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GOP Goes Jobbing

Tackling the tough issues of space travel, masks and wind tolls.

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Republicans in the House of Delegates unanimously killed former Gov. Time Kaine's $1 billion plan to help plug the budget by adding a surtax on income taxes, saying Kaine's scheme would kill jobs.

Now, more than halfway through the legislative session, GOP delegates have proposed 34 jobs-creation bills. Many are solid if run-of-the-mill plans to cut business taxes and expand development money. Others have that special Republican je ne sais quoi:

Richmond, We Have a Problem. If you are on a commercial flight to outer space from the Wallops Island space facility and your spacecraft cannot return to Mother Earth, you can't file a lawsuit, according to legislation proposed by Delegate Terry G. Kilgore, R-Scott County.

Got Mesothelioma? Tough Luck! About 100,000 Americans whose jobs involve asbestos have died or will die from mesothelioma. Rates for the disease in shipyard-saturated Hampton Roads are seven times those of the national average. Another bill proposed by Kilgore would limit liability of companies being sued on the theory that doing so saves jobs.

Take That, Washington! Delegate Mark. L. Cole, R-Spotsylvania County, wants to exempt from federal regulation any product made in Virginia, and sold exclusively in Virginia. This doesn't apply to products sold to federal contractors. Another bill would end federal oversight of any firearm made in Virginia.

Try to Catch the Wind. With wind-generated power gaining popularity, the GOP wants to create a Virginia Offshore Wind Development Authority that would oversee wind generation more than three miles off the coast. The authority, sought by Henrico Delegate William Janis, would gather data and help apply for federal money. Are wind toll booths next?

But a White Sheet Is Always OK. Delegate Benjamin L. Cline, R-Lexington, wants to amend a state law that makes it a Class 6 felony to wear a mask in public if you're older than 16. The exemption would apply to emergency workers.

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