Review - The 2015 General Assembly Session
Review - The 2015 General Assembly Session
By Delegate Dave LaRock, R-33
This year’s session was intense and fast-paced. 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.
This year I introduced 11 bills and another 10 resolutions in the House of Delegates as patron, and co-patroned another 26 bills and 56 resolutions, many of which passed one or both houses. For a complete list, I encourage you to visit my website's Legislation page; 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.