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33rd District News - Homeward Bound

Week 9 General Assembly Session 2014

 

Dear friends,

 

This weekend marks the end of the normal winter session.

 

Although there may be a special session later this spring, I’m happy overall with the way the session has gone so far this year. Some solid bills have been passed, and some great legislation didn’t pass, but did make substantial forward progress that will carry over into future years.

 

I look forward to coming back to my district, close to the folks I represent, back to my family, and back to my business. The job of representing the people of the 33rd District will continue though, as I seek out your input on ways we can improve our quality of life, and I invite you to call, email, or visit with me in the district to discuss ideas or to just get acquainted.

 

 
THE BUDGET - TRANSPORTATION
 

The House is in the final stages of budget negotiations. This needs to happen soon so no funding is held up, and our local governments and school districts can get the information they need to get their own budgets in order. 

  • I’m working hard to make sure that responsible transportation spending remains a top priority in our budget. This week I collected a solid coalition of support from legislators (including leadership) expressed in a letter to the budget conference committee supporting two amendments to the House budget:

  1. One amendment would require all projects being funded by the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority (NVTA) to be rated to ensure that the projects that are most cost-effective are funded (some projects are currently exempt from rating).
  2. Another amendment prohibits VDOT from spending money on expensive public relations propaganda campaigns. VDOT should provide legal notice where needed, but using transportation funds to influence public opinion does not help our traffic congestion problem.

These amendments have wide support in the House, but it will be up to the conferees to see that they make it through negotiations with the Senate (the conferees of the House and Senate meet to resolve differences in their respective budget bills).

 

Transportation remains one of the key challenges of our district. Northern Virginia has the worst traffic in the Country. This means that traffic mitigation is one of the clearest ways forward to economic improvement and a better quality of life. If we can allocate transportation dollars better, we can save money, help local businesses and families, and make the region a more desirable place for new employers to set up shop. That’s real progress!
 
THE BUDGET STALEMATE
 

The House is standing by the budget bill we passed. It’s an economically responsible bill, setting aside over $380 million in accounts to offset any future potential economic slowdown, and it prioritizes caring for the health and welfare of our citizens, including $81 million in total funds to restore the Medicaid inflation adjustment for hospitals, and $111 million inflation adjustment for Virginia nursing homes. Most importantly, this budget will keep the State in good fiscal shape for the future, enabling us to continue to attract businesses and grow our economy. It’s a business-like budget, and that’s not something that can be said of a budget that includes a Medicaid expansion.

  • Our governor once criticized republicans in the U.S. House of Representatives for using the threat of a government shutdown as a bargaining chip. Now, as the budget debate drags out, I hope he’ll heed his own advice and not hold up the passage of a budget to get an Obamacare Medicaid expansion in Virginia.
 

 

 
 
 
 
LAST WEEK AT A GLANCE
 
  • Transportation Secretary Layne gave a response to my questions about the Governor’s proposed course of action with regard to mitigating high tolls in Northern Virginia. Among other things, the Governor supports an effort to obtain TIFIA funding (federally backed financing for the Dulles Rail project that could save MWAA substantial amounts of money over the life of the rail project). I (along with a coalition of other legislators) requested an analysis from the President and CEO of MWAA, Jack Potter, to show how this savings will translate into lower tolls. See my website for a little background on TIFIA funding.

  • The State Senate unanimously passed HB 258, a bill I co-patroned, that protects free speech rights on Virginia's public college campuses.  In recent years, colleges have been implementing so called "free speech zones;" small areas on campus where free speech is allowed, while speech is restricted everywhere else. 

  • The House passed a resolution honoring the late Harry Byrd Jr., a Northern Virginia native whose life had a tremendous impact on Northern Virginia. Click here for the full text of this resolution highlighting his accomplishments.

  • The House was also honored by a visit from Sergeant Ernest Merle Hancock of Manassas, a World War II veteran and hero who earned (but had never received until now) a silver star for his courageous and valorous actions in combat and capture. I encourage you to read the House Resolution honoring him as well; it’s an inspiring description of his actions. 

 

  • I attended the Veterans' Caucus this week, and am pleased to report that Governor McAuliffe agreed to sign all veteran-friendly bills that cross his desk this year.

 

A LOOK AHEAD
 
 
Please keep me and our other elected officials in your prayers as we continue to put the finishing touches on the budget and as we get ready to pack up and head home. THANK YOU to everyone who contacted me throughout the session, and as always, I invite you to let me know if there is anything I can help you with!
 
Sincerely, 

 

 

My staff and I greatly appreciate all your prayers for us this session.

L-R: Legislative Assistant Daniel Davies, Session Aid John Matthews, Del. Dave LaRock, Personal Assistant Peter LaRock.

 

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CONTACT ME!

 

Website Contact Form:

www.votelarock.us/contact

 

Richmond Office:
General Assembly Building
Room 721
Capitol Square
Richmond, Virginia 23219
(804) 698-1033
 
District Office:
P.O. Box 6
Hamilton, Virginia 20159
(540) 751-8364

Phone: 540-751-8364

Web: VoteLaRock.us

Email: info@VoteLaRock.us

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