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COMSTOCK FOR DELEGATE BLOG

The Comstock Connection 1/18/2013
Friday, January 18, 2013





In This Issue
Girl Scout Troop 2453 Visits Capitol
Legislative Priorities
Delegate Comstock's Young Women's Leadership Program
Update On Tysons Save The Last Forest
Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremonies
Townhall Meetings
Contact Me

Richmond Office:
General Assembly Building
Room 407
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 698-1034

District Office:
PO Box 6156
McLean, VA 22106
(703) 772-7168
January 18, 2013

Dear Friends,

We are wrapping up our second week of the General Assembly's 2013 session in Richmond, which is scheduled for 45 days this year and is expected to adjourn on Saturday, February 23rd. I continue to serve on the Commerce and Labor, Transportation, and Science and Technology Committees.

My priorities continue to be promoting job growth, improving our transportation system, ensuring students receive a quality education. and protecting our quality of life in Northern Virginia. I'll also continue to work to keep Virginia's budget balanced while spending your tax dollars prudently, with open and accountable government.

It is a privilege and honor to serve the 34th District, which includes McLean, Great Falls, parts of Vienna, and parts of Loudoun County. I look forward to representing you this legislative session.

Girl Scout Troop 2453 Visits State Capitol

I had a wonderful time showing Great Falls Girl Scout Troop 2453 around the State Capitol and introducing troop members from the House Floor on Tuesday, January 15th. A special thanks to Troop Leaders Bonnie Young and Cristina Mullins and all the parents who joined us at the Capitol. If you have a group who would like to visit the Capitol while we are in session, we would be happy to set up tours for you.

Legislation Introduced

I have introduced a number of bills this session dealing with jobs and the economy, transportation and education. I invite you to review these bills on the Virginia's Legislative Information System website. One of my bills, HB 1573, has already passed this week.

Please feel free to contact me during the legislative session regarding issues of interest to you. I send frequent email updates during session. If you are not already on the mailing list and wish to receive updates, please send me an email note to delbcomstock@house.virginia.gov.

Last week Governor McDonnell announced a transportation plan in his State of the Commonwealth Address to members of the General Assembly and Virginians. A fact sheet about the Governor's proposal may be found here. Legislative language will be available soon. I welcome your comments on the Governor's proposal.

The Governor also recently announced the launch of an entirely new website for the Commonwealth of Virginia, Virginia.gov. The new www.virginia.gov site loads more quickly, both on desktop and mobile versions.

Highlights Of Some Of My Bills For The 2013 Session

Jobs And The Economy

  • Datacenters (HB 1699): I introduced this bill with the help of the Northern Virginia Technology Council to help us continue to promote and expand our data center industry in Virginia by allowing localities to provide tax incentives to data centers. This will build on my successful legislation last year that provided state tax incentives to keep this important industry here in the Commonwealth. We have already had companies relocate or expand here in Virginia as a result of our legislation last year. The data center industry is projected to grow by hundreds of millions of dollars in the coming years. This bill would help Virginia take the lead in a 21st century marketplace. Data center jobs and investment are a critical element in diversifying Virginia's technology economy and attracting private sector jobs as federal spending and procurement decreases.
  • Banking (HB 1573): This bill, which passed the House this week with bipartisan support of 92-7,would allow banks and financial institutions to provide customers with a one time waiver of conditions on their contracts without that being used against them in a court as a waiver of the underlying contract. This allows the banks to be more flexible in helping their customers and providing more flexibility.

Education

  • School start date (HB 1309): This bill would allow local school boards to make the decisions on setting the school calendar and determining the opening of the school year and eliminates the post-Labor Day opening requirement. Current law prohibits schools across the Commonwealth from opening their doors before Labor Day unless they obtain a waiver from the state. While 77 of the 134 school districts in the state of Virginia have the ability to set their own school calendar through waivers and exemptions, Fairfax and Loudoun still are not among those districts. HB 1309 would allow county school boards, who do not have a waiver, to set their own school calendar.
  • Class size standards of quality (HB 1556): This bill addresses class size by providing equity across the County in class size. The legislation changes the way the school district can average their class size from a divisionwide ratio to a schoolwide ratio.
  • More In-State Spots In Virginia's Colleges And Universities (HB 1700): This bill would require Virginia public institutions of higher education to establish rules and regulations requiring that at least 75 percent of students admitted and enrolled at the institution are Virginia in-state residents.

Transportation

  • Transit performance bill (HB 2070): The current transit funding formula was put in place in 1986 and has not changed since. This bill would implement a new hybrid funding formula that is based on system size and performance measures. The original formula awards funding to those systems that have higher operating costs. HB 2070 is a reform measure that will reward transit systems that achieve cost savings and stretch our transit dollars further. This bill is also being supported in the Senate by Northern Virginia Senator Chap Petersen.

Lyme Disease

  • Lyme Disease Information Act (HB 1933): This bill that I worked on with the National Capital Lyme Association requires physicians to provide each patient for whom a test for the presence of Lyme disease is ordered with a notice about Lyme disease, about testing for Lyme disease, and about the high propensity of false negatives in these tests and the need to contact a physician with questions or concerns if symptoms of Lyme disease persist. Because of the high false negative rates for the test, sufferers of this disease often go weeks, months, or even years with continued Lyme and not proceeding with appropriate treatment.
Human Trafficking Press Conference

This week, I once again joined our bipartisan coalition that has been pushing for more action on stopping the heinous crime of human trafficking. We were also joined by victims and advocates who told their personal stories of trafficking activities here in our communities. At the press conference we discussed legislation which aims to combat human trafficking right here in Virginia. Last year, I passed human trafficking legislation HB 546, which cracks down on those engaged in human trafficking and provides additional penalties and tools for prosecutors. HB 546 addressed the growth of gangs such as MS-13 operating prostitution rings in our area who are now engaged in this heinous crime. These criminal traffickers have victimized women and girls in our area, exploiting them as part of their crime operations.

I am the Chief Co-Sponsor on Delegate Hugo's bill HB 1606 which would increase the penalty for soliciting prostitution from a minor from a misdemeanor offense to a Class 5 or Class 6 felony. I am also Chief Co-Sponsor on Delegate Vivian Watts' bill, HB 1465 which would allow a prostitution charge to be expunged when the person who engaged in prostitution was forced or intimidated to doing so.

Application To Delegate Comstock's Young Women's Leadership Program

Delegate Comstock announced a new Leadership Program to provide young women enrolled in junior high and high school the opportunity to meet and interact with women in leadership positions in government, politics and business.Through this program, young women will be able to learn about career opportunities in various fields, develop their leadership skills, identify their strengths and interests, practice effective communication with others to help inform their future educational and career goals.

This program is scheduled to begin this summer and will continue through the fall. There will be periodic activities that provide a group of 10 junior high students and 10 high school students access to women leaders who will participate in educational and informative seminars and activities that expose young women to a variety of careers in the public and private sectors.

If you are interested in applying for The Young Women's Leadership Program, complete your application here.

Update On Save Tysons Last Forest

I wanted to share the good news! On Tuesday, January 15th, the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors voted to eliminate the Boone Boulevard Ramp, or Option 3, from the Tysons Development Plan.

Congratulations to Pamela Konde and neighbors from 15 homeowners associations who worked on this effort over these past several months.

Last fall I sent letters to Virginia Secretary of Transportation, Sean Connaughton, along with my colleagues regarding our opposition to the proposed ramp. I also detailed our efforts in an op-ed in the Vienna Connection.

Korean American Day
I had the pleasure of joining many of my colleagues for the 8th Annual Celebration of Korean American Day which was held on Sunday, January 13th at Northern Virginia Community College. This festive event is a great and informative tradition for all involved. Congratulations to Supervisor Pat Herrity for receiving the award for "Outstanding Contribution" for his service and dedication to the Korean community in the Commonwealth of Virginia.
In The 34th District: Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremonies

On Saturday, January 5th, I had the pleasure of attending Scout Troop 966's Court of Honor Ceremony commending Prathik Anand for attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. It was a lovely ceremony held at the Sterling Ruritan Club. Congrats to Prathik and his proud family!

An additional congratulations to Grant Smith from Scout Troop 55 in Great Falls for attaining the rank of Eagle Scout. It was an honor to attend his Court of Honor Ceremony on January 6th in Great Falls.

Townhall Meetings

I want to thank everyone who attended my Townhall Meetings at the McLean Community Center and the Fairfax County Government Center on January 2nd and 5th. I appreciated having the opportunity to hear from you about issues that are important to you as I return to Richmond this year.

I also enjoyed the opportunity to meet with members of the Potomac Overlook Homeowner's Association at their annual meeting on Saturday, January 12th. I appreciated speaking with you all and hearing your feedback about proposed legislation.

I try to be accessible to my constituents in as many ways as possible. For more information, please visit my website, www.delegatecomstock.com, where you can read my blog for up-to-date information on Virginia, click to follow me on Facebook or Twitter. You can reach me during the 2013 Legislative Session by email at delbcomstock@house.virginia.gov or by phone at 804-698-1034. Please don't hesitate to contact me about issues that concern you.

Sincerely,

Signature
Delegate Barbara Comstock

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Paid for by Friends of Barbara Comstock.