The 2016 General Assembly adjourned Friday, March 11th at 8:30pm, completing its work ahead of schedule for the second year in a row.
One final late night, and we went home a day early!
This year, the House of Delegates worked tirelessly to strengthen Virginia's economy to help middle class families, improve our education system so all children have the opportunity to succeed, and chart a responsible fiscal course for the future. We continue to govern with a vision to improve our Commonwealth.
To help strengthen Virginia's economy, the House of Delegates passed legislation to protect Virginia workers from union bosses, roll back the federal accelerated sales tax on 90 percent of Virginia businesses, and resist President Obama's job killing and unconstitutional EPA regulations.
Improving our education system is one of my top priorities. My legislation to create Education Savings Accounts for special needs students passed the House and Senate, and we took steps to finalize the establishment of Virginia's virtual school. This legislation, combined with our investments in public schools, will help make sure all children have the opportunity to succeed. My bill to prevent unilateral adoption of Common Core State Standards by the State Board of Education passed both the House and Senate with strong bipartisan support only to be vetoed by the Governor.
The General Assembly also reached a bipartisan agreement to restore concealed carry reciprocity following Attorney General Herring's announcement to rescind those agreements. The major bipartisan agreement restores and expands concealed carry reciprocity to every state in the nation with a concealed carry law. I am proud of our work to secure the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding concealed carry permit holders.
After hearing the outrage from my constituents over Governor McAuliffe’s plan to hammer the commuters of northern Virginia with new tolls, I was determined work with other legislators to block $17 tolls on I-66 inside the beltway. On that front we can only claim a partial victory. The legislature approved money to begin expansion of lanes on this stretch of I-66 immediately, with new tolls to begin only after the new capacity is in place. This should go a long way toward untangling one of the worst bottlenecks in the Commonwealth.
One of the most important tasks of the General Assembly is crafting the two-year state budget. I am happy to report that the House of Delegates passed a conservative, responsible, and structurally-balanced budget that invests in the core functions of government while protecting precious taxpayer resources.
Here are the highlights of the 2016-2018 state budget:
The budget does not contain any tax or fee increases on hardworking Virginians.
We are taking a number of steps to set Virginia on a responsible fiscal course - eliminating state liabilities, reducing borrowing and making one-time investments rather than committing to long-term spending.
We are investing over $900 million in new funding for K-12, significantly more than Governor McAuliffe proposed. Our funding also gives local school divisions added flexibility.
We are providing over $114 million in new funding for higher education to hold down tuition costs for Virginia families.
We are making strategic investments in economic development, but adding additional oversight to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.
The budget does not include Obamacare's Medicaid expansion or the Medicaid provider tax that Governor McAuliffe proposed. Instead, we continue to build on our work to strengthen the healthcare safety net.
I carried several important bills and resolutions this year. In total I submitted 25 pieces of legislation including six Commending Resolutions. Six bills are going to the Governor in some form. Here is a full list of my legislation and its status:
Passed the House & Senate and sent to the Governor:
HB 168 Passing stopped school buses; mailing of summons.
HB 259 SOL; Bd. of Education prohibited from adopting revisions that implement Common Core State Standards.
HB 389 Virginia Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts; established, report, effective clause.
Incorporated into similar/identical bills and going to the Governor:
HB 257 Fire or rescue volunteers; mental health treatment; funding by locality.
HB 258 Form of ballot; party identification of candidates.
HB 273 Transfer of certain firearms; identification requirement.
Purpose of legislation accomplished by other means (The Federal Government fixed the firearms law, and the agency that licenses medical providers is sending a letter to providers reminding them to follow the disclosure law):
HB 260 Firearms; law-enforcement certification of transfer.
HB 962 Lyme disease; testing disclosure.
Legislation that did not pass this session, but will be looked at more over the next few months:
HB 397 Discrimination; specification of certain terms relating to sex or gender.
HB 963 Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act; created, penalty.
HJ 138 Dulles Toll Road Permit & Operating Agreement; Joint Com. on Transportation Accountability to study.
Legislation that we will work on more for possible re-introduction next session:
HB 431 Certificate of birth; amendment; designation of sex.
HB 556 Abuse and neglect of children; a child includes a viable fetus.
HB 736 Property tax; repeals certain exemptions in Frederick County.
HB 970 Fetal remains; disposition, penalty.
HB 1132 School principals; incident reports.
HB 1134 Disorderly conduct; provisions shall not apply to certain students if occurs on school property.
HB 1271 Practical design standards for projects.
HJ 139 Constitutional amendment; Transportation Funds.
Commending Resolutions which passed the House and Senate:
HJ 386 Commending the Patrick Henry College moot court team.
HJ 387 Commending the Loudoun Valley High School boys' cross country team.
HJ 388 Commending the Loudoun Valley High School golf team.
HJ 389 Commending Drew Hunter.
HJ 390 Commending Katherine Slover.
HJ 470 Commending Martha Mason Semmes.
The final bill tracking board in our Richmond office