Bill would help restore state-federal balance

Published 9:35 pm Friday, January 28, 2011

The wintery weather here in Richmond wasn’t enough to stop us from doing the people’s business this week. Among committee meetings, presentation of bills to committees, longer floor sessions and the number of groups that are visiting us, the days seem to be flying by very quickly now that we have gotten into the thick of the 2011 General Assembly session.

This week, I would like to highlight the House’s passage of the Repeal Amendment.

On Tuesday, the House of Delegates took a major step in our efforts to re-balance the role of the federal government when we passed the Repeal Amendment, HJ 542. The Repeal Amendment, co-patroned by a total of 51 delegates, including myself, is legislation that enables two-thirds of the States to convene an amendment convention pursuant to Article V of the United States Constitution. The convention would then consider a constitutional amendment allowing the repeal of any federal law or regulation by a vote of two-thirds of the state legislatures acting in unison.

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Simply put, the Repeal Amendment would give states the ability to overturn highly unpopular laws. However, as the Repeal Amendment would require two-thirds of all states to call for a convention and ratify proposed amendments, only particularly unpalatable laws and regulations would likely be acted upon.

I supported this important legislation, because I am concerned that the federal government has grown so large that it can no longer govern in an efficient and responsive fashion. Giving states a limited check on federal power will reign in the scope of the federal government, increase efficiency, and encourage an atmosphere in Washington more closely aligned with the intent of our founding fathers.

The House of Delegates passed the Repeal Amendment on a 59 to 34 vote, and now this legislation will go before the State Senate. You can track the progress of HJ 542 by accessing the Virginia General Assembly website. Currently, a Senate version of the Repeal Amendment has been stalled in the Privileges and Elections Committee.

My Legislation

States throughout the nation, including our commonwealth are facing underfunded pension plans for state employees. In an effort to address this funding issue, I have introduced House Bill 2465 seeking to create a defined contribution retirement program for state and local employees hired on or after Jan. 1, 2012, in place of the current defined benefit plan.

This legislation also provides for employees hired prior to Jan. 1, 2010, to elect to become members of the defined contribution plan in lieu of the current defined benefit plan. The defined contribution plan is similar to the 401(k) style pension plans of the private sector.

I encourage you to track the progress of HB2465 and to provide me with your comments.

My website,, has a complete listing of the bills I have introduced during this session, as well as an on-line survey. I hope you will take a moment to participate and provide your responses to my survey.

Contact Me

As always, my staff and I are here in Richmond to serve you. We want to hear what you think about the legislation pending before the House, or if there’s anything we can do to help you in dealing with a state government agency.

My office can be reached at (804) 698-1076 or via the Internet at If you are planning to visit Richmond during Session, I encourage you to visit me in Room 720.

Thank you again for allowing me to serve as your delegate.

Chris Jones represents the 76th Legislative District in Virginia’s House of Delegates.