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Morning Read: Senate Passes Controversial Voter ID Bill

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AM Read: Va. Senate Passes Voter ID Bill

Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling’s tiebreaking vote passed a bill that would force voters who do not present specific forms of identification on Election Day to cast a provisional ballot.

The 20-20 vote on the voter identification bill in the Virginia State Senate was split along party lines.

Democrats and African Americans argued that the extra ID requirements would make it harder for minorities, the elderly, and students to vote.

The bills’ opponents also questioned why, without any evidence of previous widespread voting fraud, such a bill was necessary.

Currently, voters without identification at the polls can cast a normal ballot by signing an affidavit attesting to their identity.

The version of the legislation passed Monday allows for more types of identification to be used than the originally proposed bill.

Read more about the bill's history here.

* The Virginia Senate voted yesterday to kill a bill that would have repealed the state's five-year-old requirement for girls to get the vaccine against the human papillomavirus before entering sixth grade.

The Senate voted 22-17 to postpone the legislation until 2013. Two Republics voted with Democrats to postpone the bill.

The bill had already passed through the House.

According the The Post, Virginia was the first state in the country to mandate that girls receive the vaccine against HPV in 2006.

* The amended version of the abortion bill that would require women to get an ultrasound prior to an abortion goes before the Senate again today.

The original bill called for women to get an invasive transvaginal ultrasound prior to an abortion. The bill that is being voted on today makes that procedure optional, but does require an abdominal ultrasound.

* The House passed a bill Monday that would require Amazon to start remitting a sales tax in Virginia in 2013.

The bill, according to The Richmond Times, represents a compromise reached by Gov. Bob McDonnell and Amazon, which announced plans in December to build two large distribution centers in Chesterfield and Dinwiddie counties.

The legislation now goes back to the Senate.

* A circuit court In Richmond dismissed a lawsuit Monday against Virginia’s map of congressional districts, making it very likely that the proposed map will become law.

A group of Virginians filed suit in November in both state and federal courts arguing that the General Assembly approved the map in 2012, even though state statue says it needed to be done in 2011.

The plaintiffs had wanted the courts to draw new maps.

The federal suit was also dismissed two weeks ago. The U.S. Department of Justice must now confirm that the new congressional map is compliant with the Voting Rights Act.

Via Washington Post:

“We are pleased that the court has granted our motion for summary judgment,” state Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) said Monday in a statement issued by his office. “As we have said from the very beginning, both the U.S. Constitution and the Virginia Constitution provide that redistricting is a matter to be handled by the General Assembly.”

* Who says lobbyists and politicians can’t be friends?

Gov. Bob McDonnell will be playing guard in the annual basketball showdown with lobbyists Tuesday night.

McDonnell’s lineup includes Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli at forward. The game will benefit the VCU Massey Cancer Center.

After the game with lobbyists, members of the House of Delegates and Senate will face-off on the court.

The game is at VCU’s Siegel Center and open to the public.

* Virginia politicians have been generating a lot of YouTube videos lately. Last week Del. Dave Albo went viral after he said all the transvaginal ultrasound abortion talk turned his wife off when he tried to romance her.

In another popular video from the House floor, Del. Scott Surovell, a Northern Virginian Democrat, debated against a doctrine that would allow someone to use deadly force to protect their homes on February 8.

He was trying to paint a scenario of him campaigning door-to-door, but when he said “I’m a delegate running for office,” someone in the House yelled “SHOOT HIM.”

The exchange went back and forth and was received with laughter from both parties. Watch the video here.

* Hundreds of union members gathered Monday night outside the State House to support everything labor-friendly and protest “a growing anti-union national sentiment,” according to the Post.

One of the biggest concerns among union members is Gov. O’Malleys budget proposal to shift half of teacher pension costs from the state to local governments.

The rally drew members from the Communications Workers of America, Baltimore County Federation of Public Employees, United Auto Workers and more.

* At a D.C. Council hearing Monday, officials of the Children and Youth Investment Trust said federal authorities had asked that some operations of the trust be avoided while the federal criminal probe continues.

Former Council member Harry Thomas Jr. resigned when he pleaded guilty to two felonies in the theft of $300,000 in grant monies intended for youth programs from this trust.

Read more here.

* President Obama had a fundraising event at the Jefferson Hotel in D.C. Monday.

According to campaign officials the president met with about 25 supporters at the hotel. The intimate gathering had a price tag of $35,800.

Proceeds go to a joint fundraising committee authorized by Obama for America and the Democratic National Committee.

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