Liberty Advocate: Cloud Hangs over Same-Sex Couples in Virginia

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nicholas Cote
(571) 425-1261
nicholas.cote@rwfvirginia.org

Liberty Advocate: Cloud Hangs over Same-Sex Couples in Virginia
Nonpartisan libertarian advocacy group prepared to mobilize Virginians for marriage freedom if Supreme Court does not settle the question

Washington, DC (April 28, 2015) – In light of today’s hearing at the United States Supreme Court regarding the constitutionality of same-sex marriage bans, Right Way Forward Virginia, a nonpartisan libertarian advocacy organization, issued the following statement attributable to its president, Nicholas Cote:

“Among Right Way Forward Virginia’s top priorities is ensuring equal protection of the laws, including marriage laws. We celebrate the marriages gay and lesbian couples in Virginia now enjoy following federal court rulings striking down Virginia’s same-sex marriage ban. However, until the Supreme Court rules on this case, a giant cloud hangs over same-sex couples in the Commonwealth of Virginia.

“Unfortunately, legislation that would have lifted that cloud failed again in the Virginia General Assembly this year. Conservative legislators stymied all efforts to repeal the statutory and constitutional prohibition of same-sex marriage, as well as legislation that would make sections of the state code regarding marriage, adoption, and inheritance gender-neutral.

“Even legislation prohibiting workplace discrimination against LGBT public employees, a simple statement of government policy, did not receive a floor vote in the House of Delegates.

“If the Court does not settle the question, Virginians should demand candidates for General Assembly pledge to stand up for marriage freedom.”

Right Way Forward Virginia (RWFVirginia.org) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to promoting liberty, dynamism, and equal rights.

Virginia Senate Fails to Take “First Step” Toward Ending Policing for Profit

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Contact: Nicholas Cote
(571) 425-1261
nicholas.cote@rwfvirginia.org

Virginia Senate Fails to Take “First Step” Toward Ending Policing for Profit
House of Delegates overwhelmingly passed reform in 2015 session, but Virginia Senate again avoids floor vote “for further study”

Richmond, VA (April 15, 2015) – Right Way Forward Virginia, a nonpartisan libertarian advocacy group, criticized the latest delay tactic to prevent a vote in the Virginia Senate on an amendment to require a criminal conviction before an individual’s property can be permanently forfeited to law enforcement.

The amendment to SB 721 mirrored standalone legislation (HB 1287) that overwhelmingly passed in the House of Delegates earlier this year. The Senate Courts of Justice Committee reported HB 1287 before Republican Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment referred it to the Senate Finance Committee, which passed by the bill indefinitely “for further study.” The Virginia Senate today passed by SB 721 and again deferred to the Virginia Crime Commission.

“The Virginia Senate failed to take this important first step toward comprehensive asset forfeiture reform,” stated Right Way Forward Virginia President Nicholas Cote. “The presumption of innocence is a bedrock of our criminal justice system, but Virginia’s asset forfeiture laws turn that principle on its head.”

“Virginians deserve to know where their state senators stand on this important issue,” Cote continued. “Basic due process rights don’t need to be studied. They ought to be protected — immediately.”

The stalled reform in Virginia stands in stark contrast to the recent passage and signing of an even more comprehensive asset forfeiture reform bill in New Mexico. That legislation requires the proceeds of criminal forfeiture to be sent to the general treasury and closes a loophole enabling law enforcement agencies to bypass that requirement through the federal equitable sharing program.

“As long as law enforcement agencies retain the proceeds of forfeiture, rather than send them to the general treasury, the perverse incentive remains for police to prioritize crimes involving large amounts of cash, such as drug crimes,” Cote stated. “Pursuing justice and preventing violence ought to be the top priorities for law enforcement, not padding their budgets.”

“Grassroots Virginians should continue pushing for comprehensive state asset forfeiture reforms while also urging Virginia’s congressional delegation to cosponsor the Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act.”

The Fifth Amendment Integrity Restoration Act (S. 255/H.R. 540), introduced earlier this year by Senator Rand Paul of Kentucky and Representative Tim Walberg of Michigan, would limit policing for profit and establish important new safeguards for innocent property owners. This bipartisan legislation has over 30 cosponsors, but none representing the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on asset forfeiture earlier today.

Right Way Forward Virginia (RWFVirginia.org) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to promoting liberty, dynamism, and equal rights.

Virginia’s Forbes Among Conservatives in Congress Playing Fast and Loose with Federalism

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Contact: Nicholas Cote
(571) 425-1261
nicholas.cote@rwfvirginia.org

Virginia’s Forbes Among Conservatives in Congress Playing Fast and Loose with Federalism
Rep. Randy Forbes of Virginia’s 4th Congressional District is an original cosponsor of bill that would override state laws and stifle innovation

Washington, DC (March 25, 2015) – Following today’s hearing in the House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, Homeland Security, and Investigations on the “Restoration of America’s Wire Act” (H.R. 707), libertarian advocate and Right Way Forward Virginia President Nicholas Cote released the following statement:

“Contrary to all their campaign rhetoric about limited government and federalism, some so-called conservatives in Congress including Representative Randy Forbes of Virginia’s 4th Congressional District have demonstrated their willingness to play fast and loose with these principles by pushing H.R. 707, more accurately called the Federal Online Gambling Ban.

“Make no mistake, if passed, the Federal Online Gambling Ban would override duly enacted state laws legalizing online gambling. With the brute force of the federal government, this legislation will stifle innovation and may destroy thousands of jobs.

“What’s also troubling about this bill is that alleged conservatives are reportedly pushing this federal overreach at the urging of one mega-donor while ignoring the overwhelming grassroots opposition among conservative and libertarian activists and organizations. The federal government shouldn’t be in the business of protecting Las Vegas casino owners from competition.

“Virginians who support limited government should urge their members of Congress to oppose this bill, in particular House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte.”

Right Way Forward Virginia (RWFVirginia.org) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to promoting liberty, dynamism, and equal rights.

Congress Should Follow Richmond’s Lead and End Hemp Ban

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Contact: Nicholas Cote
(571) 425-1261
nicholas.cote@rwfvirginia.org


Advocate: Congressional Delegation Should Follow Richmond’s Lead and End Hemp Ban

Bipartisan legislation to remove federal restrictions on industrial hemp currently has no Virginia cosponsors

Richmond, VA (February 3, 2015) – Following the passage of the Virginia Industrial Hemp Farming Act (H.B.1277) in the House of Delegates today, Right Way Forward Virginia President Nicholas Cote issued the following statement:

“Industrial hemp has tens of thousands of economic uses. H.B.1277 is common sense legislation that benefits farmers, entrepreneurs, job seekers, and consumers alike.

“Unfortunately, federal law still considers industrial hemp a Schedule I controlled substance even though it is not a drug. The federal ban must be lifted for Virginia to build a more dynamic economy and become the leader for industrial hemp cultivation and manufacturing.

“Delegate Joseph Yost’s bill would not have passed without the groundswell of grassroots action by farmers, entrepreneurs, and libertarian activists. The next step is to keep up the pressure and get the bill through the Virginia Senate and signed by the governor.

“Then, Virginians should urge Senators Mark Warner and Tim Kaine to cosponsor S.134 and their U.S. Representative to cosponsor H.R.525. This bipartisan legislation to end the federal ban on industrial hemp has almost 50 cosponsors in the U.S. House but none from the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Right Way Forward Virginia (RWFVirginia.org) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to promoting liberty, dynamism, and equal rights.

Virginia Libertarian Group Announces Dynamism Agenda for 2015 General Assembly

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Contact: Nicholas Cote
(571) 425-1261
nicholas.cote@rwfvirginia.org

Virginia Libertarian Group Announces Dynamism Agenda for 2015 General Assembly
Right Way Forward Virginia agenda promotes criminal justice reform, equal rights, and economic liberty

Richmond, VA (January 14, 2015) – Right Way Forward Virginia, a nonprofit, nonpartisan grassroots advocacy organization has sent its 2015 Dynamism Agenda to all Virginia Delegates and Senators and urged them to advance liberty and equal rights in this session of the General Assembly.

“Avoiding new taxes, burdensome regulations, and unsustainable spending are just a part of the equation to encourage growth and prosperity,” stated Right Way Forward Virginia President Nicholas Cote. “Virginia’s economy will be even more dynamic if the General Assembly opens new markets, enables more Virginians to become entrepreneurs, and attracts the best talent by sending the message that we have an open and tolerant society.”

The first section of the Dynamism Agenda recommends two pieces of legislation — asset forfeiture reform (H.B. 1287, S.B. 684) and marijuana decriminalization (S.B. 686) — to improve Virginia’s criminal justice system and protect the rights of all Virginians.

“Our criminal justice system is supposed to ensure that the accused are innocent until proven guilty, but Virginia’s forfeiture laws turn that principle on its head,” stated Cote. “Meanwhile, marijuana prohibition wastes police resources and disproportionately targets minorities.”

The second section promotes equality under the law. Right Way Forward Virginia supports legislation to protect gay and lesbian public employees from workplace discrimination and bring Virginia’s Constitution and statutes in line with court rulings overturning the ban against same-sex marriage. The organization also opposes Delegate Robert Marshall’s H.B. 1414, which would uniquely privilege one particular moral belief in the law.

“At best, H.B. 1414 is a solution in search of a problem, but it is more accurate to say the bill would enshrine anti-gay sentiment into law,” argued Cote.

Finally, the Dynamism Agenda promotes two pieces of legislation that would create new jobs and enable more Virginians to run their own businesses, the Industrial Hemp Farming Act (H.B. 1277) and Food Freedom Act (H.B. 1290).

“Ironically, one of the first steps Virginia can take to foster a more dynamic future is to look to Virginia’s past,” said Cote. “Hemp was grown on the farms of Thomas Jefferson and George Washington, and legalizing hemp cultivation would enable Virginia farmers to grow a new cash crop and spur additional economic activity in textiles, building materials, and other industries.”

Right Way Forward Virginia (RWFVirginia.org) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to promoting liberty, dynamism, and equal rights.

New Virginia Grassroots Advocacy Group Champions Liberty and Equal Rights

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Nicholas Cote
(571) 425-1261
nicholas.cote@rwfvirginia.org


New Virginia Grassroots Advocacy Group Champions Liberty and Equal Rights

Nonpartisan, libertarian Right Way Forward Virginia promotes a free, prosperous, and inclusive society

Richmond, VA (December 18, 2014) – Right Way Forward Virginia, a nonprofit, nonpartisan grassroots advocacy organization launched today and will begin mobilizing libertarian and libertarian-leaning Virginians for the upcoming 2015 General Assembly and 114th Congress.

Right Way Forward Virginia seeks to promote a free, prosperous, and inclusive society and will advocate for legislation that advances its founding principles of liberty, equal rights, and dynamism.

“Too often, policy debates are dominated by those who claim to know how other people should live their lives, whether they want the government to micromanage the economy or impose morality,” stated Right Way Forward Virginia President Nicholas Cote. “Instead, our vision is simple: Let freedom flourish and ensure it is enjoyed by all, including the marginalized and disenfranchised.”

“The right way forward isn’t through reactionary or technocratic central planning but by embracing economic, technological, and cultural dynamism,” Cote continued.

The new grassroots organization springs to action at time when the United States is having a “libertarian moment” according to pundits and commentators of all political stripes. Public polls show that nearly a quarter of the American public is or leans libertarian, or supports both personal and economic freedom.

New technologies disrupting established and monopoly markets have also sparked increased public interest in libertarian ideas. The recent public spotlight on government surveillance, police militarization, and mass incarceration further demonstrate the need to be vigilant to protect the constitutional rights of all Americans.

“The time is right to identify and mobilize libertarians and allies to advance liberty and equal rights at all levels of government,” Cote added. “Anyone interested should visit our website at RWFVirginia.org to learn more and stay updated as we prepare for the upcoming session of the General Assembly.”

Right Way Forward Virginia (RWFVirginia.org) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan, grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to promoting a free, prosperous, and inclusive society.