR.HTM.

Virginia Water Resources Research Center/Water Central News Grouper, “Water in the 2017 VA General Assembly: Fracking Chemical Disclosure Bills,” online at https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/2017/01/31/water-in-the-2017-va-general-assembly-fracking-chemical-disclosure-bills/.

For More Information about the Virginia General Assembly

Virginia Water Central News Grouper posts on the Virginia General Assembly (from 2012 to 2017) are available online at https://vawatercentralnewsgrouper.wordpress.com/?s=General+Assembly.

RELATED VIRGINIA WATER RADIO EPISODES

All Water Radio episodes are listed by category at the Index link above (http://www.virginiawaterradio.org/p/index.html). See particularly the Community/Organizations subject category.

Previous episodes on the Virginia General Assembly are the following.
Episode143, 1/7/13 – Music for the Past and Present of the Virginia General Assembly.
Episode 147, 2/4/13 – Committees Guide the Flow of Bills in the Virginia General Assembly.
Episode 196, 1/13/14 – The Virginia Legislature on its 396th Opening Day, January 8, 2014.
Episode 247, 1/5/15
– January Means State Budget Time in the Virginia General Assembly.
Episode 252, 2/9/15
– Voting on Water in the 2015 Virginia General Assembly.
Episode 297, 1/4/16 – Water’s on the Agenda—along with a Whole Lot Else—When the Virginia General Assembly Convenes.
Episode 302, 2/8/16 – Voting on Water in the 2016 Virginia General Assembly.
Episode 350, 1/9/17 – Old English Music Helps Preview the Old Dominion’s 2017 General Assembly.
Episode 353, 1/30/17 – Voting on Water in the 2017 Virginia General Assembly.

STANDARDS OF LEARNING (SOLs) FOR VIRGINIA TEACHERS

This episode may help with the following 2010 Science SOLs:

Grades K-6 Earth Resources Theme
6.9 – public policy decisions regarding the environment.

Life Science Course
LS.11 - relationships between ecosystem dynamics and human activity.

Earth Science Course
ES.6 – renewable vs. non-renewable resources (including energy resources).

Biology Course
BIO.8 – dynamic equilibria and interactions within populations, communities, and ecosystems; including effects of natural events and human activities.

The episode may also help with the following 2008 Social Studies SOLs:

Virginia Studies Course
VS.10 – knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

Civics and Economics Course
CE.1 – social studies skills that responsible citizenship requires.
CE.7 – government at the state level.
CE.9 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

Government Course

GOVT.1 – social studies skills that responsible citizenship requires.
GOVT.8 – state and local government organization and powers.
GOVT.9 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.
GOVT.16 – role of government in Va. and U.S. economies, including examining environmental issues and property rights.

The episode may also help with the following 2015 Social Studies SOLs, which become effective in the 2017-18 school year:

Virginia Studies Course
VS.10 – knowledge of government, geography, and economics in present-day Virginia.

Civics and Economics Course
CE.1 – social studies skills that responsible citizenship requires.
CE.7 – government at the state level.
CE.10 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.

Government Course
GOVT.1 – social studies skills that responsible citizenship requires.
GOVT.8 – state and local government organization and powers.
GOVT.9 – public policy at local, state, and national levels.
GOVT.15 – role of government in Va. and U.S. economies, including examining environmental issues and property rights.

Virginia’s SOLs are available from the Virginia Department of Education, online at http://www.doe.virginia.gov/testing/.