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Reaching the First Big Milestone and Seeing Good Progress!

 

Dear Friends,

In November, Virginians came out to vote in record numbers, expressing their disgust at Democrats’ two-year one-party overreach and infringements on our liberties. Governor Youngkin, Lieutenant Governor Sears, Attorney General Miyares, and GOP House of Delegates candidates pledged to take immediate action to restore our liberties. That message resonated with voters, and we took back all 3 state-wide offices and the majority in the House of Delegates. The Governor and AG took immediate action where they could, as promised, but the legislative process does take a little longer. 

Friday marked one month since the beginning of the 2022 General Assembly session, and we’re now over halfway through. All House Bills must be voted out of the House and moved over to the Senate by Tuesday night. It’s a very busy time. Friday we sent 76 bills over to the Senate, and today and tomorrow we will likely send well over 240 more. Here’s a brief summary of where things stand with some topics of interest...



KEEPING OUR COMMUNITIES SAFE

After years of hard work and diligence, the House finally passed HB 833, legislation that would create a grant fund to support Group Violence Intervention programs in the Commonwealth under the “Project Ceasefire” model. Time and time again, the data has shown that – with an action-based approach and the strong guidelines in place – Project Ceasefire works. First implemented in Boston, Massachusetts in the 1990s as an effort to reduce gang violence, the “Boston Miracle”, as it’s sometimes called, resulted in a more than 60% reduction in youth homicide numbers and a 27% decrease in shootings. In cities and towns across the U.S., from Stockton, California to Indianapolis, Indiana, the results have been the same. This approach saves lives, period. Please contact the Senate General Laws and Technology Committee and urge them to support this bill.

 

EMPOWERING PARENTS IN EDUCATION

Mask Mandates: Last Wednesday, after months of rejecting science and ignoring parents, some Senate Democrats did an about-face when it comes to school mask policy. In a bipartisan vote (21-17), the Senate passed SB 739, led by Sen. Dunnavant (R-Henrico) and Sen. Peterson (D-Fairfax City) that would end mandatory student masking in schools, by codifying that parents have the right to direct their children to attend public schools with or without masks. Friday morning, in the House Education Committee, I voted for SB 739.

The legislation passed the House this morning 52-48, and was Signed by the Speaker of the House and Lt. Governor and delivered to the Governor. As written, SB 739 wouldn’t take effect until July 1, but the Governor pledged to offer an emergency amendment which could enact the bill as soon as sometime this week, though he may delay it to March 1. My masking bill HB 1036 wasn’t voted on, but I am a Chief Co-Patron of Del. Amanda Batten's HB 1272, which is identical to SB 739 and is on course to pass the House and be sent to the Senate this week. Finally, with a simple majority vote in the House and Senate, we can put an end to the mask hysteria.

Explicit Materials: Tuesday, the House will vote on Del. Durant’s HB 1009, similar to my HB786, based on the legislation then-Governor McAuliff vetoed in 2016 and 2017, and misrepresented during last year’s campaign. This bill says that if any public K-12 school instructional material includes sexually explicit content, the school must notify the parents, permit the parents to review the sexually explicit instructional material, and provide alternative, nonexplicit instructional material and related academic activities to any student whose parent so requests. SB 656 is identical, and has already passed the Senate.

Education Savings Accounts: My HB 1024 will provide Parental Choice Education Savings Accounts to parents who withdraw their children from public schools if their family income is less than or equal to 300 percent of the poverty guidelines; or a parent is an active duty member in the U.S. Armed Forces, or the student receives special education pursuant to an IEP; or the student is the victim of harassment, hazing, bullying, kidnapping, robbery, sexual offenses, assault, battery, threat, or intimidation on school property. I did have a broader bill which would have allowed ESA’s for anyone withdrawing from public schools, but HB 1024 made it out of the Education and Appropriations Committees, and will be voted on Tuesday.

Critical Race Theory and other Divisive Concepts: Our schools need to teach kids how to think, not what to think. After shocking learning loss over the last two years, we need to focus on teaching the basics, not on indoctrinating students. My HB787 allows teaching about all sides of any issue, but makes sure that teachers aren’t doing so in a way that furthers division, or takes sides and indoctrinates or intimidates kids to take a certain position.

Family Life Education: Over the last few years, many parents have been shocked at some of the things being taught in this optional course, meaning that they weren’t aware before their students were taught some very difficult issues. My HB 789 would ensure that parents are notified of the FLE courses and be prompted to review the curriculum by requiring parental approval to opt-in rather than the current default of kids participating unless parents pull them out.

Homeschoolers Participating in Sports: Another longstanding effort is moving through the legislature, passing the House 50-49 on Friday - the "Tebow Bill", this year introduced by Del. Marie March as HB 511, to allow homeschool participation in public school interscholastic competitions.

Please contact the Senate Education and Health Committee urging them to support these bills.

RESTORING ELECTION INTEGRITY

Elections matter, and when people take part in the political process, they deserve to know that their voice is heard and their vote is counted. This week, the House passed legislation that secures our elections and strengthens voter confidence. For example….

  • My HB 956 will require mail-in ballots to be received by the registrar prior to polls closing on Election Day, and passed the House last week
  • HB 1090 reinstates photo ID laws (identical to my HB 942)
  • HB 39 limits the duration during which a person can vote in-person to two weeks and allows people to vote Monday through Saturday during those weeks from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. (similar to my HB 945)
  • HB 175 ends automatic, eternal absentee ballot lists, instead requiring voters to request one year of ballots at a time
  • HB 185 repeals same-day voter registration (identical to my HB 941)
  • HB 205 prohibits outside organizations or individuals from selectively funding elections (identical to my HB 1101)
  • HB 528 changes the rules regarding third-party organizations who send unsolicited absentee ballots to Virginia voters. Those organizations would be required to include instructions about how to fill in information, but they would not be permitted to send pre-filled applications. They would also be required to disclose that the ballot is being sent by a third party, not a government agency.

On the House floor this week, HB 1082 (identical to my HB 1109) will permit localities to use May or November elections for Mayor, town and city councils, and school board, keeping local elections separated from the big national issues, if the community chooses to do so.

Please contact the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee urging them to support these bills. 

 

PROTECTING LIFE AND MEDICAL FREEDOM

Religious Exemption to Vaccine Mandates: This morning, we voted on Del. Freitas’ HB 306, identical to my HB 783. This will ensure that any future “emergency” vaccine mandates allow for a religious exemption.

Prescription Freedom: Over the last 2 years, we’ve heard countless times about physicians and pharmacists refusing to provide safe and effective off-label prescriptions of FDA-approved medications. Del. Greenhalgh’s HB 102 is a more comprehensive form of my HB 976.

Both were sent to the Senate this morning on mostly party-line votes.

Born Alive Infants Protection Act: The full House of Delegates will vote Tuesday on Del. Nick Freitas’, HB 304, identical to my HB 1349. You may remember that in 2019, Del. Tran introduced a bill that would allow abortions all the way up through birth if the abortionist determined it was needed due to the physical or mental health of the mother or baby. Gov. Northam then went on live radio and defended the bill, saying, "I can tell you exactly what would happen: The infant would be delivered, the infant would be kept comfortable, the infant would be resuscitated if that's what the mother and the family desired, and then a discussion would ensue between the physicians and the mother." We’re pleased that this law will require that all babies born in the Commonwealth are given the best possible care to save their lives.

Please contact the Senate Education and Health Committee urging them to support these bills.

 

LAW ENFORCEMENT TRANSPARENCY & ACCOUNTABILITY

When Democrats changed the law to allow collective bargaining for public employees in 2020, we knew this could bring serious problems in the law enforcement community. Numerous studies have shown that where “bad cops” finally make the news, there have often been many previous incidents that were covered over because police unions had insisted on inappropriate clauses in their collective bargaining agreements. After George Floyd’s death in 2020, I introduced a bill in the Governor’s “social justice” special session to specifically deal with this pending problem, but Democrats refused to even give it a hearing. I’ve brought it back as HB 790, and it will hopefully head to the Senate after a House vote on Tuesday. Law Enforcement leadership needs to be free to discipline and terminate officers as needed, before it ends tragically.

 

MY OTHER LEGISLATION ALREADY IN THE SENATE

  • HB 1028 - Lovettsville Town Charter Amendments
  • HB 793 - Allowing VDOT Traffic Incident Management Vehicles to reach an incident and help resolve it quicker, reducing delays for everyone traveling our roads.

Starting Wednesday, our House Committees will start considering more Senate Bills, while deliberations continue for another week before a floor vote on the House budget bill. Speaking of the budget.....

STATE PARK IN LOUDOUN COUNTY

Last, but certainly not least, on Wednesday, February 9, the Commonwealth of Virginia officially took possession of the final 281 acres of improved land with the facilities to open what will be the first State Park in Loudoun County- 881 acres off Harpers Ferry Rd.! I've introduced a budget amendment so the Commonwealth can staff and equip the park. This will be a great place for residents throughout our region to get out in the beautiful outdoors - check out some photos and information here!

Please contact the members of the House Appropriations Committee and urge them to support my budget amendment 375#13h so we can open this up ASAP!

 

Thanks again for the honor of serving you. Please keep all the legislators, their staff and families in your prayers!

Sincerely,

If you have questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to call or email my office at 540-751-8364 or DelDLaRock@house.virginia.gov. You can also follow my campaign on Twitter @LaRock4Delegate and my Facebook page to keep up to date. I'm also now on MeWe and Telegram.

 

PICTURES OF RECENT EVENTS AND VISITORS

In between committee meetings and time on the House floor, I had numerous meetings with the men, women, and young people of the Commonwealth who took time to come to Richmond to let me and other legislators know what matters to them. These in-person meetings along with phone calls and emails are much appreciated as they help me become better-informed.

"Defending Life Day" at the General Assembly was Wednesday, Feb. 9. All around Capitol Square about 300 pro-life Virginians met with legislators to support passage of pro-life laws that protect the lives of the unborn, their mothers, and other vulnerable lives. I was honored to meet Katie and Julia Hogan, from Bluemont, who made the trip down to Richmond with other pro-life students from their school.



Del. Marie March presents the "Tebow Bill", HB 511, to allow homeschool participation in public school interscholastic competitions.

This bill passed the House 50-49 on Friday. After many years of trying, perhaps we can find a path through the Senate and with a Governor who supports additional opportunities for all students, maybe this common-sense legislation will actually become law, ending the Virginia High School League's discrimination against homeschoolers once and for all.

Fairfax County mother Laura Murphy, who first discovered the obscene and inappropriate material in her children's instructional materials and course assignments in Fairfax County Public Schools many years ago, and helped former House Education Committee Chairman Del. Steve Landes introduce his legislation that Gov. McAuliffe vetoed, is still in the fight.

She has been in Richmond several times, urging legislators to support common-sense legislation to ensure parents know what their kids are learning, and protect their kids from harmful content in the schools.

Thursday evening, I was a guest on Tony Perkins' show "Washington Watch" to discuss the Virginia legislature's bipartisan effort to provide parental opt-out to masking in our public schools. You can watch the interview here- the segment I was on starts at the 17 minute mark.

 
 

Get in touch and stay connected:

FacebookTwitterYouTube channel DaveLaRock4DelegateWebsite - VoteLaRock.us

DelDLaRock@house.virginia.gov

District Office: P.O. Box 6, Hamilton, Virginia 20159 (540) 751-8364

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