It is an honor to serve you and all of the citizens of the 69th District in the General Assembly. I am grateful that many of you renewed your confidence in me at the November election. I am writing to update you on some of the key issues that we expect may be considered during the upcoming session of the General Assembly.
When a storm hits the area, state agencies are mobilized to respond to any problems that may be caused by the storm. Dominion Virginia Power has prepared a tip sheet for preparing for winter storms, which you may want to review.
2014 Legislative Session
The 2014 regular session of General Assembly will be held January 8, 2014 to March 8, 2014.
During this session, we must adopt a new two-year budget for the Commonwealth. The outgoing governor, Governor McDonnell, will propose his budget next week. Once he takes office in January, Governor McAuliffe will propose changes to the budget based on his priorities. You can review some of the materials that we were provided concerning the budget outlook at meetings in November here.
As part of the budget, we will consider the level of state support of public education. A continuing issue is whether or not the state will participate in the expansion of the Medicaid program which is the means whereby many Virginians will be able to receive health insurance under the national Affordable Care Act.
I expect that there will be serious discussion of the way that the State funds and provides mental health services after the tragic incident involving one of our own colleagues, State Senator Creigh Deeds. I hope that something good can come out of this tragedy -- a renewed and adequately funded commitment to treating those Virginians who have mental health problems -- and support for their families.
For those seeking more information on the key issues for the 2014 Session, the Virginia Division of Legislative Services has compiled an issue brief.
In preparation for the upcoming 2014 session, I will be distributing a short survey for you to share your opinions on these and other issues. Please be on the lookout for the survey in the coming weeks - which will be distributed by e-mail, postal mail, and on my web and Facebook pages.
I would also encourage you to contact me with ideas you may have for legislative proposals. Over the next few weeks, I will be finalizing those proposals that I will be introducing as bills in the 2014 session. Many of these are proposals that I have proposed in the past. These include:
- Restoring the ability of taxpayers to receive a tax refund with a paper check.
- Instituting a non-partisan independent commission to redraw legislative district boundaries every ten years.
- Amending the Virginia constitution to provide for the automatic restoration of civil and voting rights once a person convicted of a felony has completed his or her prison sentence and other court-imposed obligations.
- Requiring that a judge issue a warrant based on probable cause before the police or government obtain access to citizens' telephone billing records, or use a person's cell phone, smartphone or other electronic device to track them without their knowledge.
As you are probably aware, Richmond made headlines the past week. Frommer’s, a popular travel planning website, released their Top Destinations for 2014. Our culturally-diverse city was one of three locations in the United States to make the list, thanks to the James River and our historical and cultural offerings.
The Women of Virginia Commemorative Commission has announced the 12 women to be featured in a monument in Capitol Square. The Commission particularly sought out women of achievement who were extraordinary, but not necessarily well known. Virginia will be the first state in the nation to dedicate a monument specifically to honoring the achievements of women. The Commission hopes to have the monument, which will be privately funded, completed by March of 2015. Find out more about the Commission and the monument in a recent article by the Richmond Times Dispatch.
I hope that this information will be helpful to you. It is an honor to serve you in the House of Delegates. Thank you for your interest in Virginia’s government and the confidence you have placed in me. Please, never hesitate to contact me to share your views or if I can be of any assistance to you.
Betsy B. Carr
Member, Virginia House of Delegates
PO Box 14625
Richmond, VA 23221