Category Archives: Law

Opioid Overdoses in Fairfax County

Over the past ten years, overdoses from opioids have almost doubled in Fairfax County. There were a total of 103 fatal overdoses in 2016 alone. Opioid addiction is becoming a large issue for the state of Virginia and Fairfax County, and our House of Delegates has been working hard to try and combat this problem. My fellow Delegates and I have passed many new bills which will hopefully mend some of the problems with opioids. Two House Bills, HB 1453 and HB 1750, made naloxone, an emergency anti-opioid drug, more available for treatment uses. In addition, HB 2165 has created a system for prescribing all opioids electronically by 2020 which will hopefully cut down on drug abuse rates. Finally, in an effort to reduce spread of diseases transmitted by sharing needles, HB 2317 legalized syringe access programs. Virginia will continue to work towards eradicating this debilitating drug addiction.

Advertisements

New Criminal & Public Safety Laws

As of July 1, 2017, there are many new laws pertaining to rulings on Driving under the Influence and Driver’s Licenses, and it is important that everyone is informed about these changes. These laws provide more clarity on revocation or suspension of licenses including period of suspension and uses, punishments for repeated DUI’s, changes to refusal of blood or breath tests under implied consent, and alternative to loss of license with first time marijuana convictions

H.B.1525

Patron: Albo

Revocation or suspension of driver’s licenses; laws of other jurisdictions. If somebody is convicted of an offense which would cause their license to be immediately suspended or revoked, but they’re in a different jurisdiction, then the Commissioner of the DMV will make a decision based off of the other jurisdiction’s laws. This law also creates a process for anyone whose license was administratively revoked before July 1, 2017 to request a review of their revocation or suspension.  Provides that the Commissioner of the Department of Motor Vehicles is limited to reviewing the text of another jurisdiction’s law when determining whether a person’s driver’s license should be administratively revoked or suspended as a result of such person’s conviction in the other jurisdiction for an offense substantially similar to an offense under the law of the Commonwealth that requires revocation or suspension of a person’s driver’s license. The bill also provides that if the Commissioner cannot reasonably determine from the text of the other jurisdiction’s law whether such law is substantially similar to the law of the Commonwealth, the Commissioner may, if available, review a certified copy of the final order of the person’s conviction in the other jurisdiction. The bill also establishes a process for any person whose driver’s license was administratively revoked or suspended prior to July 1, 2017, on the basis of a conviction in another jurisdiction to request a review of such revocation or suspension. The provisions of the act do not apply to any disqualification of eligibility to operate a commercial motor vehicle imposed by the Commissioner pursuant to the Virginia Commercial Driver’s License Act.

H.B. 1622

Patron: Collins

Driving commercial vehicle while intoxicated; penalties. This law makes the penalties for DUI and commercial DUI the same while also increasing the minimum sentencing for repeated offenses or offenses committed while transporting minors. Harmonizes the penalties for driving under the influence (DUI) and commercial DUI. The bill imposes a $250 mandatory minimum fine for a first offense of commercial DUI and mandatory minimum sentences of five days if the person’s blood alcohol level was at least 0.15 and 10 days if the person’s blood alcohol level was more than 0.20. The bill increases from five to 20 days the mandatory minimum sentence for a second offense committed within five years, adds a 10-day mandatory minimum sentence for a second offense committed within five to 10 years, and imposes a $500 mandatory minimum fine for any second offense committed within a 10-year period. The bill also imposes additional mandatory minimum sentences for a second offense committed within 10 years of 10 days if the person’s blood alcohol level was at least 0.15 and 20 days if the person’s blood alcohol level was more than 0.20 as well as an additional $500 mandatory minimum fine. The bill raises the penalty for a third offense committed within 10 years from a Class 1 misdemeanor with a mandatory minimum sentence of 10 days, or 30 days if the three offenses were committed within five years, to a Class 6 felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of 90 days, or six months if the three offenses were committed within five years, and a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000. The bill adds a penalty for a fourth or subsequent offense committed within a 10-year period that includes a mandatory minimum sentence of one year and a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000. The bill also provides that a person convicted of commercial DUI after being convicted of certain felony DUI or DUI-related offenses is guilty of a Class 6 felony with a mandatory minimum sentence of one year and a mandatory minimum fine of $1,000. The bill also provides that the punishment for any person convicted of commercial DUI who was transporting a minor at the time of the offense shall include an additional mandatory minimum sentence of five days and an additional fine of at least $500 and no more than $1,000. Finally, the bill provides that the mandatory minimum punishments are cumulative and mandatory minimum sentences must be served consecutively.

H.B. 2051

Patron: Adams                                                         

Driver’s license; marijuana possession. Previously, first time offenders for possession of marijuana could go through steps to have their case dismissed as long as they had no further infractions for the next year, took a drug education class, and had their license suspended for 6 months. Instead of having their license suspended, this law allows them to perform 50 hours of community service as an alternative. Revises the existing provision that a person loses his driver’s license for six months when convicted of or placed on deferred disposition for a drug offense to provide that the provision does not apply to deferred disposition of simple possession of marijuana. The exception applies only to adults; juveniles will still be subject to license suspension. The bill provides that a court retains the discretion to suspend or revoke the driver’s license of a person placed on deferred disposition for simple possession of marijuana and must suspend or revoke for six months the driver’s license of such person who was operating a motor vehicle at the time of the offense. The bill also requires that such a person whose driver’s license is not suspended or revoked perform 50 hours of community service in addition to any community service ordered as part of the deferred disposition. The provisions of the bill are contingent upon written assurance from the U.S. Department of Transportation that Virginia will not lose any federal funds as a result of implementation of the bill.

This bill is identical to S.B. 1091 Patron: Ebbin, Stanley

H.B. 2231

Patron: Miller

Ignition interlock; duration; installation. This law clarifies that the number of days where someone is required to have an ignition interlock is calculated from the day the court issues him a restricted license, and this count is paused between expiration of the court issued license and the issuance of a new license by the DMV. Provides that the period of time during which a person is (i) prohibited from operating a motor vehicle that is not equipped with an ignition interlock system or (ii) required to have an ignition interlock system installed on each motor vehicle owned by or registered to him is calculated from the date the court issues him a restricted license. The bill further provides that this period of time is tolled upon the expiration of the restricted license issued by the court until such time as the person is issued a restricted license by the Department of Motor Vehicles.

H.B. 2327

Patron: Collins

DUI; implied consent; refusal of blood or breath tests. With this bill, there are no longer any criminal penalties if you wish to refuse a blood test for alcohol of drugs, but a breath test is still required especially for repeat offenders as it is now a Class 1 misdemeanor to refuse a breath test within 10 years of a prior offense. In addition, the bill states that the court will now assume that people who have consumed alcohol are aware that alcohol impairs their ability to operate a vehicle. Eliminates the criminal penalties for refusing to submit to a blood test to determine the alcohol or drug content of a defendant’s blood upon arrest for a DUI-related offense under the law on implied consent. The bill also increases to a Class 1 misdemeanor the criminal penalty for refusing to submit to a breath test under the law on implied consent for an offense committed within 10 years of a prior offense of refusal or of another DUI-related offense. The bill also extends to blood tests performed by the Department of Forensic Science pursuant to a search warrant the rebuttable presumption that a person is intoxicated based on the person’s blood alcohol level demonstrated by such tests. The bill also provides that an application for a search warrant to perform a blood test on a person suspected of committing a DUI-related offense shall be given priority over other matters pending before the judge or magistrate. Finally, the bill establishes a rebuttable presumption applicable in a civil case for punitive damages for injuries caused by an intoxicated driver that a person who has consumed alcohol knew or should have known that his ability to drive was or would be impaired by such consumption. This bill is in response to the U.S. Supreme Court decision in Birchfield v. North Dakota, 136 S. Ct. 2160 (2016). The bill contains an emergency clause.

H.B. 2467

Patron: Bell, Robert B.

Driving on a suspended or revoked license; period of suspension. This law clarifies that the additional suspension period for driving on a suspended license will run at the same time as the current suspension period. Provides that any driver’s license suspension imposed upon a person for the failure to pay court-ordered fines and costs shall run concurrently with any other period of license suspension, revocation, or forfeiture imposed upon such person. The bill also provides that in the event that a person whose license has been suspended for the failure to pay court-ordered fines and costs is convicted of driving on a suspended or revoked license, the additional period of license suspension imposed as a result of that conviction runs concurrently with the underlying suspension for the failure to pay court-ordered fines and costs. Under current law, such additional suspension period does not commence until the expiration of the previous suspension or revocation.

S.B. 817

Patron: Surovell

Restricted driver’s license; purposes. Adds travel to and from a job interview to the list of purposes for the issuance of a restricted driver’s license. The bill provides that a person issued a restricted driver’s license for this purpose is required to maintain on his person written proof from the prospective employer of the date, time, and location of the job interview.

Crime

Since July 1st, 2017, there have been new laws enacted which either alter and redefine punishments for pre-existing laws or make new actions illegal. These laws have a wide variety, ranging from malicious activation of fire alarms to computer trespassing. In order to make sure everyone is staying up to date, I’ve provided a full list of the new laws with explanations below.

H.B. 1404

Patron: Cole                                                             

Activation of fire alarms; reimbursement of expenses; penalty. If a person activates a fire alarm maliciously and not for an emergency they will be prosecuted and fined. Removes the condition that a building must be for public use in order for the Class 1 misdemeanor for maliciously activating a building’s fire alarm to apply. The bill authorizes any locality to provide by ordinance that a person convicted of maliciously activating a fire alarm shall be liable for the reasonable expense in responding to such a fire alarm. Current law allows such an ordinance to impose liability for the reasonable expense of an emergency response to an imitation version of a weapon of terrorism, fire bomb, other explosive device, bomb threat, or incitement of a bomb threat. The bill increases the maximum amount that a locality or volunteer emergency medical services agency may recover under such an ordinance from $1,000 to $2,500.

This bill is identical to S.B. 1054 Patron: Stuart

H.B. 1485

Patron: Bell, Richard P.

Sex offenses prohibiting proximity to children; penalty. Sex offenders will now be limited to certain areas where they may live. Includes in the list of certain sex offenses that prohibit a person convicted of such offenses from being or residing in proximity to schools and certain other property where children congregate or from working on school property any offense similar to such offenses under the laws of any foreign country or political subdivision thereof or the United States or any political subdivision thereof. The prohibition regarding residing in proximity to a school that is predicated upon an offense similar to any offense under the laws of any foreign country or any political subdivision thereof, or the United States or any political subdivision thereof, only applies to residences established on and after July 1, 2017.

H.B. 1493

Patron: Hope

Definition of sales draft; credit card offenses; penalty. If a person purchases a valuable good or service with a person’s credit card without permission they will be convicted of forgery. Includes within the definition of “sales draft,” with regard to offenses relating to credit cards, the electronic form evidencing a purchase of goods, services, or a thing of value. A person convicted of forgery of such a sales draft is guilty of a Class 5 felony.

H.B. 1815

Patron: Yancey

Computer trespass; government computers and computers used for public utilities; penalty. A person who uses a public computer to trespass will now be charged with a Class 6 felony. Increases the Class 1 misdemeanor computer trespass crimes to a Class 6 felony if the computer affected is one that is exclusively for the use of, or used by or for, the Commonwealth, a local government within the Commonwealth, or certain public utilities.

H.B. 1921

Patron: Robinson                                                     

Assault and battery; health care providers; penalty. If a health care provider is assaulted while performing his duties in the hospital or other emergency care facility will be punished to a higher extent. Expands the penalty for battery against a health care provider who is engaged in the performance of his duties to apply in hospitals or in emergency rooms on the premises of any clinic or other facility rendering emergency care. Under current law, the penalties only apply to a battery against an emergency health care provider. The bill requires the Department of Health to work with stakeholder groups to develop guidelines regarding the publication of penalties for battery on a health care provider and for the training of health care professionals and providers in violence prevention programs.

This bill is identical to S.B. 973 Patrons: Sturtevant, Dunnavant

H.B. 2350

Patron: Minchew

Use of electronic device to trespass; peeping into dwelling or occupied building; penalty.

It is now a Class 1 misdemeanor to use an electronic device to spy into an occupied building or to enter into ones property to spy. Punishes as a Class 1 misdemeanor the use of an electronic device to enter the property of another to secretly or furtively peep or spy or attempt to peep or spy into a dwelling or occupied building located on such property, unless such use occurs pursuant to a lawful criminal investigation.

H.B. 2410

Patron: Gilbert                                                         

Providing support to terrorist organizations; penalty. If a person knowingly provides information for a group or individual whose main objective is to perform an act of terrorism, they will now be guilty of a Class 3 felony. If a person or persons were harmed or killed as a result of the information it will then be treated as a Class 2 felony. Provides that any person who knowingly provides any material support to an individual or organization whose primary objective is to commit an act of terrorism and does so with the intent to further such objective is guilty of a Class 3 felony. If the provision of such material support results in the death of any person, the penalty is increased to a Class 2 felony. The bill also expands the definition of an act of terrorism to include an act committed outside the Commonwealth that would meet the definition of an act of violence if such act was committed within the Commonwealth.

This bill is identical to S.B. 1154 Patron: Reeves

S.B. 1060

Patron: Black

Female genital mutilation; criminal penalty and civil action. If a person knowingly circumcises, excises, or infibulates a female minors labia major, labia minora, or clitoris it will be viewed as a class 1 misdemeanor. This will be a Class 1 misdemeanor for the parent or guardian to consent to the circumcision and to the one who does the act of removing the female genitalia. Makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor, for any person to knowingly circumcise, excise, or infibulate the labia major, labia minora, or clitoris of a minor. The bill makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for any parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of a minor to consent to such circumcision, excision, or infibulation.  The bill also makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor for any parent, guardian, or other person responsible for the care of a minor to knowingly remove or cause or permit the removal of such minor from the Commonwealth for the purposes of performing such circumcision, excision, or infibulation. The bill also provides a civil cause of action for any person injured by such circumcision, excision, or infibulation.  The bill also provides that any of these offenses shall be a separate and distinct offense and shall not preclude prosecution under any other statute.

Traffic

There are some new laws which went into effect on July 1, 2017 in regard to traffic, and I wanted to make sure that everyone is up to date on these issues. The new laws are mainly targeted towards driving violations while on the highway, but one of them allows a possible second chance for those who have committed a minor violation.

H.B.2201

Patron: O’Quinn

Failure to drive on right side of highways or observe traffic lanes; penalties. This law outlines the new fine for driving on the wrong side of the highway or not observing traffic lanes. Sets the fine for failing to drive on the right side of highways or failing to observe traffic lanes at $100. Under current law, any such failure is punishable by a fine of no more than $250.

S.B. 1021

Patron: Barker

Failure to obey highway sign; driver stopped on highway shoulder to sleep or rest; prepayable offense. Stopping on the side of the highway to rest will result in a fine which you don’t need to go to court for, but if you’re parked in a dangerous position then you will be required to attend court. Provides that a violation of a highway sign where a driver has parked or stopped his vehicle on the shoulder of the highway in order to sleep or rest is a prepayable offense unless such vehicle is parked or stopped in such manner as to impede or render dangerous the shoulder or other portion of the highway.

S.B. 1276

Patron: McDougle

Dismissal of certain traffic violations for proof of compliance with law. This law allows a court to dismiss a variety of violations, which are listed below, if the violator provides proof of compliance on or before their court appearance and the court chooses to do so. Provides that a court may, in its discretion, dismiss a violation for failure to notify the Department of Motor Vehicles of change of address, for failing to register, title, or properly display license plates, for failure to pay local licensing fees or taxes, for failure to have certain safety equipment or having unsafe or defective equipment, or for improper tinting, if such a person can prove to the court compliance with the law on or before the court date and payment of court fee.

 

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.