MORE INFO FROM A BUSY WEEK
In the busiest week of session thus far, the House of Delegates successfully completed work on House legislation before Tuesday's Crossover deadline. After many hours of debate on the House floor, we advanced legislation that reflects the priorities of Virginians who sent us to Richmond to make life easier, safer, and more affordable – especially in the realm of energy policy. As a whole, the House passed 598 bills that now head to the Senate for further consideration.
Our progress did not stop there. House Republicans approved a comprehensive budget that delivers on our commitment to lowering costs, investing in our students, and enhancing the safety of families across Virginia.
Affordable & Reliable Energy
A diversified energy portfolio is the best way to keep the lights on while ensuring Virginians are able to pay their bills. Fortunately, House Republicans have passed a variety of bills that aim to lower rates for electric utility customers across Virginia while adding oversight on electric utilities to ensure the reliability of the electric grid and maximize future savings for customers.
We also passed legislation that protects Virginians from unfair price hikes if there is a shortfall in offshore wind energy production (HB 1797 - Freitas). The legislation heads to the Senate for further consideration.
If Virginia is going to have a low-carbon energy future that is both reliable and affordable, nuclear power must be part of the equation as well. This week, we passed multiple bills that will position Virginia to be a leader in the nuclear energy sector and ensure that we keep the light on for decades to come. Several of these bills embrace the technological benefits of small modular nuclear reactors, which can utilize the unused coalfields in Southwest that were once the powerhouse of Virginia (HB 1780 - O’Quinn, HB 2333 - Marshall).
With the passage of these bills, House Republicans are making sure Virginia avoids the bad policies of other states that have struggled with rolling blackouts and skyrocketing energy costs.
A Budget for All Virginians
On Thursday, House Republicans approved a budget (HB 1400, Knight) that is fiscally responsible, invests in key education initiatives, and builds safer communities. The budget incorporates the Governor’s most significant tax cuts to ensure more of your hard-earned money stays in your pockets. It also invests in business-ready sites to make sure Virginia is a hub for jobs and economic development for decades to come. Moreover, it funds a significant overhaul of our workforce development efforts to ensure we have the workforce ready to meet the demands of Virginia’s exciting economic future.
In addition, the budget invests in our schools with over a half billion dollars in new funding while ensuring teachers will see net raises of 12 percent over the next two years. The budget also allocates tens of millions of dollars toward making college more affordable.
These initiatives are in addition to legislation (HB 2269 - Greenhalgh) that earmarks specific unspent federal dollars for schools to use to combat learning loss.
The budget also delivers on our promise to build safer communities by funding more police, school resource officers, and other resources to prevent crimes. Moreover, it expands on proven initiatives like Operation Ceasefire to curb gun and gang violence in our communities.
The budget also includes fully funding our agricultural best management practices goal.
The approved House budget now heads to the Senate for further consideration.
Besides Sage's Law, my other bill heading to the Senate, with a hearing tomorrow morning, is HB1427 which would repeal local governments' ability to prohibit the possession or carrying of firearms, ammunition, and components in public parks, recreation or community centers, or public street, road, alley, or sidewalk in or near a permitted event. Winchester's local ordinance in accordance with this law was stricken down by courts as unconstitutional, and this patchwork of laws around Virginia is impractical.
You can view all of my legislation here. If you are interested in following any other legislation in the General Assembly, visit www.lis.virginia.gov
Thanks again for the honor of serving you. Please let me know if there's anything I can do to help you!