Mon12222014

Last updateWed, 27 Dec 2017 12am

   201412metrocast

Panel Amends, OKs ‘Boneta Bill’

Richmond – Supporters of the so-called Boneta Bill, aimed at protecting the rights of farmers, came to Capitol Square wearing pitchfork buttons with stickers that said, “Stay out of grandma’s kitchen.” They lined the wall of a conference room where the House Agriculture Subcommittee met Monday to decide whether to recommend approval of the measure.

Virginians in support of the bill and lobbyists against it came from all over the state to share their perspective. After an hour of debate, the subcommittee voted 6-1 in support of the legislation.

House Bill 1430, sponsored by Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter, R-Woodbridge, now goes to the full House Committee on Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources. The committee is scheduled to consider the proposal Wednesday [Jan. 30].

The subcommittee did not approve the original bill but instead added an amendment.

The amendment would require the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services to look at the state’s existing Right to Farm Act and the issues surrounding it, and create model regulations for the entire state. The General Assembly would vote on the regulations in 2014.

The amendment will “allow the issue to be considered in a more timely manner,” Delegate Robert Orrock, R-Thornburg, said. “I don’t feel comfortable voting on a bill today that the Farm Bureau and Agribusiness Council” do not agree with.

The amendment also changes the expanded definition of agricultural operations.

Under the original wording of HB 1430, agricultural operations would include farm-to-business and farm-to-consumer sales. It also mentioned specific items such as art, literature, artifacts, furniture, food and beverages.

The amendment removed the specific listing of items.

Supporters of the original bill had a positive reaction to the subcommittee’s vote.

“Anything that’s good for the small farmer is a step in the right direction,” Martha Boneta, the bill’s namesake, said.

Trey Davis, governmental representative for the Virginia Farm Bureau, said the amendment addressed some of his group’s concerns. But he said the Farm Bureau still has some issues with the bill. He said the bureau believes the current law has it right.

“What’s been so beneficial about the Right to Farm Act is that it gives localities the ability to promote ordinances that protect agro-tourism and value-added products,” Davis said.

The Boneta Bill has been in the national spotlight since August 2012 when Fauquier County officials cited Boneta with violations for hosting seasonal events and selling handicrafts.

Boneta said the county fined her for having a children’s birthday party on her farm. She said county officials found out about the party by looking at the Facebook page for her business, Paris Barns.

Kimberley Johnson, the chief of zoning and development services for Fauquier County, said Boneta was not fined for anything. She said the violation was for selling goods not produced on her farm.

“To our understanding of what (Boneta) wanted to do, she needed to get an administrative permit,” Johnson said. “The permit would have cost $150.”

The permit would have allowed county staff to confirm that the public had safe access and sufficient parking, as well as adequate restroom facilities.

Besides the Boneta Bill, the House Agriculture Subcommittee also considered HB 1839. It sought to allow private homes and farms to make foodstuffs without being subject to regulations that apply to larger food establishments.

The subcommittee rejected the measure and recommended that it be tabled.

How They Voted

Here is how the House Agriculture Subcommittee voted Monday on HB 1430, which would expand the definition of agricultural operations in the state’s Right to Farm Act. The subcommittee recommended that the bill be approved with an amendment.

YEAS – Marshall, D.W., Orrock, Poindexter, Knight, Morefield, James – 6.

NAYS – Sickles – 1.

By Jessica Dahlberg

Capital News Service

Fort A.P. Hill holds public meetings to inform area residents

In an effort to reassure its neighbors about its future expansion plans, officials from Ft. A.P. Hill have held a series of meetings to talk with the public about issues affecting the area surrounding the large Army post including complaints about noise.

Read more: Fort A.P. Hill holds public meetings to inform area residents

Area Lawmakers Divided by Redistricting Controversy

RICHMOND – Sen. Creigh Deeds, D-Bath, and Sen. Emmett Hanger Jr., R-Mount Solon, are friends. And they’ll remain friends, Deeds says, even if a controversial measure Hanger voted for costs Deeds his seat in the Virginia Senate.
Deeds is the odd man out of the redistricting measure passed on Monday by Senate Republicans. The measure would combine his and Hanger’s districts and create a sixth majority-African-American Senate district.

Read more: Area Lawmakers Divided by Redistricting Controversy

Rally Marks Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Remley thanks the legislators present at the rally for their work and support.

RICHMOND – Abortion rights supporters made their way to the state Capitol grounds on Tuesday to mark the 40th anniversary of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe v. Wade decision and to look to the future of women’s rights in Virginia.

Read more: Rally Marks Anniversary of Roe v. Wade

Christmastime at Popes Creek Plantation in Colonial Days

George Washington’s first childhood Christmases in Westmoreland County weren’t geared toward providing a magical time for the children. It was the adults who celebrated with parties, dances, and visits from friends and family.

The holidays were a time of generosity and universal hospitality. No one would have been turned away, or denied participation in the feasting and drinking. Games, music and dancing, and even fireworks were on the agenda for the celebration that began on Christmas day, and lasted for twelve days and nights.

Food, then, as it is today, was a large part of the celebration. Plenty of strong drinks, including wine, brandy, and rum punches, were consumed. Portions of rum were even given to the slaves, in hopes of keeping them happy enough to stay around and work during their very few days given off from work during the holiday season.

Decorations of the time included door wreaths and garlands of local greenery. Holly and ivy would’ve been strung throughout the house. There was no Christmas tree, but caroling was a part of young George Washington’s memories of Christmas. He would’ve known the song The Twelve Days of Christmas, but not as a holiday song. Instead, reciting it was a method of learning numbers for the children.

Join the staff and volunteers of George Washington Birthplace National Monument this Saturday, January 5, 2013, in celebrating the Washington Family Christmas. Admission to the Park is free everyday, and the event will take place from 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.

Costumed volunteers and staff members will be hosting a Christmas party much like the Washington family might have done in the 1730s. Cooks will prepare a lavish feast while visitors enjoy the mouth-watering smells from their creations. Children will be playing with their Christmas toys and enjoying the decorations in the Memorial House.

Demonstrations of the plantation work, like blacksmithing and spinning (which took place holiday or not) will be ongoing throughout the day. Visitors staying until dusk will be treated to the once-a-year lighting of candle lanterns along the pathways from the Visitor Center to the Memorial House in the historic area. The Bookstore/Gift Shop will be open until 7 p.m., as well.

For more information, contact:

George Washington Birthplace National Monument, 1732 Popes Creek Road, Washington’s Birthplace, VA 22443

(804) 224-1732

 

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