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Afternoon Read: Valentine's Day in the DMV

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Many Virginians won’t be celebrating Valentine's Day today with a traditional candlelight dinner.

    Members of Virginia Organizing will instead participate in the “broken hearts day of action” by protesting recent Virginia Legislative decisions to restrict abortion, voting and gay rights.

    “Virginians voted for legislators who promised to work on jobs and the economy and instead have focused on far-flung legislation like restricting voting rights, lifting the one gun per month limit, restricting gay adoptions and drug testing public assistance recipients,” Sandra Cook, Chairperson of Virginia Organizing, said on the organization's blog.

    The Washington Post reported that activists will distribute empty heart-shaped candy boxes to the legislators with a note inside that says, “Disappointed? So are we!”

    In another protest, same-sex couples will be making their annual trek to courthouses throughout the state to get marriage certificates knowing that they will be denied.

    “These actions are part of a growing movement in Virginia to recognize the value of all families,’’ the Rev. Robin H. Gorsline, president of People of Faith for Equality in Virginia told The Washington Post. “We witness for marriage for ourselves as persons already married in the eyes of God and our faith communities, for our children, and for the well-being of our communities and the wider society.”

    * Is D.C. a romantic city?

    Video journalist AJ Chavar sets to prove everyone who says that D.C. isn’t a romantic city wrong and talks to a number of happy couples that met and live in D.C. Watch Chavar’s touching video here. Happy Valentine’s Day!

    * A bill that would require citizenship checks of every person arrested in Virginia easily passed through the House today.

    VIA the RTD:

    "This is not an anti-immigrant policy," said the bill’s sponsor, Del. Richard Anderson, R-Prince William. "This is an anti-criminal illegal alien policy."

    Del. Alfonso Lopez, D-Arlington, responded:

    "Under this bill, suddenly low-level, non-dangerous arrestees will be getting torn from their families and sucked into the immigrant detention system," he said. "It will drive a wedge between immigrant communities and law enforcement, and as a result, we will all be less safe."

    *The Baltimore Sun reported that Obama’s $3.8 trillion proposed budget for 2013 would negatively impact Maryland in four main areas: pension costs, funding for Chesapeake Bay cleanup, teaching hospitals like John Hopkins and research grants.

    The budget would require federal employees to increase their contribution to their own retirement plans by 1.2 percent over three years. Ten percent—or about 300,000—of Maryland's workforce are civilian federal employees.

    Read more here.

    * Fiscal reports released Monday found that two proposals at the heart of Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley’s environmental plans could hurt small businesses, The Washington Post reported.

    Via The Post:

    “Restricting large housing developments built with septic systems, which O’Malley said would safeguard farmland and protect the Chesapeake Bay, “may have a meaningful adverse impact on many small business residential developers, homebuilders, and associated contractors,” according to a nonpartisan analysis by the state’s Department of Legislative Services.”

    The “flush tax” on water usage for Chesapeake Bay restoration could mean that small businesses would pay an increase of more than 250 percent in bay restoration fees.

    * O’Malley, chairman of the Democratic Governors Association, and Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell, chairman of the Republican Governors Association, have an undeniable rivalry. The two faced off on CNN on Feb.5 to spout their different takes on why the economy is improving.
    O’Malley said on air that Maryland is creating jobs at 2.5 times the rate as Virginia is.

    But PolitiFact Virginia reported that O’Malley’s statement was plain wrong.

    He based his statement on the two state’s employment numbers in January and December of 2011 and comparing the percentages of increase. Maryland came out ahead under O’Malley’s formula, but not quite by the magnitude the governor claimed.

    Two economists told us better measurements would come from comparing unadjusted job figures from the same month in different years. Under this formula, using numbers from December 2010 and December 2011, the two states essentially came out even. When we compared each month in 2010 to its counterpart in 2011, Virginia usually came out ahead of Maryland.

    Looks like someone needs a fact-checker.