Session Update #6

It’s week six of the General Assembly’s seven week legislative session, and I’m pleased to report that my following bills passed the Senate:

  • HB 1635: Defamation, Statute of Limitations for Suits on the Internet.
  • HB 1445: Medical Marijuana for Epilepsy.
  • HB 1499: Right to breast-feed in public places.
  • HB 1628: Virginia Public Procurement Act; contract modification.
  • HB 1439: Alcoholic beverage control; regulations. (Approved by Governor)
  • HB 1440: Alcoholic beverage control; ABC Board markups. (Approved by Governor)

The House and Senate have been meeting in conference to resolve differences in our budget. Speaker Howell incorporated a rules change for the budget this year so that it will be posted for the public and the press to view at least 48 hours before we vote on it. The Richmond Times-Dispatch praised the new policy earlier this year, saying that “the move will increase public access.”

Once the budget conferees finish their work, you can find their budget online at http://leg2.state.va.us/MoneyWeb.NSF/sb2015.

Other Legislation

Governor McAuliffe has begun to sign legislation that’s passed both the House and Senate. This week, he signed Delegate Tom Rust’s bill to let Uber, Lyft and other transportation network companies to operate in Virginia. The Charlottesville Daily Progress wrote an editorial in support of the legislation: “Bill strikes balance on governance

Legislative Survey

Thank you to everyone who participated in my survey. I received over 800 responses! Your commentary was much appreciated because it helps me do my job here in Richmond. If you left a specific comment or question, please know I am working on getting back to you as quickly as I can.

Here is a brief summary of the survey results:

  • 73.73% of respondents feel that government is already big enough, should not raise taxes, and just live within its means, while 26.27% of respondents feel the federal government should raise taxes to provide more services.
  • 69.76% of respondents oppose Medicaid expansion in Virginia.
  • 81.28% of respondents believe state government has a role to play in incentivizing job creation through the use of tax credits and economic development incentives.
  • 66.01% of respondents think they pay about the right amount in Virginia’s taxes, while 20.08% believe they pay too much, and 13.91% think they pay too little.
  • 73.78% of respondents support mandatory reporting policies for sexual assault on college campuses.
  • 51.40% of respondents believe children of illegal immigrants should be allowed into Virginia colleges if they meet the following requirements: have been here for more than five years, graduated from high school, been accepted to a state university, and plan to apply for permanent residency.
  • 61.13% of respondents support efforts to make the birth control pill available over the counter.
  • 50.47% of respondents oppose voter registration by political party.
  • 64.07% of respondents support a “Convention of States” to enact a balanced budget amendment while 35.93% do not.
  • 70.94% of respondents support giving school boards the ability to begin classes before Labor Day and set their own academic calendars.
  • 69.04% of respondents support efforts to allow home-school kids to participate in public school sports programs.

When asked to put the core services provided by the state government in order of importance (1 being the most important), the top three responses ranked in the following order:

  1. Cutting wasteful government spending
  2. Creating jobs and improving the economy
  3. Improving transportation

Highlights of the Week:

Students on House Floor

On Monday, President’s Day, students and their families from the district visited me at the Capitol. These inspiring artists were nice enough to lend me their artwork to hang in my office during the 2015 session. While they were here I took them onto the House floor and we all pretended to vote on a bill in Mr. Jefferson’s Capitol. I am always amazed at how talented our young students are! I want to thank all my visitors for making the trek to Richmond despite the inclement weather.

Article on my ABC Authority bill:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-politics/va-legislature-unanimous-in-effort-to-dilute-alcohol-control-board-politics/2015/02/16/8e7f63dc-b5de-11e4-aa05-1ce812b3fdd2_story.html

As always, my staff and I are here in Richmond to serve you. We want to hear what you think about the legislation pending before the House, or if there’s anything we can do to help you in dealing with a state government agency. My office can be reached at (804) 698-1042 or via email at DelDAlbo@house.virginia.gov. If you are planning to visit Richmond during Session, I encourage you to visit me in General Assembly building room 529.

Dave Albo

 

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