Today marks the beginning of the second full week of the 2012 Session. Progress is being made on the numerous bills and resolutions that have been introduced in the House. As this second full week begins, I thought you may like a recap on some issues that have been discussed in these first weeks of Session.
Last week, House Republicans pushed for the approval of House Bill 525, a bill that would increase Virginia’s representation on the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) in accordance with federal law. Virginia representation is critical at this time when the MWAA Board is currently making a number of important decisions regarding the $6 billion expansion of Dulles Metrorail.
HB 525 had an emergency clause attached to the bill due to the pressing need of granting Virginia the increased representation. The addition of the emergency clause meant that four-fifths of the House had to approve the legislation in order for the bill to pass. Unfortunately this number was not met due to the House Democrat’s decision to block such legislation. Governor McDonnell responded to the bill’s failure to pass stating, “The delay caused by the actions of the House Democrats today will reduce Virginia’s rightful, and congressionally approved, influence on this vital board.”
Last Thursday, Governor McDonnell announced that he will not seek legislation to lift the moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia pending a comprehensive study of the issue by a newly-created multi-agency state workgroup. Uranium mining has been a major issue over the past year, but more time is needed to ensure the safety of a mining program. While uranium mining offers a potential positive economic impact for the entire state, the safety of all Virginians must come first. I agree that the most complete information on the subject must be obtained before we can make an educated decision on this matter.
Governor’s 2012 Public Safety Agenda
As your delegate, maintaining the safety of our community has always been a priority for me when I come to Richmond. Last week, the Governor also expressed his goals for Public Safety in a Press Confernce. Highlights of the Governor’s agenda include legislation to provide tough mandatory minimum sentences for repeat drug dealers, and life sentences for sex offenders who prey on children; further protect victims of crime; streamline procedures for Virginia’s asset forfeiture laws; and, strengthen the response to emergencies and ensure maximum protection for victims.
I also got a chance to speak at this press conference, sharing my support for the Governor’s agenda, which will be advancing some of my own legislation to crack down on drunk driving. My bills, House Bills 49 and 50, aim to increase the sentences on drunk drivers charged with involuntary manslaughter. Increasing the minimum sentences on these criminals should help take offenders off our streets, and keep our children, neighborhoods and homes safe.
Progress of My Bills
While almost all of my bills are still being reviewed in committees, one bill made its first introduction on the House floor last week.
The House Transportation committee passed my bill, House Bill 34, which works to ban advertising signs within highway right-of-ways. It was read on the House floor for the first time on Friday.
If you’d like to see all of the bills that I introduced this session, please visit my website www.davealbo.org and click on the icon “Link to Dave’s Bills”.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me while I’m in Richmond. You can reach me at our office number, (804) 698-1042, or at my house email, firstname.lastname@example.org.