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33rd District News - Review - The 2015 General Assembly Session

Week 8 General Assembly Session 2014

Dear friend,
This year’s session was fast-paced and intense. During the last six weeks in Richmond, I was privileged to buckle down alongside fellow delegates and senators as we worked to make Virginia a better place to live, work, and do business. As always, my top priority remains serving the citizens of Virginia and the 33rd District by passing laws that boost economic recovery, allow the creation of good, dependable jobs, improve education, reform government spending and protect our individual rights. 

The whiteboard we used to track all the legislation I introduced this session
This year I introduced 11 bills and another 10 resolutions in the House of Delegates as patron, and co-patroned another 29 bills and 53 resolutions, many of which passed one or both houses and are now enacted. For a complete list, I encourage you to visit my website; here are some of the highlights: 
One of my top priorities this year was to require rating for all mass transit projects that receive funding from the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority. I introduced this legislation for the first time last year, and this year it passed both houses and awaits the Governor’s signature. I believe that this bill will result in smarter transportation spending, better roads, and reduced congestion. 
I also patroned legislation to require approval of the Virginia General Assembly before any adoption of national Common Core Curriculum standards. The implementation of these standards is raising serious concerns and has become entangled in political considerations. The parents and students of Virginia deserve the assurance that their schools will not be forced to adopt these standards without careful and deliberate review. 
Another bill I patroned last year that passed both houses this year was House Bill 2009, a bill to protect the rights of Virginians who seek to conduct legal transfers of firearms that fall under a federal application process. This bill makes it clear that local officials can’t obstruct these legal transfers by simply refusing to respond to form requests. 
HJ 635 is a low-flying bill that could have substantial and  favorable economic impact on the counties in the 33rd District. Simply put, it enacts a study on the implementation and performance of the Communications Sales and Use Tax. Adjustments based on the results of this study could mean more local revenue and improved broadband access in our rural areas. 
One measure I pursued passionately was HB 2238, a bill to create Education Savings Accounts that parents of special-needs children could use to pay for alternatives to public schooling. This bill made incredible progress for its first year of introduction, passing the House and coming within one vote of passing the Senate as well. Virginians overwhelmingly support school choice, and when we succeed in eventually passing this bill it will give that choice to children who need it desperately. 
While I co-patroned several pieces of legislation, two are notable because of the constituent interest they fostered. Northern Virginia’s veterans support network needs to be augmented to meet the needs of our military veterans, and I proudly co-patroned legislation that will allocate $95 million to create a new 230 bed Veterans Care Center in Northern Virginia. I also supported Virginia’s “Tebow” bill, legislation passed by both houses that will allow local school divisions to make their own choice as to whether or not home schooled students can participate in sports
Many citizens and institutions of our district made noteworthy achievements that were deserving of commendation by the General Assembly. They are too many to list here, but I was pleased to help recognize Zora M. McCall “Mac” Brownell, the Loudoun First Responders Foundation, John R. Riley, Jr., Scott K. York, Nichols Hardware, the Clarke County High School Wrestling Team, the Loudoun County High School Volleyball Team, and the Loudoun 98 Red Girl’s Soccer Team
Last, but not least, the House and Senate worked together to quickly pass a budget that meets the needs of our Commonwealth while maintaining strict standards of fiscal common sense. This budget eliminates $11.7 million in fees proposed by Governor McAuliffe, spends $1 billion less from the general fund than last year’s originally-adopted budget, and shores up the Virginia Retirement System and the Teacher Retirement Fund, reducing unfunded liabilities and saving future taxpayer dollars.
Looking forward, the people of Virginia and our district still have many challenges to overcome. These run the spectrum, ranging from personal struggles like finding a job, securing a quality education, battling Lyme disease, or feeling the impact of Federal EPA regulations in our monthly utility bills. I’m eager to meet these challenges head-on, and I want to hear from each of you about the problems that I can help you solve. I’m honored to have the opportunity to work alongside you as your Delegate. 
Last week was a lot of "hurry up and wait" as much of the unfinished business consisted of bills in conference committees to resolve differences between the House of Delegates and the Senate. I served on three of these "Conference Committees."
The budget was finalized this week; the negotiators finished their work quickly and we voted on the budget two days before we were scheduled to adjourn. Thinking back to last year, it's amazing what a difference Republican control of the Senate makes!
As mentioned in last week's email, we also elected judges this week. Five of these judges will relieve some of our overburdened courts in the jurisdictions I serve.
  • One will serve in the 20th Judicial Circuit (including Loudoun County):
    • Douglas L. Fleming, Jr. - Circuit Court
  • Four will serve in the 26th Judicial Circuit (including Clarke and Frederick Counties):
    • Mr. Randy Bryant - Circuit Court
    • The Honorable Mr. Alex Iden - Circuit Court
    • Mr. Ian Williams - General District Court
    • Mr. Kevin Black – Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court
Photos from the Week
It was great to be visited by some constituents this week!

The Chaplow and McKenna families from Lovettsville stopped by the office to say hello and toured the Capitol.
Tuesday was the annual 4-H Day at the State Capitol. We were visited by two groups of 4-H students and leaders:

4-H from Loudoun County 

4-H from Clarke County

This week Del. Tom Rust of Herndon announced he will be retiring from the House of Delegates. We took a minute during one of the breaks to take this picture of all six Republican Delegates representing Loudoun County.

Back row standing- George Washington

front row (L-R)- Del. Rob Bell (patron of the Tebow bill), Abby LaRock, DeAngelo Hall, Jay Thrash (son of former Redskins wide receiver James Thrash), John LaRock, Del. Dave LaRock.


This Friday, John, Jay, and Abby came to visit Dad on his last day of the 2015 Session, and to meet Del. Rob Bell to express their  appreciation for his work on the Tebow Bill.



A Look Ahead
I am grateful for all your prayers, advice, and help during our very productive time down in Richmond this year. I couldn't have done it without your support.
I also want to express my appreciation for all the hard work from my amazing staff this session. This session our staff included full-time Legislative Assistant, Daniel Davies; Session Aide Julianne Condrey, who focused on our Education Savings Accounts bill; and my son Peter.

Our office moved back to the district this weekend, so let us know if there are any meetings, activities, or issues we can help with in our communities.
We are already looking at legislation for next year, so please send any ideas or suggestions our way. 

Please call me or visit! If you have any questions, concerns, opinions, or issues you want to discuss with me, don’t hesitate to get in touch… and as always, please pray for safety and wisdom for my team and me, and for all members of our government.




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Website Contact Form:


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



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