As we prepare for the start of the 2018 Legislative Session of the General Assembly in January, I am pleased to provide you with an update from the Capitol.
The 2018 Session begins January 10, 2018 and is scheduled to last 60 days. This session will include the development of a new state budget for the next biennium. After the November elections, Ralph Northam and Justin Fairfax were elected Governor and Lieutenant Governor, respectively, and Mark Herring was re-elected as Attorney General. All three will be sworn into office to serve their term on January 13, 2018. Inauguration tickets can be requested at this link, but are not guaranteed. Democrats picked up at least 15 seats in the House of Delegates. However, the House majority is still undecided as recounts are occurring in 3 House districts.
Each year, I invite constituents to complete my legislative survey. The survey includes questions on topics that are expected to come before the General Assembly. The results of the constituent survey help me to best represent our community and our shared values. Please consider completing my 2018 Session Survey by visiting this link. Paper copies are available by contacting my office at 804-698-1069 and providing a mailing address.
Today, Governor Terry McAuliffe presented to the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees the final proposed budget of his term. Governor McAuliffe presented a budget that expands Medicaid by drawing down federal funds, addresses the core state government services that had funding deficiency, continues workforce training investments and investments in K-12 education, and improves the fiscal strength of our Commonwealth.
Legislators have already begun filing bills to be considered in the 2018 session. I plan to introduce a wide range of legislation that will help citizens and improve their lives in our Commonwealth. Expanded options for affordable housing organizations, redistricting reform, restoration of civil rights, affirmative defense for overdose victims receiving help, expanded gun safety laws, ensuring ground water use is prioritized for human consumption, study of best treatment models for substance abuse, reforms to Virginia’s concealed handgun permitting process, and a study of options for combating bullying among youth and youth suicide in the LGBT community are among the subjects of some of my proposed legislation.
Over the past few weeks, I have been meeting with groups who plan to advocate before the General Assembly. A few of these groups include the Chesterfield Education Association, the Military Officers of America, Open High School, the Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia Port Authority, local Realtors, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, as well as individual constituents.
Recently I toured the St. Francis Home, located in the 69th District, to receive an update on the Home’s efforts to expand care and funding for senior citizens and advocate at the General Assembly.
Members of the Capital Region House and Senate delegation met recently to discuss regional issues including transportation and education funding and an expansion of broadband, as well as to hear legislative priorities of the surrounding counties and cities.
The Virginia Women’s Monument Commission recently held a Groundbreaking Ceremony for the new women’s monument on Capitol Square. The “Voices from the Garden” Monument will commemorate women’s contributions across four centuries from every corner of our Commonwealth. This will be the first memorial to women of its kind in the entire United States.
The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Commission continues its work on the Emancipation Proclamation and Freedom Monument to be erected on Brown’s Island in Richmond, and to plan public discussions throughout the state for the upcoming commemorative “King in Virginia” year. The Richmond Symphony will feature a MLK Tribute for its February 3-4 concert.
The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) has continued to meet over the past months to review study reports of multiple state agencies and programs. The reports are available online for the public to review by visiting jlarc.virginia.gov. Recently, JLARC released a report regarding early childhood education and child tax credit programs in Virginia.
The NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton is accepting entries through December 31 for an art contest with the theme “The Next 100 Years”. Students in grades K-12 are encouraged to apply. Information regarding submission of art and contest details is available at this link.
In preparation for the legislative session, please note that the General Assembly has relocated offices for both Delegates and Senators. My office is now located in the Pocahontas Building, at 900 East Main Street in Richmond. Those planning to visit the General Assembly during the session should enter the Pocahontas Building on Main Street, between 9th and 10th Streets.
My mailing address, email address, and phone number remain the same. My mailing address is Post Office Box 406 Richmond, Virginia 23218, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org, and my office phone number is 804-698-1069.
It is a privilege to serve you in the House of Delegates. I am available to meet with constituents throughout the year in my office or in their local district community. Please never hesitate to contact me if I can be helpful with a state agency or with legislative information.
Wishing you a very enjoyable holiday season and a healthy, peaceful and prosperous 2018.