Delegate L. Scott Lingamfelter
R-31, Prince William and Fauquier
For the Fauquier County, Virginia girl, her 10th birthday party was the best ever.
But for the family friend who graciously agreed to hold the child's party on her farm, it turned out to be the worst day of her life.
Martha Boneta, a working farmer in Paris, VA -- and a close friend of the child's mother – recently held a birthday party on her farm for eight 10-year-old girls. The girls petted horses, fed chickens, enjoyed a hay ride, opened gifts and ate birthday cake. It was a party that any little girl would dream of.
But when the party was over, the nightmare began for Martha. She received a menacing letter from Fauquier County government officials. They threatened to fine her $5,000 for hosting the birthday party without a special permit.
A permit for a child's birthday party? On private property?
What's next? A citation from the food police for serving cake and ice cream to the children? A user fee for every helium balloon inflated?
It's not outside the realm of the possible. Not anymore.
When a property owner can't even hold a child's birthday party on the family farm without the local government getting involved, Virginia has lost its way.
Maybe that's how they run things in states like New York, California or Illinois. But this is not how we conduct ourselves here in Virginia.
That's why I'm seeking the nomination of our party for Lieutenant Governor of Virginia.
I'm determined to stop the spread of high-taxing, big-spending, nanny-state government that is:
- Bullying property owners, small business owners and taxpayers;
- Ignoring hundreds of years of agricultural tradition in Virginia; and
- Threatening our future as one of the most prosperous and best-run states in our nation.
But first, I'm going to do everything I can to help Martha and others like her, whose businesses and lives are suffering at the hands of out-of-control big government.
Martha has been forced to shut down her small, historic farm and go to court to defend her property rights.
Property rights are among the most fundamental rights in a free society. That's why today I held a rally for Martha at the Virginia State Capitol in Richmond.
At the rally, I announced that I've introduced legislation to improve the Right to Farm Act in Virginia, so small farmers like Martha will fully enjoy their property rights and the vision that the Founders had for our nation.
My House Bill 1430 will protect the rights of Virginians like Martha to engage in a tradition and a way of life that has been fundamental to our citizens since our nation's founding.
This bill will ensure that government at all levels respects the heritage and traditions of farming – and the rights of property owners to enjoy their land in the way that they see fit.
To receive email updates on the status of H B 1430, the Boneta Bill, as it makes its way through the General Assembly, please click here;
I'll keep you informed on my efforts to stand up for freedom, for property rights and for the rights of individuals to enjoy their property, their businesses and all of their God-given rights.
Together with friends like you, we'll bring our Commonwealth back to its senses and that will be something to celebrate indeed.
P.S. - Last November, more than 74 percent of Virginians voted to amend the Constitution of Virginia in order to strengthen property rights. Let's make sure that Fauquier County officials and all government employees remember that they work for us. Virginians will not tolerate overreaching and overregulating by any layer of government.
Please click here to follow the progress of House Bill 1430 and all of my work to bring Virginia back to its senses.