Excerpts: Ken Cuccinelli answers readers' questions
Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli took questions from Washington Post readers online earlier today. Below are some of his responses.
Centreville Virginia: Ken, How do we encourage people, not force, as the recent legislation does, to buy health insurance for themselves? I am in total agreement with your lawsuit, but wonder how the number of uninsured can be reduced. Would tax incentives or some type of consequence work?
Ken Cuccinelli: Another great question. There are a lot of things we can do, though no silver bullets. Certainly we need to be backing government out of its dominant role in the healthcare sector. That mostly has to happen at the federal level. At the state level, we can let people buy health insurance across state lines to increase choice and competition, both b/n states and b/n insurance companies.
Arlington, VA: How would you say the culture and politics of Northern Virginia has changed since you grew up here?
Ken Cuccinelli: A couple of points here: 1) we've become much more diverse with the influx of people from all over the world. 2) we've also gotten bigger (more people), which is great insofar as our local economy has grown, unfortunately a big chunk of that growth has been driven by a massively growing federal government... and that's not good.
Fairfax VA: You are against abortion. You also have opposed capital punishment. Are there any situations in which you approve either?
Ken Cuccinelli: 1) To save the life of the mother. 2) Actually, I think capital punishment is constitutional and an appropriate part of a criminal justice system. However, I am very cautious in my support for the death penalty, and I have frequently resisted significant expansions of the death penalty.
Arlington, VA: I know it's your job to enforce laws, but I am very opposed to the VA smoking ban, as it infringes on the rights of property owners, though I realize it's within the police powers of states to do so. I just don't like being in a nanny state. What are the odds that VA might change it's laws to allow bar bars, ones that don't have to serve food, so that these places can go on to allow smokers to drink, like adults, and non smokers can be very free to completely avoid these places. Right now, VA does not allow bar bars, as they must be primarily a restaurant.
Ken Cuccinelli: You know, that question has come up before and I've never seen much willingness in the General Assembly to break down our restaurant classifications further. If I remember correctly, right now the main breakdown is simply serves alcohol or doesn't serve alcohol. Proportion of food vs. alcohol is a factor for some ABC regs, but not for much else that I'm aware of.
Perhaps after the smoking ban is in place a while there might be a move to create such a distinction, but I don't see it yet.
Winchester, Va.: Hi Ken. As you know, illegal immigration is a nation wide problem. It affects the labor market and is related to an increase in gang activity. Is Virginia going to follow Arizona's lead and crack down on illegal immigration within the Commonwealth?
Ken Cuccinelli: Certainly the Az situation has invigorated interest in this topic, including here in Virginia. The Az ruling can be VERY ROUGHLY broken down: 1) Az's blocking of sanctuary cities was allowed to stand; 2) Az's tough regulatory requirements on businesses that intentionally hire illegals was allowed to stand; however, 3) most of the law enforcement elements of the law were enjoined for now. Interestingly, some of these are quite fixable, if Az wanted to do it.
In Va., last month, we began a partnership with ICE called "Secure Communities" which makes Va. one of only two states that can run every single arrestee through not only a background criminal database, but also through the DHS database to flag illegals. For serious offenders, ICE has committed to come pick them up. So, in some respects, we're in a much better position than a lot of other states.
Christopher Dean Hopkins
July 30, 2010; 4:39 PM ET
Categories: Ken Cuccinelli
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