Statement on HB 1786
On February 2nd, House Bill 1786 passed through the Virginia House of Delegates by a party-line vote. This bill is the Democrats’ attempt to fix non-existent problems related to things they simply do not understand. This is common in the General Assembly these days; Democrats find phantom problems and step down from their golden pedestals to “help” those who never asked for it or needed it.
As is always true in regard to minimum wage laws, House Bill 1786 assumes the large-scale business is the standard, takes in obscene profit, and treats its employees unfairly. All of these premises are untrue and are particularly untrue when it comes to the agriculture industry here in Virginia.
The average farm in Virginia is only 181 acres. This is not an industrial Monsanto super-farm taking in profit hand over fist; it is the prized possession of a Virginia family just like mine. Perhaps the family is financially stable, but more than likely they cannot say much more than that. Regulating the wages of farmhands who work on farms like these, without even considering any informal benefits of the job, will destroy many farmers, their families, and their farmhands’ livelihoods.
The merit of upholding tradition carries an emotional significance that I do not expect my more metropolitan colleagues in the House of Delegates to understand. Helping out on a farm as a kid is an American tradition that is older than the nation itself. After House Bill 1786 becomes law, Virginians will be barred from following in the footsteps of their forefathers. Again, I do not expect those who grew up outside of these traditions to understand. However, I ought to be able to expect those who do not understand these things to leave them alone.