Today begins the last full week before crossover in the General Assembly. More and more bills are making their way out of committee and onto the House floor for a vote. Last week, the House advanced a number of important measures that will support open competition on public contracts, improve our public schools, and uphold the integrity of elections in the Commonwealth.
Fair and Open Competition in Government Contracting Act
On Tuesday, the House passed House Bill 33, a bill that prohibits mandatory project labor agreements and guarantees full and open competition in bidding on public contracts. It is estimated that a mandated project labor agreement can raise the cost of a project by ten to twenty percent, so prohibiting these mandatory agreements will help make sure that Virginia gets the most out of our taxpayer dollars on infrastructure projects. This legislation also ensures all of Virginia’s qualified contractors and their skilled workforces, regardless of labor affiliation, can compete on a level playing field for Virginia projects. This measure will keep the government neutral with respect to a qualified contractor’s relationship with labor unions in all projects. This will increase the creation of Virginia jobs, increase competition, and provide our taxpayers with more miles of transportation and infrastructure solutions for every dollar we spend.
Legislation similar to HB 33 passed the State Senate this week, indicating that this bill will likely pass the General Assembly and be signed into law by Governor McDonnell.
“Opportunity to Learn” K-12 Education Reform Bills Pass House
The House passed two public education reform bills that were a part of Governor McDonnell’s “Opportunity to Learn” agenda. First, the House passed House Bill 1061, which reduces the number of high school diplomas available from seven to three. This will add rigor and relevance to Virginia earned diplomas and ensure that Virginia students are either career ready or college ready upon graduation. The second bill that passed the House, HB 1063, will allow a local school division to establish its own starting date for the school year. This measure seeks to remove an unnecessary mandate on our local schools that require a school division to apply for a waiver to start the school year prior to Labor Day. Currently, 77 local school divisions already have a waiver. I voted in favor of both of these pieces of legislation.
Protecting the Integrity of the Electoral Process
Last week, the House passed HB 9, a bill to protect the integrity of our electoral process by requiring a voter to present a valid ID before casting a ballot. Currently, a voter who does not present a valid ID at the polling place can simply sign an affidavit and vote, denying local Electoral Boards the ability to prevent a fraudulent vote cast by a voter who doesn’t show a valid ID. Should House Bill 9 become law, voters who do not present valid identification would be required to sign an affidavit before casting a provisional ballot. Provisional ballots will allow local Electoral Boards to verify the vote cast is a valid one before being counted. Let me be clear- this bill does not deny anyone the fundamental right to vote. Provisional ballots are always counted towards the total vote in a district. Instead, this measure simply gives our local Electoral Boards a tool to prevent a fraudulent vote from being counted.
Progress of my bills
This past week several of my bills passed on the house floor and will now move over to the Senate for consideration. They are as follows:
HB 52– Disclosure of certain tax information by the Attorney General. Permits the Attorney General to disclose certain information related to the sale and taxation of cigarettes and other tobacco products.
On February 2, 2012 this bill passed unanimously in the House. This bill will now be reviewed by the Senate.
HB 84– Shared physical custody; no-fault divorce. Creates a rebuttable presumption that parents should be awarded joint physical custody, with no parent’s share of such custody comprising less than two-fifths of the child’s time, where such custody award is made pursuant to a divorce decree granted on no-fault grounds.
On February 3, 2012 this bill passed unanimously in the House. This bill will now be reviewed by the Senate.
HB 465– Secretary of Administration; organizational chart of state government. Requires the Secretary of Administration, during the first year of each new gubernatorial administration, to prepare an organizational chart of state government. The bill specifies what information is to be contained in the organizational chart and that it is to be posted on the Commonwealth’s website.
On February 1, 2012 this bill passed unanimously in the House. This bill will now be reviewed by the Senate.
HB 555– Alcoholic beverage control; mixed beverage license for certain motor sports facilities. Creates an annual mixed beverage motor sports facility license for persons operating concessions at an outdoor motor sports facility that hosts a NASCAR national touring race. The bill sets out the privileges of the license and the state and local license taxes.
On January 27, 2012 this bill passed in the House by a vote of 90 in favor, and 8 against. This bill will now be reviewed by the Senate.
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 Richmond office number, (804) 698-1042, or at my House email, firstname.lastname@example.org.