Friday, June 24, 2022

FOIA HB 980 Subcommittee Meeting July 26, 2022

Dear Members and Interested Parties:

This message is to provide notice that the first meeting of the HB 980 Subcommittee will be held at 10:00 AM in Subcommittee Room #2 of the Pocahontas Building, 900 E. Main St., Richmond, Virginia 23219.  Please see the attached agenda for more information, and please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or need additional information.

- Alan


Alan Gernhardt, Esq., Executive Director 
Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council

900 East Main St., 10th Floor

Richmond, Virginia 23219

(804) 698-1810 

1-866-448-4100 (toll free)

The staff of the Freedom of Information Advisory Council is authorized to issue advisory opinions. Please be advised that any staff advisory opinion delivered by e-mail is based solely upon the facts and information presented in your attached e-mail inquiry.

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Thursday, June 9, 2022

Returning from the Libertarian National Convention

Libertarian Party


A little over a week ago, 36 delegates and myself returned from the Libertarian National Convention in Reno, Nevada. I would like to start by thanking each and every delegate for investing their personal time, money, and energy into traveling at a time when costs are high and patience low. It was not an easy journey, but I appreciate our delegates for working to represent Virginia.

A new Libertarian National Committee was elected as were new members of the Judicial Committee. Amongst them heralds our very own Andrew Watkins, who is now the Region 5 representative. I ask you to join me in wishing him luck while serving in a thankless and often tumultuous position. I believe Andrew will represent us well in the coming term.

I would not be doing justice as your Chair if I did not acknowledge the tension at the convention or the diversity of our state delegates. Our delegation represented our state. This means Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Northern Virginia. It also means Central Virginia, Roanoke, and the Appalachian Mountains. I had many requests during convention and upon return asking what I will do to stop the clear divide in our representation.

I have no intention of silencing someone in our state party simply because we disagree.

I will always advocate for debate and conversation. I will always fight to represent a silenced candidate (even if it’s NOTA). I have certainly shouted at my fair share of protests and quietly communicated to form political alliances. I expect and encourage every Virginian to do the same.

Now is the time to become active within your communities and show them what being a Libertarian truly means. 

  • Begin outreach efforts and work on single-issue alliances in your region. 
  • Start a membership drive.
  • Do an organized volunteer effort in your community.
  • Remind your City and Town Councils what liberty means.

For some, this means homeschooling your children. For others, it’s proudly taking your AR-15 to the shooting range. From Pride festivals to homesteading, fight for your freedoms in a way that makes sense to you and your affiliate. Don’t allow disagreements in advocacy distract you from our unity against the ever-growing omnipotent state.

I believe bigotry is irrational and repugnant, but moreso, I believe in Virginia. We are the bedrock of liberty and freedom. It is time to stand up together and say no more to the government.

We must become ungovernable. We must reclaim liberty in Virginia.

In liberty,

Holly Ward
Chair, Libertarian Party of Virginia

Paid for by the Libertarian Party of Virginia. Not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee.

1601 WILLOW LAWN DR STE 304 PMB 1030
RICHMOND, VA 23230-3423

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Monday, June 6, 2022

Take Action to Stop Extreme Gun Control Package

Read this week's Grassroots Alert!
view the web version of this email
NRA-ILA: Institute for Legislative Action


Take Action to Stop Extreme Gun Control Package
Take Action to Stop Extreme Gun Control Package
Late last week, the House Judiciary Committee rammed through an extreme package of gun control measures on a party-line vote. If this terrible legislation becomes law, tens of millions of law-abiding gun owners would be turned into felons and their lawfully-acquired property would be subject to confiscation by federal agents. Nancy Pelosi plans to bring this to the U.S. House floor for a vote this week. 
New York Times: Gun Control Less Popular Than Advertised
New York Times: Gun Control Less Popular Than Advertised
By now you've seen the claim countless times. According to gun control advocates and their media lapdogs, some 90-percent of Americans support the criminalization of private firearm transfers – misleadingly termed by its proponents as "universal background checks." In a rare instance of journalistic integrity, the New York Times has published an article debunking this bogus gun control talking point.
Gun Control is About Stripping Rights NOT Stopping Crime
Gun Control is About Stripping Rights NOT Stopping Crime
Economics has a concept called "revealed preference." The gist is that a person's observed actions reveal more about their preferences than what a person might profess to prefer. As applied to anti-gun politicians, despite all the noise they might make about stopping the criminal misuse of guns, their actions reveal that their policies are designed to attack the rights of law-abiding Americans.
Biden Pushes 9mm Handgun Ban, Harris Wants to Ban Common Semi-autos
Biden Pushes 9mm Handgun Ban, Harris Wants to Ban Common Semi-autos
If anyone was still questioning the Biden-Harris administration's devotion to banning and confiscating law-abiding Americans' firearms, all doubt was erased this weekend.
The NRA Opposes Laws to Judicially Nullify Second Amendment Rights
The NRA Opposes Laws to Judicially Nullify Second Amendment Rights
As they unfailingly do, gun control proponents are using emotionally-charged moments of national tragedies to try to advance their pre-existing agenda to ban firearm ownership, or some portion of it, in whatever ways they can. Reports indicate that the leading proposals being considered by Congress concern what is commonly called "red flag" or "extreme risk protection order" legislation. The real purpose of these laws, however, is simply to empower judges to nullify Second Amendment rights with the stroke of a pen.


Delaware Delaware
Delaware: Gov. Carney Announces Gun Ban Package
Georgia Georgia
Save the Date for the GA NRA State Conference on June 25th!
Iowa Iowa
Iowa: General Assembly Adjourns from 2022 Legislative Session
Michigan Michigan
You are Invited to the NRA-ILA 2022 Michigan Political Update Meeting on June 7th!
North Carolina North Carolina
North Carolina: Gov. Cooper Calls for Gun Ban
Texas Texas
Governor Abbott Calls for Special Legislative Committees to Study Issues Related to School Shootings
Virginia Virginia
Virginia: Budget Passes Without Northam's $27 Million Anti-Gun Proposal
Wisconsin Wisconsin
You're Invited! NRA Wisconsin State Conference on June 18th!
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Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Budget Update

Update on General Assembly budget


A few weeks ago, Governor Youngkin called a Special Session of the General Assembly to hammer out the details of our two-year budget for the Commonwealth.

Members of the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee and the House Appropriations Committee have come to an agreement on a budget which brings me to Richmond today to vote on their proposal.

As I wrote about in a previous email, during the regular General Assembly session, I supported the House version of the budget due to the focus it had on tax relief and important priorities like school funding and resource officers. Coming into this budget cycle, Virginia was blessed with a projected budget surplus of more than $16 billion. This budget we just passed does much that I support and with which I strongly agree; however, it returns to the taxpayers only 25% of the surplus. With the developing fiscal train wreck in Washington, families are contending with financial challenges on all fronts — wages that just can’t keep up with record high gas prices, inflation at 30-year highs, rising interest rates, skyrocketing housing costs, and rising cost of food and electricity. We need to put those challenges of working Virginians first. We could do better, and with targeted amendments from the Governor, I am hopeful that we will. 

The compromise budget that the finance committees released this past weekend did contain some of those priorities… 

     Over $4.2 billion in tax relief in the form of one-time tax rebates for Virginians and standard deduction increases

     $730 million over two years for salary raises for teachers

     $113 million for law enforcement salary raises

     $100 million for lab school initiatives (although I would prefer charter schools rather than schools run by the universities    responsible for teaching public school teachers)

     $5 million for Operation Ceasefire funding

     $45 million over two years in support for the School Resource      Officer Incentive Grant Program

I am pleased to see general fund dollars being spent for transportation. For years, Democrats have argued that transportation must be funded exclusively from the Transportation Trust Fund (TTF) and that even in times of plenty, the expenditure of general funds for transportation is nothing more than a raid on education dollars. That argument has always been specious. The TTF consists primarily of gas tax revenues. The fact is that between increasing fuel economy and the advent of electric vehicles, our transportation dollars will need to come from somewhere else. I am disappointed, however, that all this general fund transportation money is being spent on widening the stretch of I-64 between New Kent and James City County and none on I-81.

I did not vote for this budget today for a few reasons. First, I believe in limiting the size and scope of government. This state budget is about two times the size of Governor McDonnells last budget. As Virginians continue to struggle with rising costs, we need to be diligent to limit government spending to the extent possible. We seem to aspire to a different goal — expanding government spending to the extent possible. A once in a lifetime opportunity to make major structural changes in Virginia tax policy was missed.

This budget also missed important opportunities and included many misguided spending initiatives: 

      No gas tax relief was included in this budget

      The grocery tax was not fully repealed

      $210 million was set aside for I-64 but none for I-81

      Tuition Assistance Grants for in-state students attending            Virginia’s private colleges and universities was increased to              $4,500, but students attending Virginia’s private Historically              Black Colleges and Universities will receive an additional                $5,000  ($9,000 total)

      We found $100,000 for the Sports Hall of Fame but inexplicably  no money included to provide Virginia Line of Duty Act benefits for the families of the two fallen Bridgewater officers

      $5 million for a CASA welcome center in Northern Virginia

      $10 million in financial aid for undocumented students

I examine closely the line items to which we are allocating taxpayer dollars because I believe strongly in our responsibility to stick to conservative and disciplined financial principles. This year we had the biggest surplus in Virginia history but did not take the critical step to reform our tax code to return more hard-earned dollars to Virginians who need it. I am however, confident that the Governor will offer amendments to the budget to address some of the issues I have raised. I look forward to voting for those amendments.

If you have questions about the budget process or about the line items in the budget, you can visit or you can email me at

Mark Obenshain

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