Gov. McDonnell Outlines Priorities in State of Commonwealth Speech

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) - Gov. Bob McDonnell is using his annual address to the state to make one big, last push for a lasting legislative legacy, urging lawmakers to embrace his education and transportation reforms.

He also threw in a surprise Wednesday, asking the lawmakers to approve bills that allow nonviolent felons' civil rights to be automatically restored.

McDonnell already has sketched out reforms that condition a 2 percent raise for teachers on new laws making underperforming faculty easier to fire, and his plan to replace Virginia's 17½-cents-per-gallon gasoline tax with a sales tax increase to replenish dwindling road maintenance funds.

McDonnell also asks legislators to establish a process to restore rights to vote, serve on a jury and other privileges people forfeit for felony convictions. Only the governor can restore those rights now.

You can read McDonnell's entire speech here.

Del. David Toscano, a Democrat from Charlottesville, gave the Democratic response to McDonnell's speech. He agreed with many of the governor's proposals, and said the party was willing to discuss the governor's ideas on transportation.

But he blamed Republicans for not giving enough money to public education during McDonnell's term.

"During the last several years, the unfortunate response to our educational challenges from some of our Republican colleagues is to propose further cuts in K-12 funding, while providing more resources for private schools," said Toscano. "In the Democratic view, that is the wrong way to go."

Toscano said several times during his speech that Democrats are willing to reach across the aisle and work with Republicans during the General Assembly session.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

The comments sections of are designed for thoughtful, intelligent conversation and debate. We want to hear from our viewers, but we ask that you follow our rules for commenting. E-mail is required to comment on a story, but it will not be displayed with your comment. For complete rules, CLICK HERE. The Newsplex reserves the right to not post or to remove any comment.
powered by Disqus
The Charlottesville Newsplex 999 2nd Street S.E. Charlottesville, VA 22902 434.242.1919 – Main 434.220.7522 - Newsroom
Copyright © 2002-2014 - Designed by Gray Digital Media - Powered by Clickability 186251802 -
Gray Television, Inc.