The 2016 Session really flew by this year. I feel like it was just yesterday that I was coming up with bill ideas! So much has been accomplished over the past few months, but the work of representing District 42 is never truly over.
Family Visits and Capital Tours
Even though we were packing things up, we had just enough time to have a few more families visit from District 42. Seeing these families come to learn about Virginia’s legislative process always brightens my day.
Last week was spent reviewing bills in conference committees. Some people have asked what a conference committee is. When a bill passes through the House and the Senate, our work is still not completely finished. If one of our bills receives an amendment from the Senate, it needs to be sent back to the House in order for us to approve it. This can result in what we like to call conference committees. These committees are made up of members from both the House and Senate, and are created in order to resolve differences between different versions of bills that come from the House and the Senate.
These are some of my bills have been passed and signed into law by the Governor:
HB 170: Distinguishes that possession of and distribution of controlled drug paraphernalia are distinct offenses.
HB 172: Clarifies that when a habitual offender applies for the restoration of their driving privileges or a restricted license, the evaluation from the Virginia Alcohol Safety Action Program will be considered.
HB 176: Allows courts to order a wiretap either where a criminal lives or where a crime may have occurred.
HB 226: Creates a mixed beverage license for performing arts facilities in the cities of Norfolk and Richmond.
HB 572: Allows an individual to ask for interest on fines from a criminal case to be waived if they were accrued while the individual was incarcerated.
HB 578: Makes negotiations between the Commonwealth of Virginia and contract employees fair by only listing exceptions after all qualified offerors are ranked.
During Session, we approved a two-year spending plan that does not expand Medicaid, avoids creating any new taxes, and also increases state worker pay by three percent. Your state legislature produced a balanced budget that will work towards eliminating state liabilities and reducing borrowing. It will also invest in K-12 and higher education, which will help alleviate tuition costs for Virginia students. The budget makes economic investment while including oversight to ensure that taxpayer money is being used wisely.