Arlington’s Del. Bob Brink (D) is hailing the passage of a bill that would create a pro-choice “Trust Women / Respect Choice” license plate option for Virginia drivers. The bill passed the Virginia House and the Senate over the weekend by votes of 64-30 and 22-15 respectively.
Brink, who introduced the original House version of the bill, called the vote “a victory both for reproductive rights and First Amendment principles.”
Brink says the bill will allow the state to “give equal treatment to the pro-choice position,” given last year’s creation of a “Choose Life” license plate.
The bill now heads to the desk of Gov. Bob McDonnell (R), who has said he doesn’t support Planned Parenthood, the organization that would receive revenue from the sale of the plates.
An imam from Falls Church gave a blessing at the state Capitol in Richmond today, despite protests from groups accusing him of being a “terrorist sympathizer.”
Del. Adam Ebbin (D), who represents part of Arlington and Falls Church, invited imam Johari Abdul-Malik of the Dar al-Hijrah Islamic Center to give today’s opening prayer.
Groups including the Virginia Anti-Shariah Task Force and the Traditional Values Coalition protested, citing Abdul-Malik’s comments about due process for Muslims arrested on terror charges, along with his mosque’s brief link to two of the 9/11 hijackers. In the past, Abdul-Malik has spoken out against violence and terrorism.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations issued a statement about the protests.
“We cannot let a vocal minority of hate-mongers deny American Muslims their constitutionally-guaranteed right to take part in the political process,” said Corey Saylor, the group’s national legislative director.
Abdul-Malik delivered the prayer around noon today. Del. David Englin (D), who represents part of south Arlington, said on Twitter that he “enjoyed” the blessing, adding that it was “very well done.”
In an earlier statement, Abdul-Malik said: “My hope is that from this gathering we will all get know each other and build new bridges of understanding, no matter how much some narrow-minded people dislike it.”
Del. David Englin (D), who represents part of Arlington in the Virginia House of Delegates, released a statement today about the proposed elimination of the Virginia Commission for the Arts. Englin called the Republican-backed measure a “shortsighted, high-risk scheme.”
Del. Englin’s full statement, after the jump.
Almost missed this one. While we were in the midst of yesterday’s blizzard, the Virginia House of Delegates passed a bill that would ban the forced implantation of microchips in people.
RFID chips are already being implanted in humans voluntarily for use as portable health records. Some groups have objected to the use of implantable microchips due to privacy concerns. But some fundamentalist Christians — and at least two Virginia lawmakers – believe that the microchips may be used as the antichrist’s “mark of the beast,” from the Book of Revelations.
The House bill will ban companies from requiring their customers or employees to implant the chips. So far, there have been no reported cases of a forced microchip implantation, leading some to question the necessity of the bill.
Del. Robert H. Brink (D-Arlington) said on the House floor that he did not find many voters demanding microchip legislation when he was campaigning last fall: “I didn’t hear anything about the danger of asteroids striking the Earth, about the threat posed by giant alligators in our cities’ sewer systems or about the menace of forced implantation of microchips in human beings.”