Category Archives: Law

Explanation of Federal Repeal and Replace of the Affordable Care Act

Here is a message from the House Appropriations Committee Chairman Chris Jones on how the federal government plans to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act:

Chairman Jones Memo Regarding Federal Health Care Reform

Final Week of Session 2017

Tomorrow marks the end of Session 2017. It’s hard to believe that seven weeks have already gone by! Here is a picture of our office in the House Chamber: img_0155

You can see our Crossover Update on the blog here: https://delegatedavealbo.wordpress.com/2017/02/23/2017-crossover-update/

We had a lot of students visit the office on Monday to see the artwork that they created and graciously lent to us to hang in the office.

During Session on Monday, Speaker Howell announced his retirement. He will not be running for re-election in this coming election cycle. Speaker Howell has served as a Delegate for 29 years, and as Speaker for 14 years. He was an outstanding leader and legislator, and I am grateful for his years of public service. Below is a video of my remarks honoring the Speaker:

Also on Monday, I introduced HR 351 honoring my constituent, Ginny Thrasher. Ms. Thrasher won the first gold medal of the Rio Olympics. Her first place finish in Women’s 10-meter air rifle set an Olympic record, shooting 208.0 in the final. We are so proud of our WSHS graduate for representing the US!

Unfortunately, she could not be with us in the capitol at the time due to NCAA rules, but she did watch via the live House feed from West Virginia University where she studies biomedical engineering. Below is my introduction of HR 351 recognizing Ms. Thrasher on her great accomplishments:

On Tuesday, we honored Col. Edward Shames on the House floor. Col. Shames was a Lieutenant in World War II, jumped into Normandy, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, liberated Dachau concentration camp, and took a bottle of cognac from Hitler’s “Eagle’s Nest.” If this story sounds familiar, it’s because he and his “Easy Company” were depicted in Band of Brothers.

We have been visited by Super Bowl Winners, Olympic Gold Medalists, the Queen of England, the Vice President, and actual rock stars – but the enthusiastic standing ovation by all 100 members of the House of Delegates for Col. Shames was bigger than what these famous people received, and deservedly so.

col-shames-2

2017 Crossover Update

                             ENCOURAGING JOB GROWTH                                 

Virginia is still a leading job creator in the United States, and ranks in the top 10 in the country for:

  • “Best State for Business” by Forbes Magazine
  • “Best States to Make a Living” by Business Insider and Money-Rates.com
  • “The Top States for Higher Education” by com
  • “The K-12 Achievement Index” by Educational Week and Quality Counts
  • “NAEP Combined Proficiency Rate: 4th and 8th Grade Reading and Math” by Educational Week and Quality Counts

More importantly, we have lowered our unemployment rate by 2.5% between 2012 (6.9%) and 2017 (4.4%) and have the 8th lowest combined state and local tax burden in the country!

However, things are not all roses and puppy dogs.  For decades, the economy in Northern Virginia has benefited from Federal Government spending, but with the recent cuts and the sequestration, our once invincible economy is starting to stammer.  Currently, Fairfax County has a 0% growth rate.  This is a big problem.  In order to create more jobs and increase economic growth, we need to reduce our dependency on the Federal Government and diversify our NOVA economy.  For this reason, I have invested a great deal of time in helping Fairfax INOVA start their Translational Medicine Institute right here in Fairfax County.  The institute combines gene mapping, massive computing power, and clinical trials to develop medications based on a person’s individual DNA code.  Personalized medicine could be an economic game changer.  I even took an online class to further my knowledge on genetics and DNA!  By making our County a national leader in the field of genetics, I hope to make Fairfax County the world’s center for personalized medicine, and therefore create an economic engine in NOVA for years to come.

DELEGATE ALBO’S BILLS

Getting Our Kids into VA Universities:

HB 1410 – Educational institutions, certain; designation of governing boards. (Albo Chief Patron) For years, I have been working with a bipartisan group of Delegates to make colleges more affordable and accessible to our Virginia students.  My HB 1410 does three things.  First, it creates a study so that colleges can eventually stop using tuition from one Virginia student to provide financial aid for another student.  This practice is unfair to students working a job after classes to pay their way through school, and to parents who are working hard to provide for their kids.  Their hard earned money should be used solely for their education or their child’s education.  Second, it creates an incentive for colleges to have at least 70% in-state student enrollment rates, and requires any tuition earned from out-of-state students over the 30% limit be used to lower in-state tuition.  Lastly, it mandates the Board of Visitors to complete training to remind them that their duty is primarily to the people of Virginia.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House.

Protecting Our Environment:

HB 1423 – Potomac River Watershed; DEQ to identify owner of any combined sewer overflow outfall, etc. (Albo Chief Patron) This bill would direct the DEQ to identify the owner of any combined sewer overflow outfall that gets into the Potomac River Watershed and to determine how the owner can bring the outfall into compliance with Virginia law, the federal Clean Water Act, and the policy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).  My idea was incorporated into Delegate Lingamfelter’s HB 2383.

Albo voted “YES”. HB 2383 passed the House.

Helping Families Going Through Divorces:

HB 1456 – Custody and visitation orders; use of term parenting time. (Albo Chief Patron) I have seen many divorce cases argued in court, and know that it must be a stressful time for parents and children.  This bill provides that the court, in its discretion and in referring to a parent, may use the phrase “parenting time” as synonymous with the term “visitation” in a custody or visitation order.  The option to use the term “parenting time” would ensure that no one parent is made to feel less important than another during this already difficult time.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House and the Senate.

Developing Our Area’s Culture and Arts:

HB 1486 – Arts and cultural districts. (Albo Chief Patron) This bill would allow two or more localities to join together to create an arts and cultural district.  We are trying to combine the Lorton Workhouse Arts Center with the events and art in Occoquan with this legislation.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House.

Protecting Your Purchases:

HB 1825 – Rights to resell tickets; civil penalty. (Albo Chief Patron) As a citizen legislator, I bring my own experiences with me to the House of Delegates.  This past year, I splurged on two tickets to see Iron Maiden, only to learn that they conflicted with my family’s vacation.  Because of the restrictions on ticket resale imposed by Ticketmaster, I couldn’t resell the tickets, had to miss the show, and lost my money.  This bill would end those restrictions.  Under HB 1825, any ticket vendor would be prohibited from imposing any rules that would create a substantial obstacle to the ticket holder’s resale of the ticket.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House.

_________________________________________________________

OTHER BILLS OF INTEREST

EDUCATION

Making Sure Virginians are Running our Virginia Schools:
HB 1402 –  Higher educational institutions, public; certain positions require residency of the Commonwealth.
This bill would require each chairman, vice-chairman, rector, and vice-rector of public Virginia colleges to be a Virginia resident.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House.

Helping Our Students Grow in the Computer Science Field:

HB 1663 – Computer Science for All Virginia Students Advisory Committee, etc.; established. Through the establishment of a public-private partnership, this bill encourages and helps fund computer science training and professional development for public school teachers throughout Virginia.  HB 1663 works to improve computer literacy for children and adults in public schools across the Commonwealth.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House.

Keeping Parents Informed About Their Kids’ Education:

HB 2191 – School boards; procedures; sexually explicit instructional materials or related academic activities. (Albo Chief Co-Patron) I co-authored this bill, because parents should have all the information available when it comes to their kids’ education.  This bill would require schools to notify parents when students are required to read sexually explicit material and to offer an alternative reading if it is requested.  The bill would not ban any books from schools, it would simply notify parents if a reading has sexually explicit content.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House.

VA COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

My aforementioned HB 1410 is intended to increase the number of in-state slots, but some schools are already moving in the right direction!  Virginia Tech added 507 in-state slots for the 2016-2017 school year.  The University of Virginia added 843 in-state slots in the last five years, increasing its percentage of in-state students from 67.2% to 69%.  James Madison University increased its percentage of in-state students from 72.2% in 2012 to 74.5% this year.  Some schools have been lacking, though, as William and Mary only added 103 in-state slots over the last five years.  I am glad to see that most of our universities are supporting our Virginia students, but there is more work to be done!

K-12 EDUCATION

Funding for our Schools:

The House proposed budget for July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2018 delivers $21,871,425 MORE to Fairfax County Public Schools.  That is an increase of over $115 per student.  Over the past five years we have delivered $353/student/year more to our Fairfax County Public Schools!

HEALTHCARE

Providing Women’s Healthcare:

HB 2267 – Health benefit plans; coverage for hormonal contraceptives. (Albo Co-Patron) This bill states that health plans that provide hormonal contraceptives must provide a 12-month supply to the patient.  It does not mandate that it all be provided at once, but that women have annual access to this healthcare.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House.

Monitoring Opioid Prescriptions:

HB 1885 – Prescription of opioids; limits. This is one of the bills put forward to combat the opioid epidemic in Virginia.  The epidemic is partly enabled by the difficulty in tracking and monitoring prescriptions.  This bill would require a prescriber registered with the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) to request information about a patient from the PMP before prescribing them any opioids.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House and the Senate.

PUBLIC SAFETY AND TRANSPORTATION

Enforcing Federal Immigration Law:

HB 1468 – Compliance with detainers; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. This bill would prohibit a jail or law enforcement agency from releasing a person who is incarcerated and is an illegal alien when the jail has already received a lawful detainer order from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.  This legislation would simply ensure that our state agencies comply with existing federal law.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House and the Senate.

Prosecuting Drunk Drivers:

HB 2327 – DUI; implied consent; refusal of blood or breath tests. This bill was offered in response to a recent Supreme Court decision that ruled that criminal penalties for refusing a blood alcohol content test for a DUI was unconstitutional.  HB 2327 changes the penalties associated with refusal for repeat DUI offenders to make it constitutional.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House.

Protecting Virginians from Fraud:

HB 2417 – Department of Medical Assistance Services; fraud prevention; prepayment analytics. (Albo Co-Patron) HB 2417 creates a computer monitoring system aimed at reducing fraud with payments made through the state program for medical assistance.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House.

Combatting Terrorism in Virginia:

HB 2410 – Providing support to terrorist organizations; penalty. Our code previously lacked provisions that specifically punished those associated with terrorism when the actual act of terror occurred outside of Virginia.  Under this bill, any person who knowingly aids a terrorist organization will be guilty of a Class 3 felony.  If the assistance results in someone’s death, that charge is increased to a Class 2 felony.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House.

Keeping Our Kids Safe from Sex Offenders:

HB 1485 – Sex offenses prohibiting proximity to children; penalty. (Albo Co-Patron) In order to protect our children, this bill prohibits those who have been convicted of sex offenses in other states or foreign countries from residing or being in places where children frequent.  The bill applies to anyone who has been convicted of an offense that is similar to the any of the offenses qualified as sex offenses in Virginia.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House.

LOCAL NEWS

Commemorating Women’s Right to Vote:

HB 2348 – Women’s Right to Vote, Commission for the Commemoration of the Centennial of; established. (Albo Co-Patron) This bill creates a commission to commemorate the 100th anniversary of women’s right to vote.  2017 marks 100 years since the turning point of the Suffrage Movement.  The Turning Point Suffragist Memorial will be built in Occoquan Regional Park, where the Occoquan Workhouse was located.  Scores of suffragists were unjustly imprisoned in the Workhouse.  The national memorial will educate, inspire, and give people the opportunity to reflect.  My grandmother was a suffragette, and I remember her telling me stories about it when I was a kid.  This bill will help to commemorate her and all the women who fought for their right to vote.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House.

WSHS Renovation Begins:

West Springfield High School is in the midst of a renovation.  Drive by when you get a chance to see the progress on the building!

                                               ________________________________

I know this was a lot of information, but we have accomplished a lot so far in Richmond.  Please contact me by email at DelDAlbo@house.virginia.gov, or by phone at (703) 451-3555 with any questions or concerns.  You can also view updates on my blog, www.delegatedavealbo.wordpress.com.  After all, my job is not to do what I want to do, but rather, to do what you want!

Fifth Week of Session 2017

This week was an exciting one! It started off on Monday with visits from many of the wonderful artists who lent me their artwork to display in my office during session. They stopped by my office at the General Assembly, spent some time in the Capitol, and watched some of session from the gallery.

Updates

On Tuesday, HB 1410, HB 1487, HB 2359, HB 2360, and HB 2366 passed the House. They are now being discussed in Senate committees. Some of the bills are explained below. To read the rest of the bills, and to follow all of my other legislation, please click here.

HB 1410: Educational institutions, baccalaureate public; enrollment of non-Virginia students. The bill prohibits the annual enrollment of full-time equivalent undergraduate non-Virginia students from exceeding 30 percent of the total annual enrollment of full-time equivalent undergraduate students. If a school exceeds a 30 percent cap with tuition revenue from such students they must use any remaining tuition revenue from such students to lower in equal amounts the rate of tuition and fees charged to each undergraduate Virginia student. The bill also declares that the governing board of each public institution of higher education has a duty to the Commonwealth and its citizens. HB 1410 was assigned to the Senate Committee on Education and Health.

HB 1487: Maximum number of circuit court judges; 19th Judicial Circuit. The bill reduces the maximum number of circuit court judges in the 19th Judicial Circuit from 15 to 14. HB 1487 was referred to the Senate Committee on Courts of Justice.

HB 2360: Virginia Information Technologies Agency; procurement of information technology. The bill requires the Chief Information Officer of the Virginia Information Technologies Agency to develop policies, standards, and guidelines that require that any contract for information technology entered into by the Commonwealth’s executive, legislative, and judicial branches and independent agencies require compliance with applicable federal laws and regulations pertaining to information security and privacy. HB 2360 was referred to the Senate Committee on General Laws and Technology.

On Wednesday, HB 1456 passed the Senate. HB 1456 provides that the court, in its discretion and as to a parent, may use the phrase “parenting time” to be synonymous with the term “visitation” in a custody or visitation order.

I encourage you to keep in touch with me and my office over the rest of session! We have about three weeks left. I value the feedback you provide as it helps me to a better job of representing you. You can email me at DelDAlbo@house.virginia.gov or call me at (804)-698-1042. You can also join the conversation on our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DaveAlboVA

Links of Interest:

My Web Site: www.DaveAlbo.org

Legislative information system: http://www.lis.virginia.gov

Live session video and archived session videos: http://virginia-house.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3

 

Fourth Week of 2017 Session

The General Assembly and the Capitol were bustling this week. I enjoyed seeing many constituents. Thank you to everyone who stopped by and said hello!

I had a lot of legislative work to do as all of the bills must be voted on by Friday, February 3. All of the legislation that has passed the House will be read and voted on in the Senate, and all of the legislation that has passed the Senate will be read and voted on in the House – this is called crossover.

Visitors from the 42nd District

I enjoyed a visit from Nick Milroy, WSHS Alum, representing Virginia Tech. Nick and I talked about state funding for Higher Education and the fact that he was on the WSHS Swim Team, class of 2015, and I was on it in 1980!

dave-and-nick-milroy

A couple of visitors stopped by to see the wonderful artwork that we have on the walls! Check out the blog post from the second week of session to see the pictures all over my office in the General Assembly.

Legislative Updates

On Tuesday, HB 1825 passed the House on its third reading. The bill will prohibit ticket sale companies from implementing barriers for resale. You can read more about the bill in this Richmond Times Dispatch article, which includes an anecdote about my own experience with this issue.

On Wednesday, HB 1526 passed the House on its third reading. The bill 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.

On Thursday, HB 1411 and HB 1525 passed the House on their third reading unopposed. You can read the bills as filed, as well as keep up with the rest of my legislation by clicking here.

HB 1410 – My original bill addressed three things:

  1. It makes sure that the Boards of Visitors know they are running the university on behalf of the PEOPLE of VA! When they make their decisions, they need to think about what parents and students want first, not what “academia” wants. The point here is that the Board of Visitors should not be empire building, but instead making sure tuition is affordable, there are slots for in state students, AND that they are to provide a top notch education.
  1. Schools say they need out-of-state students because they pay twice as much, and they need their money for running the school. Instead, we find that many schools take out-of-state tuition money and use it to fund other out-of-state students. Secondly, an infuriating policy that they have is taking in-state student tuition and using it for financial aid to other in-state students. Thus, when I paid $20,000 for a pre-paid tuition for my son, unbeknownst to me, some of the money I saved was NOT going to Ben, but rather going to some other student. It is even more maddening when you think about a student who is paying their own tuition and working to put themselves through school. Think about it, these students are working outside of class hours, not only to pay their own tuition, but to pay someone else’s tuition who is not working!
  1. Finally, it addresses the problem of UVA and W&M who have 69% and 66%, respectively, in-state students. These schools are Virginia schools — not the University of New Jersey at Charlottesville or College of New York at Williamsburg. My bill mandates that all schools must be at least 75% in state.  I have been working for years on this. Virginia Tech and JMU are at 74% now, and they have done a great job. UVA has added about 1000 slots, but are still have too few in-state slots.

What the amended bill does:

In this business, you have to compromise to accomplish things. I want to remind you that even though this is not 100% of what I want, it is the first time a bill on this topic has even gotten out of committee and to the House Floor. Here is what I have agreed to:

  1. Puts in Code that Boards of Visitors owe a duty to the people of Virginia and requires this in training.
  1. Creates a study to figure out a way for schools to limit or eliminate using tuition for financial aid. We had to study this because all schools have programmed tuition transfer into their budgets, and students with financial need would end up being kicked out of school if this passed immediately.
  1. Mandates a 70% in-state limit instead of a 75%. It does so through incentives rather than mandates. It says that for all schools who are above a 30% out-of-state ratio, any such student’s tuition above the cost of educating him MUST go to reducing tuition costs of in-state students. Maybe an example would help; If a school has 10,000 undergrads, they can have 3000 out-of-state students. But if they have 4000 out-of-state students, they must use the tuition from the extra 1,000 students to lower in-state students’ tuition costs. If out-of-state tuition is $24,000 and it costs $10,000 to educate that student, then the $14,000 profit must be used to lower the in-state students’ tuition. Basically, it takes the incentive out of any school going higher than 30% out of state, effectively capping out of state enrollment at 30%. While I wanted the cap at 25%, this is still a major accomplishment.

I encourage you to keep in touch with me and my office over the rest of session! We have about three weeks left. I value the feedback you provide as it helps me to a better job of representing you. You can email me at DelDAlbo@house.virginia.gov or call me at (804)-698-1042. You can also join the conversation on our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DaveAlboVA

Links of Interest:

My Web Site: www.DaveAlbo.org

Legislative information system: http://www.lis.virginia.gov

Live session video and archived session videos: http://virginia-house.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3

Third Week of 2017 Session

It has been a busy week! A lot has happened in the office and during session over the past five days. I have been working hard to represent you well.

Next week is crossover, which is when the bills will switch bodies. All of the legislation that has passed the House will be read and voted on in the Senate, and all of the legislation that has passed the Senate will be read and voted on in the House.

Legislative Updates

Some of my bills are still being discussed in committee, but some of them were read during session and voted on this week. You can follow the status of all of my bills by clicking here.

Several of my bills passed the house this week!

On Wednesday, HB 1486 passed the house on its third reading unopposed. The bill would allow that arts and cultural districts may be created jointly by two or more localities.

On Thursday, HB 1456 passed the house on its third reading unopposed. The bill changes the use of the word “visitation” to “parenting time” in cases involving custody or visitation of a child. The use of this term helps families going through a divorce and makes sure that no one in the process feels like any less of a parent.

Also this week my bill, HB 1825, was heard on the House floor. The summary of the bill as introduced is as follows:

HB 1825: Rights to resell tickets; civil penalty. Prohibits any person that issues tickets for admission to any sporting event, theatrical production, lecture, motion picture screening, or any other event open to the public for which tickets are ordinarily sold from issuing the ticket solely through a delivery method that substantially prevents the ticket purchaser from lawfully reselling the ticket on the Internet ticketing platform of the ticket purchaser’s choice. The measure also prohibits a person from being penalized, discriminated against, or denied admission to an event solely on the basis that the person resold a ticket, or purchased a resold ticket, on a specific Internet ticketing platform. A person violating these prohibitions is subject to a civil penalty of not less than $5,000 nor more than $15,000.

Popes Head Interchange

I was excited to hear this week that VDOT listened to my request to widen the parkway between 29 and 123 (the Popes Head interchange). The design process is underway and a Board action secured funding for the preliminary engineering. VDOT will implement the project.

We are nearly halfway done, as crossover is next week. I encourage you to keep in touch with me and my office over the rest of session! I value the feedback you provide as it helps me to a better job of representing you. You can email me at DelDAlbo@house.virginia.gov or call me at (804)-698-1042. You can also join the conversation on our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DaveAlboVA

Links of Interest:

My Web Site: www.DaveAlbo.org

Legislative information system: http://www.lis.virginia.gov

Live session video and archived session videos: http://virginia-house.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3

First Week of 2017 Session

The 2017 General Assembly Session has begun!

The 2017 General Assembly session opened on Wednesday, January 12. I’m looking forward to a productive session working for you in Richmond this winter!

On Wednesday, Session began with the Richmond Symphony singing the National Anthem, which was followed by the swearing in of one new member, Rocky Holcomb (R). Delegate Holcomb will be representing District 85.

Later that evening, Governor Terry McAuliffe delivered his annual State of the Commonwealth address to the Joint Assembly of the House of Delegates and Senate. You can view a video recording of the evening here. The transcript of the Governor’s address can be read here. Delegate Villanueva and Senator Dunnavant delivered the Republican Perspective on the State of the Commonwealth. You can read the text of their remarks here.

Budget

In August of last year, Governor McAuliffe announced over a $1 billion shortfall. The shortfall is a result of a lagging economy that generated less tax revenue than expected. Virginia’s economy has lost more than 4,000 jobs, weekly wages are down, and part-time employees are up by more than 20,000 since 2015.

However, unlike Washington, Virginia’s constitution requires a balanced budget. Last month Governor McAuliffe unveiled his proposed budget to the General Assembly. The Governor’s budget proposal is just the first step in a long process. It is now time for the House to develop our budget. Our goal is to craft a responsible, conservative budget that strategically invests in the core functions of government while protecting precious taxpayer resources. We will invest in key priorities, but we must do so in a fiscally prudent manner.

Pre-Session Survey

As we start the General Assembly, I encourage you to fill out my session survey. Many of you may have already received it in the mail, but I encourage you to fill it out on my website http://www.davealbo.org/. Please share the survey with your friends and neighbors in the 42nd District to fill it out as well. Your thoughts on important issues like ways to make college more affordable and suggestions on how to stimulate our economy drive my work in Richmond. Please make sure you complete and send in your survey by January 18th.

Delegate Albo’s 2017 Legislation

I have filed a few bills that you may find interesting. To follow any other legislation or to read these bills in full, please visit http://www.lis.virginia.gov

HB 1410: Educational institutions, certain; designation of governing boards. Renames as boards of trustees the boards of visitors of certain educational institutions in the Commonwealth.

The bill prohibits public institutions of higher education from using tuition revenue from any Virginia student to provide financial assistance to any Virginia student or non-Virginia student and 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 VMI, Norfolk State, and VSU) to ensure that at least 75 percent of the undergraduate students enrolled at the institution have established domicile in the Commonwealth. The public institutions must be compliant no later than the 2020-2021 academic year.

HB 1423: Potomac River Watershed; DEQ to identify owner of any combined sewer overflow outfall, etc. Directs Department of Environmental Quality to identify the owner of any combined sewer overflow outfall that discharges into the Potomac River Watershed and to determine what actions by the owner are necessary to bring the outfall into compliance with Virginia law, the federal Clean Water Act, and the Presumption Approach described in the CSO Control Policy of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

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.

I encourage you to keep in touch with me and my office over the rest of session! I value the feedback you provide as it helps me to a better job of representing you. You can email me at DelDAlbo@house.virginia.gov or call me at (804)-698-1042. You can also join the conversation on our Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DaveAlboVA

Links of Interest

My Web Site: www.DaveAlbo.org

Legislative information system: http://www.lis.virginia.gov

Live session video and archived session videos: http://virginia-house.granicus.com/ViewPublisher.php?view_id=3

New members of the House and Senate: http://www.vpap.org/general-assembly/new-faces/

Speaker Howell announces standing committee assignments: http://www.vpap.org/updates/2439-2017-house-committee-assignments/

Governor McAuliffe’s State of the Commonwealth address: http://virginia-house.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=3&clip_id=3907

Transcript of the State of the Commonwealth address: https://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/newsarticle?articleId=18925

Transcript of Delegate Villanueva and Senator Dunnavant’s Republican Perspective on the State of the Commonwealth: http://virginiahouse.gop/2017/01/11/delegate-villanueva-and-senator-dunnavant-deliver-republican-perspective-on-the-state-of-the-commonwealth/

Amendments to the Virginia Constitution

Recently I have been asked by many constituents to explain the two 2016 ballot proposed amendments to the Virginia Constitution.  I will explain them, but I am not here to tell you how to vote.  A long time ago I learned that I am no smarter than my constituents.  In fact, at every meeting I go to, there is always one person who knows more than me on the topic I am explaining.  With that in mind, let me try to explain these amendments and both sides of the arguments for and against.

First, it may be useful to understand how an amendment gets on the ballot.  Other states have procedures where citizens can collect a number of signatures and get a proposed law on the ballot.  That is how marijuana has been legalized in many states.  In Virginia, all laws are passed by the General Assembly and not the public, except for Constitutional Amendments.  To get the Constitution amended, a bill must pass.  Then there must be an intervening election, and the exact same bill (not even a comma can be changed) has to be passed.  And then, it has to be voted on by a majority of the citizens voting in the next election.

We have two proposed amendments: (1)  Right to Work and (2) Allowing local governments to exempt property taxes for spouses of Police and Firefighters killed in the line of duty.

(1)  Right to Work

This amendment would guarantee in the Virginia Constitution a citizen’s right to hold a job without being required to join a labor union. For decades the Virginia Code has included a law which declares that no one can be forced to join a Labor Union (pay a fee) in order to work.  So, contrary to popular belief, Labor Unions are not illegal in Virginia.  The law simply means that union membership must be voluntary and not compulsory.

The practical effect of this is that Labor Unions have a great difficulty forming in Virginia because why would someone join a Union when others don’t have to join and pay?

Even though this concept is already in the law, this proposal seeks to move it to the Constitution so that it will be very difficult to repeal it.  (As stated earlier, to repeal, the same law would have to pass twice with an intervening election and then be approved at the ballot box).

Proponents say:

“There is also a practical issue. As you many know, many states are not right-to-work states. For many jobs in many parts of the country, people can be forced to join a labor union against their will just to hold a job. A nearby example of an organization that is not “right-to-work” is the  Metro.

When major businesses in the United States expand or relocate, a key factor in their consideration is locating in a place that has strong right-to-work laws. “By placing this provision in the state Constitution, Virginia would send a strong signal nationally that we want businesses to locate, expand, and create jobs in our state.”  (This is an excerpt of an e-mail written by Delegate Jim LeMunyon)

Opponents say:

“It is already in the Code.  This is just politics.”  Also, they point out that it is not fair that some people have to pay to get the benefits of being in a Union (e.g. negotiated wages and benefits with the government and private businesses), and others get to be “freeloaders” by getting the benefits without having to pay.

(2) Allowing local governments to exempt property taxes for spouses of Police and Firefighters killed in the line of duty.

This is not as controversial as the other amendment.  This proposed amendment allows, not requires, local governments to exempt from property tax the homes of a surviving spouse of a law enforcement officer or other emergency responder who is killed in the line of duty. A similar provision already exists for surviving spouses of members of the armed forces who are killed in the line of duty or are permanently disabled.

Proponents say that approval of this amendment is one way of showing our support for people who risk their lives every day to keep us safe.

Opponents don’t seem to be against this, but they point out that as more and more groups seek similar exemptions, our tax base begins to deteriorate.  And every person who gets exempted must have their share of taxes be made up by other citizens who have to pay property taxes.

I wanted to provide an explanation that is non-partisan and consists of just the facts.  Please let me know if you have any questions.  If you want my opinion, just e-mail me at  dave@davealbo.com and I would be happy to share it.

Governor McAuliffe’s Executive Order

On April 22nd Governor McAuliffe issued an executive order declaring that all felons, both violent and non-violent, who have completed their sentence and probation shall have their voting rights restored. I am in favor of non-violent felons who have completed their prison sentence and their parole, paid all fines and costs of restitution, and who have given back to society by doing community service having their voting rights restored. But Governor McAuliffe’s plan is outrageous. This means that all felons, including murders, rapists, kidnappers, and child molesters will be able to vote and serve jury duty. It does not even require them to have paid their restitution to the victims. This political move by Governor McAuliffe not only undermines the strength of our justice system but rewrites Virginia’s laws, which state that people convicted of felonies lose their right to vote.

To be clear, there is a process in place for convicted felons to petition to have their voting rights restored. This is done on a case-by-case basis. In recent years thousands of offenders – most of them nonviolent – have had their rights restored this way.

Governor McAuliffe’s restoration of rights applies broadly to all felons, meaning that it does not take into account a number of factors, such as the seriousness of the offense, whether the felon has committed multiple offences, whether the felon repaid the victim, and if the felon committed other crimes since their release.

Legal teams for both Governor Kaine and Governor McDonnell studied a similar order and concluded that any restoration of rights would require a case study. Governor Kaine’s lawyer stated that a blanket restoration “would be a rewrite of the law rather than a contemplated use of the executive clemency powers. And, the notion that the Constitution of the Commonwealth could be rewritten via executive order is troubling.” You can read both legal opinions here and here.

This is an extreme move from the Governor. When you consider this in addition to the Governor’s veto of HB 516, which would simply require parental notification when a teacher assigns readings with sexually explicit material, and his veto of HB 1234, which would allow retired police officers who still meet firearms training requirements to be placed in schools to protect children, I think you can see that Governor McAuliffe is on the extreme liberal side of the political spectrum.

Crossover Session Update

District 42 Families Pay a Visit to Richmond

This week I had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful families down at the Capitol. The Nguyen and Jung families came to see their children’s artwork that is hanging in my office, and the entire Bell family came to learn more about Virginia’s government. I appreciate them making the long drive to see what the Virginia legislature is all about!

Dave and Jung Fam

The Jung Family

Missy Bell

Missy Bell and I

Nguyen Fam

The Nguyen Family

 

Speaker Howell Announces House Budget Conferees

On Thursday, Speaker Howell announced the names of the Delegates that will be representing the House in the final budget conference committees with the Senate. The Delegates that he chose were House Appropriations Committee Chairman Chris Jones, Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman Steven Landes, Majority Leader Kirk Cox, Delegate John O’Bannon, Delegate Tag Greason, and Delegate Luke Torian. Delegate Torian may be the first African American to be selected for this most prestigious of all conference committees to negotiate the final budget. Our goal in the House is to negotiate a final budget conference report that prioritizes savings, eliminates state liabilities, reduces borrowing, and makes key investments. While the Senate’s budget bill is similar to the House’s HB 29 and HB 30, there are still differences that need to be worked out.

Crossover Summary

ENCOURAGING JOB GROWTH

Virginia is still a leading job creator in the United States, and ranks in the top 10 in the country for:

  • “Best State for Business” by Forbes Magazine
  • “Best States to Make a Living” by Business Insider and Money-Rates.com
  • “The Top States for Higher Education” by SmartAsset.com
  • “The K-12 Achievement Index” by Educational Week and Quality Counts
  • “NAEP Combined Proficiency Rate: 4th and 8th Grade Reading and Math” by Educational Week and Quality Counts

More importantly, we have lowered our unemployment rate by 1.7% between 2012 (6.9%) and 2016 (5.2%) and have the 8th lowest combined state and local tax burden in the country!

However, things are not all roses and puppy dogs. For decades, the economy in Northern Virginia has benefited from Federal Government spending, but with the recent cuts and the sequestration, our once invincible economy is starting to stammer.  Currently, Fairfax County has a 0% growth rate.  This is a big problem.  In order to create more jobs and increase economic growth, we need to reduce our dependency on the Federal Government and diversify our NOVA economy.  For this reason, I have invested a great deal of time in helping Fairfax INOVA start their Translational Medicine Institute right here in Fairfax County.  The institute combines gene mapping, massive computing power, and clinical trials to develop medications based on a person’s individual DNA code.  These procedures can result in medications that are tailored to each person.  For example, by knowing a person’s DNA code, a doctor could recommend medication that has worked for cancer patients with similar genetics and avoid drugs that might not work for that DNA type.  This could save billions of dollars in medical costs and correctly treat diseases to save millions of lives.  Personalized medicine could be an economic game changer.  I even took an online class to further my knowledge on genetics and DNA! By making our County a national leader in the field of genetics, I hope to make Fairfax County the world’s center for personalized medicine, and therefore create an economic engine in NOVA for years to come.

DELEGATE ALBO’S BILLS

Protecting Animals:

HB 118 – Fairfax County; animal protection police officer. (Albo Chief-Patron) I do a great deal of work in the legislature to protect animals. My new bill closes a legal loophole that recently removed Fairfax Animal Control Officers’ ability to make an arrest, despite receiving the same training as standard police officers.  Because of this loophole, if an Animal Control Officer sees a person beating a dog, the officer can remove the dog but not arrest the abuser.  This legislation restores Fairfax Animal Control Officers’ ability to make that arrest.

Albo voted “YES.” This bill passed the House.

Warrants for Electronic Records – Convicting Child Pornographers:

HB 326 – Electronic communication service or remote computing service records; obtaining records. (Albo Chief-Patron) During criminal investigations, subpoenas and warrants are often issued to a suspect’s internet service provider. While this protocol works well for most investigations, it can be problematic during child pornography cases.  When a computer has “pinged” a known picture of child porn, the police will subpoena the suspect’s internet service provider to find out the identity of the computer owner and other internet usage information.  As of right now, many internet service providers believe they are required to inform their customer of the investigation.  This gives the criminal an opportunity to destroy evidence and flee.  My bill stipulates that a Court may order an internet service provider to not disclose the existence of a subpoena or warrant for at least 90 days.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House.

Keeping Families Safe from Predators:

HB 177 – Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry Act. (Albo Chief-Patron) My bill adds certain crimes against children (Aggravated Malicious Wounding, Shooting/Stabbing with the Intent to Maim and certain human trafficking laws) to the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry. The registry allows you to know which dangerous criminals live in your neighborhood so that you can keep your family safe.  (Note: In Virginia violent child sex offenders never get out of prison.  However, after a few decades in prison for the more serious offenders and a few years for the lower level offenders, these criminals can eventually return to the community). To view the registry, visit http://sexoffender.vsp.virginia.gov/sor/ and click the “search” tab located on the top-right portion of the website.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House.

Bringing Wire Taps into the Cell Phone Age:

HB 176 – Court allowed to issue an order for installation of a wiretap. (Albo Chief-Patron) When the wiretap laws were written phones used to be on a wall or desk. Now, most phones are mobile.  The existing law states that the police can only get a search warrant to tap a criminal’s phone where the criminal lives.  My bill changes the law by letting courts order a wiretap either where the criminal lives or where the crime may have occurred.        

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House.

OTHER BILLS OF INTEREST

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE

As Chairman of the House Courts of Justice Committee, it is my responsibility to speak up for victims of domestic violence across Virginia. This year, we made significant strides in our efforts against domestic violence.

Protecting Stalking Victims:

HB 886 – Stalking; penalty. (Albo Chief-Patron) Without the possibility of a felony conviction, many stalkers do not stop pursuing their victim. My bill helps protect victims and their families by making a second offense for stalking within five years of the first offense a Class 6 felony.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House.

Protection from Violent Criminals:

HB 1087 – Violation of protective order; firearm or other deadly weapon; penalty. (Gilbert Chief-Patron)  This bill makes the violation of a protective order with a deadly weapon a Class 6 felony. By classifying the offense as a felony, the law automatically bars the felon from possessing a firearm (Note: In addition to losing the right to vote, one of the consequences of being convicted of a felony is that such a person is forever barred from possessing a firearm).

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House.

VA COLLEGES AND UNIVERSITIES

The plan to expand in-state enrollment has been working! Virginia Tech added 480 in-state slots in 2015, and is looking to add 200 additional in-state slots for the upcoming year. The University of Virginia added 865 in-state slots in the last five years alone, and hopes to add an additional 243 spots in the next two years.  James Madison University increased the percentage of in-state students in its freshman classes from 68% in 2012 to 73% this year. Some schools have been lacking though, as William and Mary only had a 1.42% increase (42 new in-state slots) over the last five years. I am glad to see that most of our universities are supporting our Virginia students, but there is more work to be done!

K-12 EDUCATION

Funding for our Schools:

The new budget for July 1, 2016 to June 30, 2017 delivers $15,040,607 MORE to Fairfax County Public Schools. That is an increase of $141 per student. Over the past five years we have delivered $618/student/year more to our Fairfax County Public Schools! My blog post “State Per Pupil Funding” outlines the state funding history from 2012-2017. The article link is below.

https://delegatedavealbo.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/state-per-pupil-spending-2/

Helping Students with Developmental Disabilities:

HB 1213 – Disorderly conduct at schools; minors; evidence. (Albo Chief-Patron) Many children that are prone to outbursts at school suffer from certain mental disorders that render them incapable of fully controlling their behavior. In certain cases, students do not receive help from the schools and instead are charged with crimes such as Disorderly Conduct.  This bill enables a child or the legal guardian to present documents from a healthcare provider, individual educational plan, or a behavioral assessment test to help prove in Court that the child cannot willfully control their behavior.  With this evidence, a child could avoid prosecution for something that is simply outside their control.  The bill only applies to misdemeanors and crimes on school grounds.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House.

Helping Our Students Grow in the Field of Computer Science:

HB 228 – Board of Education; graduation requirements. (Albo Chief-Patron) While computer proficiency has become a necessary life skill, computer programming is still just an elective at our high schools. Since it is merely an elective, computer programming classes are extraordinarily difficult to take in our local high schools. For example, in order to have a space in his schedule for classes on computer programming, a local high school student had to quit the band.  On top of that, even after quitting the band, he ran out of computer programming classes to take!  To put matters into perspective, in 2015 China graduated two million computer programmers, while the U.S. only graduated 35,000.  Our children need advanced computer skills to compete in a tech-driven global economy.  My bill gives students the option of taking computer programming courses to fulfill their foreign language requirement.  This legislation was incorporated into Delegate Greason’s bill, HB 831.

Albo voted “YES.” HB 831 passed the House.

TRANSPORTATION

After 30 years, funding to widen Rolling Road/Old Keene Mill Road to the Fairfax County Parkway has finally been approved! The project will add two more lanes, for a total of four lanes. Some may oppose the new project because they saw the design proposal from eight years ago which would have wiped out many front and back yards.  The old proposal was designed to meet the Federal funding rules that required extra wide lanes and two bike paths.  This is no longer the case. The funding for this project now only uses State and Northern Virginia Transportation Authority money, so Federal requirements, such as bike paths and decorative medians, do not have to be constructed.  Consequently, a design with much less impact on surrounding homes is possible.  However, as this is a new design, VDOT has to start from scratch.  The new review and redesign process has created a delay, therefore the public hearings originally planned for January 2016 will now be held in 2017.  I am always a fan of “measuring twice and cutting once”, so while this delay is inconvenient, I am happy that VDOT is paying attention to detail and to the concerns of Rolling Road residents.  Further information on the Rolling Road Widening Project can be found on the VDOT website.  You can also find the information by visiting the “Links” section of my website, www.DaveAlbo.org.

Here are the directions to view the content from my homepage:

Click “Links”, then “Transportation”, then “VDOT Transportation Projects”, then “Northern Virginia”, then “Rolling Rd Widening”

Plans for Route 1 Widening and Improvements:

The following links contain VDOT and Fairfax County’s time line and plans for the Route 1.

Banning Tolls on I-395 between Edsall Rd and DC:

HB 225 – Tolls for use of Interstate System components. (Albo Chief-Patron)

Unlike the HOT lanes on the Beltway, where the State built new lanes for drivers, the Governor’s HOT Lanes agenda plans to extend the 95 HOT lanes to the HOV lanes on 395.  His plan actually tolls the existing lanes that are currently free.  To explain a bit more thoroughly, let me give you an example.  On the Beltway HOT lanes, you only have to pay if you want to use the new lanes and are a non-HOV driver.  If you do not wish to pay, you can use the existing lanes that have always been available to you.  On the other hand, the Governor’s 395 HOT Lane Plan requires non-HOV drivers to pay if they want to use the HOV lanes prior to, or after rush hours.  There is no free option to use the existing HOV lanes you have always used.  So now my constituents will be charged for something that used to be free.  In response, I filed this bill, which would have barred tolls on the existing HOV lanes.  Unfortunately, everyone except me was against the idea.  VDOT, Chambers of Commerce, NOVA Transportation Alliance, and others all opposed my bill.

The bill was killed in sub-committee 5-2.

E-mail and Text Notification of HOT Lane / EZ Pass Low Balance and Violations:

HB 169 – HOT lanes enforcement and notification by a HOT lanes operator and the Department of Transportation. (Albo Chief-Patron) My bill creates a notification system to let you know when you have violated the HOT lanes or toll road rules by going through a gantry and not paying. The system will also warn you when a low balance on your EZ Pass account has occurred.  This was actually an idea given to me by my former Legislative Assistant, Cori Inman.  The bill was incorporated into the omnibus tolling bill, HB 1069 (See below).

Setting up Rules on What Roads Can Be Tolled:

HB 1069 – Tolling civil penalties; period of nonpayment; limitations on tolling; notification of toll violations. (Albo Co-Patron) In addition to the text and e-mail notifications from my HB 169, this bill guarantees that in NOVA, only interstates and roads that connect to a bridge over water can be tolled. It protects roads like Braddock, Old Keene Mill Road, Route 7, Route 28, and the Fairfax County Parkway from ever being tolled.  It also sets up rules for the tolling of I-66, which will require that new lanes must be added if tolls are put in place.

Albo voted “YES.” The bill passed the House.

I know this was a lot of information, but we have accomplished a lot so far in Richmond. Please contact me by email at DelDAlbo@house.virginia.gov, or by phone at (703) 451-3555 with any questions or concerns. You can also view updates on my blog, www.delegatedavealbo.wordpress.com. After all, my job is not to do what I want to do, but rather, to do what you want!