Second Week of 2017 Session

We hung artwork from elementary schools in my district around the office this week. Thank you to the art students that created these beautiful pieces for us! We are excited to have some color on our white walls!

Legislative Updates

All fifteen of my bills have been assigned to a committee and sub-committee, and are being discussed there. You can see the committees that they have been referred to, and follow the status of all of my bills by clicking here.

This week, my bills HB 1456, HB 1486 and HB 1526, passed in their respective subcommittees. The summaries of the bills as introduced are as follows:

HB 1456: Custody and visitation orders; use of term parenting time. Provides that at the request of a parent to such case or proceeding, the court shall use the phrase “parenting time” instead of the term “visitation.” The bill does not apply to any case or proceeding where a court has found a history of family abuse or sexual abuse or has otherwise found that a child subject to the case or proceeding is an abused or neglected child.

HB 1486: Arts and cultural districts. Provides that arts and cultural districts may be created jointly by two or more localities.

HB 1526: Alcoholic beverage control; mixed beverage performing arts facility license. Revises the annual mixed beverage performing arts facility license to allow any person operating any performing arts facility to sell, on the dates of performances and one hour prior to any such performance and one hour after the conclusion of any performance, alcoholic beverages for on-premises consumption in areas upon the licensed premises approved by the Board.

The Richmond Times Dispatch wrote an article about my bill, HB 1825. The bill protects consumers’ rights by making it illegal for companies issuing tickets to inhibit purchasers from reselling tickets. You can read the Richmond Times Dispatch article here, and the full text of the bill here.

Things will get crazy next week, as all the bills have to be voted on by February 4th.

UVA to increase in-state slots

On Tuesday, the University of Virginia announced two of their new efforts to make the school more accessible for Virginia residents.

The first of their efforts was the authorization of the “Cornerstone Grant,” which expands UVA’s financial aid program for qualifying, full time Virginia students from middle income families.

Starting this fall, first and second-year Virginians from families earning less than $125,000 (who do not receive grants or scholarships from other sources) will be eligible to receive a $2,000 Cornerstone Grant. Qualifying third-year students will be eligible to receive a $1,000 grant.

The board also announced that they would be increasing enrollment for Virginians, and that half of the 100 new slots would go to first-year students. The remaining half of the slots will go to a variety of students, including transfers, distance learners and first-year students starting in the spring or summer.

While UVA still has too many out of state students, I am pleased that they have responded to the pressure we have been putting on them and continue to add more in-state slots. The recently added 100 in-state slots will make total of approximately 1,000 new in-state slots over the past 5 years.

The 2016-2017 incoming class at UVA was made up of 66.9 percent of in-state students and 33.1 percent of out-of-state students. This announcement, which will make attendance at UVA more financially attainable and will increase the number of slots for Virginians, is a step in the right direction. You can read the full text of the news release here.

This session, I am the chief patron of HB 1410, which would require that at least 75 percent of the undergraduate students enrolled must be Virginia residents. The full text of the bill is as follows:

HB 1410: Certain educational institutions; designation of governing boards; financial assistance; enrollment. Renames as boards of trustees the boards of visitors of certain educational institutions in the Commonwealth, including baccalaureate public institutions of higher education. The bill prohibits public institutions of higher education from using (i) tuition revenue from any Virginia student to provide financial assistance to any Virginia student or non-Virginia student and (ii) more than five percent of tuition revenue from non-Virginia students to provide financial assistance to non-Virginia students. The bill also requires the governing board of each public institution of higher education, except the Virginia Military Institute, Norfolk State University, and Virginia State University, to ensure that at least 75 percent of the undergraduate students enrolled at the institution have established domicile in the Commonwealth. The bill requires the governing boards of public institutions that do not meet such 75 percent threshold to submit to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia a plan to incrementally increase enrolled undergraduate Virginia students each academic year to ensure compliance no later than the 2020-2021 academic year.

The bill was referred to the Committee on Education and is currently being discussed in the Higher Education subcommittee. If you would like to track the progress of the bill, just click on the “Track Legislation” link and then type the bill number (HB1410).

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