Attorney General rains on the transportation parade

rain-on-roadCall it the General’s smack down of the General Assembly.

The “Medicaid for Transportation” deal that was brokered between the House of Delegates and the State Senate to ensure Gov. Bob McDonnell’s $6 billion tax increase could be foisted on Virginia taxpayers is, in a word, unconstitutional. At least according to Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli.

The Office of the Attorney General has provided their official legal opinion and has stated that…

1) Regional taxation is a non-starter and
2) A subcommittee to determine Medicaid expansion is an abdication of the General Assembly’s responsibilities.

Since it’s baseball season, I guess we’re getting “Two for the price of one.”

To be specific…

HB 2313’s imposition of taxes in the specific localities constitutes a local law related to taxation prohibited by Article IV, § 14(5) of the Virginia Constitution. Further, because the taxes were imposed directly by the General Assembly, the taxes cannot be saved by the provisions of Article VII, § 2, even if they had obtained the affirmative vote of two-thirds of the members elected to each house.

and, with respect to Medicaid…

[T]he General Assembly may not delegate final legislative authority regarding budgetary or other matters to a committee composed of a subset of the members of the General Assembly.


Now, this is just the AG’s opinion. But that’s awfully good standing if you want to bring a lawsuit. And, considering Governor McDonnell’s record on transportation constitutionality, probably not somewhere he wants to go.

  • That’s to be expected, as some of us have been saying there are constitutional problems with the bill for a while. I expect we will see suits pretty quick after the bill is signed.

    • Brian Evans

      What type of Constitutional issues do you see with the bill?

      • The ones outlined the AG opinion, although I still think there’s an Article X Section 1 issue, too.

  • Greg L

    Bob Marshall strikes out the establishment not once, but twice again with these requests. When are they ever going to learn that when Marshall says something is unconstitutional it’s a pretty sure bet that whatever competent legal authority is asked to consider his arguments, it’s probably going to agree with him. Now Speaker Howell, I hope you will take this opinion, fold it very carefully, and… Well, you certainly would get the message here.

    • Bob isn’t always right when it comes to the constitutionality of legislation – he’s introduce a couple of unconstitutional bills himself. But when it comes to the taxation issue, he’s correct.

  • Scout

    I imagine that this was where the Governor’s review was heading in any event and that the AG opinion is just catching up with what he knows the Governor’s people are doing to revise the legislation in any event. It gives the AG a chance to say he caused something to happen that was going to happen in any event.

  • VETO HB2313

    Dear Hon. Governor Bob McDonnell:

    Governor Bob McDonnell, You do not have authority to adulterate our laws by signing unconstitutional legislation.

    The fact that officials have called HB2313 “the transportation bill” or “Historic Transportation Legislation” is prima facie evidence that HB2313 is unconstitutional under

    “Constitution of Virginia Article IV Section 12. Form of laws. No law shall embrace more than one object, which shall be expressed in its title” . . .

    The obvious length and fraud supporting vagueness and complexity of HB2313 confirms that it is a clearly in violation.


    shows that HB2313 also unconstitutionally violates Article X Sections 1 & 4.

    If you so adulterate our law by authorizing the unconstitutional HB2313 to appear as the law of Virginia you will be knowingly and willingly perpetrating VA18.2-111 felony and will be publicly witnessed as “Resisting the execution of the laws under the color of its authority” which is the perpetration of VA18.2-481(5) statutory treason.

    VA18.2-111 applies because you inhabit your office under an oath of trust.

    Because others have gotten away with the same felony that does not lessen your intended felony one bit.

    You need to change your intent and VETO HB2313.


  • Regional taxes were a constitutional non starter. I was frankly surprised that the bill passed as written. This is poor leadership, and there are folks in Richmond who voted for this bill who certainly should have known better. They didn’t need Ken to tell them what they already knew, but I am glad he did. And quite eloquently as usual…

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