After six weeks of the 2016 Virginia General Assembly Session, we have successfully begun what we call “crossover,” the halfway point in the session when each legislative body begins to consider legislation from the other body. This means that, in the House of Delegates, we have finished work on House bills and have begun considering legislation passed through the Senate. Each Senate bill has been assigned a House Committee and begun its journey through the House. Bills that pass through both houses will reach the Governor’s desk for approval and signature.
The Transportation Committee has heard over 120 bills this session, and a number of important safety bills have passed through my Committee recently. SB 25, Reeves allows for better illumination lights on motorcycles. SB 299, Ebbin, the Senate companion bill to my HB 329, Villanueva, allows transit buses to use amber warning lights. These bills are major safety improvements. SB 163, Locke establishes a penalty for driving in certain flooded areas. This is to prevent the challenges and dangers of stranded cars and citizens as a result of major flooding.
As part of my efforts to help promote transportation resources, I have teamed up with the Department of Motor Vehicles to reach more Virginians with DMV services. DMV 2 Go is a state program that provides six mobile DMV units for use across the Commonwealth. These units attend events and visit places where people need rapid DMV help or have several issues to resolve with the DMV. For example, DMV 2 Go assists active duty military and their families with all necessary paperwork prior to their deployment.
A number of my bills have successfully passed through the House and crossed over into the Senate. HB 329, Villanueva is a bill to allow flashing amber lights on transit buses as a safety precaution. HB 501, 507, 1111, and 1269, Villanueva are transportation bills aimed at encouraging economy and easing regulations to save tax dollars on our highways. HB 434, Villanueva gives the Commonwealth’s judges more jurisdiction in cases concerning private security personnel and licensure. HB 1101, Villanueva is a bill to protect our families and communities. It creates automatic notification of resident sex offenders to keep common interest communities in the know.
The House Budget will be introduced and voted upon during the coming week. I and my colleagues have been striving to achieve a conservative, responsible budget. I have put forth several budget amendments aimed at using your tax dollars in the best possible way. Item 332 allocates funds for vocational rehabilitation training for those with disabilities. This will help to strengthen our workforce and help individuals with challenges and disabilities to find meaningful work. Item 449 provides funding for transit improvements between Norfolk and Roanoke. These budget amendments represent my commitment to being a good steward of your taxes in Virginia.
Over 25 bills supporting the Commonwealth’s veterans have passed through the House this session. Some of the veterans’ legislative package includes the following bills. HB477, Cox provides more funding to two new veteran care centers, one in Hampton Roads and one in Northern Virginia, to help provide veterans with quality long-term healthcare. The two new centers will also free up more space for local area veterans close to Virginia’s two existing care centers in Richmond and Roanoke. As Chief Co-Patron of this bill, and as a United States veteran, these are issues that I will continue to champion. HB90, Taylor would allow members of the Virginia National Guard to conceal-carry while they are on duty.
The House has also kept veterans in mind while crafting the GO Virginia economic initiative. GO Virginia includes several opportunities for vocational training for veterans and encourages small businesses to hire veterans. The House continues to keep our veterans in mind in all of our initiatives.
Please don’t hesitate to contact my office at any time for your insight and feedback on proposed legislation. Your thoughts and opinions are important to me, and enable me to better represent you. For the duration of legislative session, I can be found in Room 503 of the General Assembly Building. As always, I can be reached at (804) 698-1021 or email@example.com.
I also encourage you to take a moment to share your thoughts by completing the 2016 Session Survey.