Greetings From Richmond
The Virginia General Assembly opened its 2014 session on Wednesday. The state Constitution specifies a 60 day session that will conclude in early March.
It was a busy first few days of session down at the State Capitol. I had the opportunity to give a prayer for State Legislators at the Commonwealth Prayer Breakfast. Local, state and federal officials were in attendance and we all had the privilege of hearing from Thomas Haynesworth, a truly inspirational man, who was exonerated in 2011 after being wrongfully imprisoned for 27 years for crimes he did not commit.
When Session officially convened at 12:00 PM on Wednesday, I had the honor of nominating the Honorable William J. Howell as Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates.
During the 2014 session, I will continue to serve on the House Transportation Committee as well as the Commerce and Labor Committee. I will also have the pleasure of serving as the newly elected Chairwoman of the House Science and Technology Committee.
I have introduced a number of bills that aim to create jobs in the Commonwealth, improve K-12 education and higher education and crack down on human trafficking. I also am sponsoring a bill to create a Domestic and Sexual Violence Fund and consolidate and streamline the resources for victims.
Some of the bills I have introduced include:
- A bill to raise the authorization funding for the research and development tax expense credit for small businesses.
- A bill to create a Domestic and Sexual Violence Fund and consolidate and streamline the resources for victims.
- A bill to increase the number of in-state college spots available to our students.
- A bill to increase penalties to individuals convicted of crimes related to human trafficking. Such individuals would be subject to forfeit certain assets that were used in committing these crimes.
- A bill to improve bicycle safety on Northern Virginia roadways.
- A bill to allow localities to determine the start date for public schools.
- A bill to provide pulse oximetry screenings of newborns in every hospital to test newborn infants for critical congenital heart defects.
- A bill to require localities without an all-day kindergarten program to devise a plan by which they could implement this all-day program over a three year period.
- A bill to allow online financial literacy courses to fulfill the requirement of financial literacy courses.
- An overview bill to establish a section of the Code of Virginia related to defining human trafficking and human trafficking offenses.
- A budget amendment to allocate funding to allow the Department of Forensic Science to hire and retain 3 forensic scientists responsible for performing physical evidence recovery kits (PERKs) when investigating and prosecuting cases of sexual assault.
- A bill to allow bank directors to be the sole owner of shares of stock held through a brokerage account, living trust, profit-sharing plan or retirement plan.
I hope you have the opportunity to visit Richmond while we are in session. Please contact my office if you plan to visit; my staff and I would be happy to arrange a tour of the Capitol for you. My legislative assistant, Jessica Goodman, is available to assist you in your preparations. Jessica can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and by phone at804-698-1034.
Please don't hesitate to contact me if I may be of any assistance to you and your family. During session I can be reached by email at email@example.com or by phone at 804-698-1034.