Delegate Mark Keam - Virginia's 35th House District

Legislative Accomplishments


In his first term as Delegate, Mark Keam was successful in moving fifteen of his substantive bills, resolutions, and amendments through the Virginia General Assembly.

Some of these legislations were passed into law under Keam's name, while others were combined with similar bills introduced by his colleagues. Some items did not pass as legislative mandates but instead were sent to state agencies with request for their administrative action.

In addition to his own bills, Delegate Keam worked closely with bipartisan colleagues in both the House of Delegates and the Senate to cosponsor and to help steer dozens of bills through the General Assembly, including some as chief cosponsor of the measure.

Delegate Keam's legislative agenda for the 2010-2011 Sessions covered a wide range of policy issues and were designed to provide meaningful solutions to real problems facing constituents in the 35th District and throughout the Commonwealth.

These are some highlights of Delegate Keam's work during his first two years in office:

Creating Jobs and Growing the Economy

Attacking the Traffic Mess and Transportation Crisis

Promoting Public Schools and Higher Education

Encouraging Conservation and Clean Environment

Honoring our Military Service Members and Veterans

Protecting the Most Vulnerable Segments of Society

Enhancing Public Safety and Criminal Justice System

Advocating for Rights of Consumers and Homeowners

Fighting for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Reforming Government Efficiency and Transparency

Creating Jobs and Growing the Economy

Introduced House Bill 1132, which was rolled into House Bill 803 and successfully passed, to create "green" jobs in clean, renewable or alternative energy sectors by providing a $500 income tax credit for every new job that pays salary over $50,000. Under this new law, each taxpayer is allowed a tax credit for up to 350 new green jobs created.

Introduced and successfully passed House Bill 2279 to help veterans trained in emergency medical service find similar civilian sector jobs by requiring the Commissioner of Health to consider military training in determining the reciprocity requirements for certification as an Emergency Medical Technician in Virginia. This new law is supported by the American Legion and the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, among other groups.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 380 to provide new criteria for awarding grants and loans from the Governor's Development Opportunity Fund that are designed to create jobs, expand private capital investment, and anticipate additional state tax revenues.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 523 to grant an income tax deduction for long-term capital gains or investment services partnership interests that are related to qualified investments in a technology and science start-up business having a principal office or facility in the Commonwealth and less than $3 million in annual revenues in the fiscal year prior to the investment.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 677 to establish a Specialized Biotechnology Research Performance Grant Program for an eligible entity based in Fairfax County and working in research, development, and production related to molecular diagnostics and drug development that commits in the memorandum of understanding and fulfills its obligation to make a new capital investment of at least $200 million, create at least 415 new full-time jobs, and meet any other criteria set forth in agreement with the Commonwealth.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1447 to allow income tax credits for individuals and businesses for qualified research and development expenses to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1950 to increase the livable home tax credit to real estate developers from $2,000 to $5,000 and allow licensed contractors eligible to receive the credit to spur additional construction jobs.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 2324 to create significant new opportunities for commercialization of research in Virginia by issuing new awards granted under the Commonwealth Research Commercialization Fund for an eminent researcher program, requiring the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Investment Authority to develop a strategic roadmap for research in the Commonwealth, and establishing a Research and Technology Investment Advisory Committee.
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Attacking the Traffic Mess and Transportation Crisis

Introduced House Bill 1124 to require increased state highway maintenance payments to localities like the Town of Vienna for roads where traffic volumes exceed the statewide average by more than 20 percent. The bill did not pass the House.

Introduced House Bill 1131 to add one member from Northern Virginia to the Commonwealth Transportation Board and to require the Board to allocate highway construction funds on the basis of population, traffic congestion, ambient air quality, and other important factors. The bill did not pass the House.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 222 to require the Virginia Department of Transportation to work with local governments and the Department of Rail and Public Transportation to review new design standards for state secondary highway system components that the jurisdiction proposes.

Cosponsored House Bill 276 to require the Commonwealth Transportation Board to allocate highway maintenance funds on the basis of achieving a minimal level of disparity among highway construction districts in meeting asset performance standards to help Northern Virginia jurisdictions. The bill successfully passed the House but not the Senate.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1432 to authorize vehicles with clean special fuel license plates to use High Occupancy Vehicle Lanes, regardless of the number of occupants, until July 2012.

Cosponsored House Bill 1631 to provide localities like the Town of Vienna with highway maintenance payments from the state comparable to amounts paid for state maintenance. The bill did not pass the House.

Cosponsored House Bill 1683 to prohibit a driver of a motor vehicle to not follow bicycles more closely than is reasonable and increase the distance for passing bicycles from two to three feet. The bill did not pass the House.

Cosponsored House Bill 1998 to establish responsibilities for various entities for long-range transportation planning for the Virginia Department of Transportation in the Northern Virginia Transportation District. The bill successfully passed the House but not the Senate.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 2203 to remove the priority structure for allocation of revenue-sharing funds to localities so that Northern Virginia jurisdictions can receive its fairer share from the state.

Supported House Bill 2527, Governor Bob McDonnell's bipartisan $4 billion transportation funding plan, that includes issuance of new Virginia Federal Transportation Grant Anticipation Revenue Notes and creates the Virginia Transportation Infrastructure Bank as new sources for funding 900 transportation projects throughout the Commonwealth including several major projects in Fairfax County.
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Promoting Public Schools and Higher Education Opportunities

Named "Rookie of the Year" by the Virginia Education Association.

Introduced and successfully passed Budget Amendment Item 132 #3h to increase the cap on state aid to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology by providing 50 more student slots per year. The conference report of the budget includes $66,000 for this provision.

Introduced House Bill 1128 to reduce the local composite index for Fairfax County from the current 0.7657 to 0.675, which would benefit Fairfax County taxpayers by having the state pay a higher portion of educating Fairfax students. The bill did not pass the House.

Introduced House Bill 1129 to provide state funding to increase the number of English as Second Language teachers from 17 per 1,000 students to 30 per 1,000 students, which would benefit Fairfax County schools. The bill did not pass the House.

Introduced House Bill 2525 to provide parents of children with legal standing to challenge local school board decisions. The bill did not pass the House.

Served as lead patron in the House and successfully passed Senate Bill 712 to authorize the board of visitors of George Mason University to establish and operate a branch campus of the university in the Republic of Korea at no cost to Virginia taxpayers.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 208 to reduce a number of reporting requirements by local schools to minimize the administrative burden on school divisions and the Department of Education.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1388 to require the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop, and the Board of Education to approve, criteria for authorizing and monitoring multi-division providers of online courses and virtual school programs.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1389 to allow for the establishment of college partnership laboratory schools by any public institution of higher education that operates an approved teacher education program.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 2510, the Virginia Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2011, to provide a new higher education funding policy based on calculation of the state general fund share of an institution's basic operations and instruction funding need and per student enrollment-based funding, and to provide targeted economic and innovation incentives and to create a STEM Public-Private Partnership and a Higher Education Advisory Committee.
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Encouraging Conservation and Clean Environment

Named a "Conservation Hero" by the Virginia League of Conservation Voters in both the 2010 and 2011 sessions.

Introduced House Bills 1358 and 2270 to allow "inclining block rates" in electric utility rate structures so that consumers would have a financial incentive to use less energy and save costs.   The bill did not pass the House.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1963 to allow local governments to develop a resident curator program for the purpose of managing, preserving, maintaining, or operating historic areas owned or leased by the locality.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 447 to allow more funds from fees collected from land conservation tax credits to be transferred to the Virginia Land Conservation Fund for distribution to the public or private conservation agencies responsible for enforcing the conservation purposes of the donated interest.
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Honoring our Military Service Members and Veterans

Introduced and successfully passed House Bill 2279 to help veterans trained in emergency medical service find similar civilian sector jobs by requiring the Commissioner of Health to consider military training in determining the reciprocity requirements for certification as an Emergency Medical Technician in Virginia. This new law is supported by the American Legion and the Virginia Hospital and Healthcare Association, among other groups.

Introduced House Resolution 637 which would ease the process for military veterans to transition to the civilian workforce by directing the Department of Veterans Services to study how state laws might be changed to allow equivalent military training to fulfill requirements for obtaining state-required licensing or certification for a variety of civilian jobs. While this resolution was not adopted, the Speaker of the House of Delegates sent a letter to the Director of Veterans Services requesting a similar study be conducted.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 262 to exempt veterans from paying the Department of Business Assistance's handling fee when establishing a small business through the one-stop small business permitting program.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1118 to allow individuals who receive payments from the Virginia Military Family Relief Fund to subtract them from their federal adjustable gross income when calculating their Virginia taxable income.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1233 allows a member of the Virginia National Guard called to state active duty by the Governor to continue his health care coverage, life insurance, or long-term care insurance, at the member's expense.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1535 to help veterans with appropriate military training as a respiratory care practitioner; occupational therapist; radiologist assistant; radiologic technologist; radiologic technologist, limited; registered nurse; and practical nurse and for certification as a nurse aide obtain similar jobs in the civilian sector.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1557 to require the Department of Veterans Services to process veterans benefit claims expeditiously by maintaining a ratio of one staff person for every 26,212 veterans living in Virginia.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1645 to implement the constitutional amendment that provides for a property tax exemption for veterans who have a 100 percent, service-related disability.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1691 to establish a program by the Department of Veterans Services to monitor and coordinate mental health and rehabilitative services support for veterans to cooperate with localities that may establish special treatment procedures for veterans and active military service members in the criminal justice system.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1719 to allow any veteran or his survivor to obtain a certified copy of a vital record to obtain service-connected benefits, free of charge.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1773 to establish the Office of the Secretary of Veterans Affairs and Homeland Security with responsibility to the Governor for veterans services and homeland preparedness and security.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1861 to authorize certain veterans who elect to establish Virginia as their permanent residence for domiciliary purposes to establish immediate residency in Virginia and become eligible for in-state tuition in an institution of higher education, rather than waiting the required one-year period.
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Protecting the Most Vulnerable Segments of Society

Introduced House Bill 1123 to direct the Secretaries of Public Safety and Health and Human Resources to seek federal funds for cost-effective prison re-entry programs under the federal Second Chance Act. Although the bill did not pass the House, a letter from the Chair of Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee containing the same request was sent to the Secretary of Public Safety, and Delegate Keam sent a letter to the U.S. Department of Justice in support of a successful grant that the Commonwealth received under this program.

Introduced and successfully passed House Bill 1133 to require a local board or child-placing agency to provide information about the adoption process, its legal effects, and the alternatives to adoption to the birth mother and, if reasonably available, the father of a child to be placed for adoption.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 63 to expand the scope of persons defined as members of the voter's immediate family and whose death or hospitalization permits the registered voter to submit a late application for in-person absentee voting, to now include adopted children, legal guardians, and siblings whether they are of whole or half blood.

Cosponsored House Bill 80 to create a Statewide Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) Program Funding Pool to expand the availability of program service providers through a competitive grant process. The bill did not pass the House.

Cosponsored House Bill 1050 to double the amount of the credit an individual can take for long-term care insurance from 15 percent to 30 percent of the amount of the premium paid for such insurance. The bill successfully passed the House but not the Senate.

Cosponsored House Bills 1116 and 2046 to prohibit discrimination in public employment based on sexual orientation in addition to race, color, religion, national origin, sex, pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions, age, marital status, disability, or status as a veteran. The bill did not pass the House.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1435 to require local school boards that offer an elective course in American Sign Language to grant academic credit on the same basis as foreign language course requirement for graduation and for public colleges and universities to count academic credit received for completing American Sign Language courses in a secondary school toward satisfaction of the foreign language entrance requirements.

Cosponsored House Bill 1632 to allow a person to receive Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) assistance even if he has been convicted of a felony offense of possession of a controlled substance if he complies with all obligations imposed by the court, has completed substance abuse treatment, and participates in drug screenings. The bill did not pass the House.

Cosponsored House Bill 1633 to make it a felony to knowingly, by deception, intimidation, undue influence, coercion, harassment, duress, or misrepresentation, use, obtain, convert, or take control of an elderly or vulnerable adult's property or financial resources with the intent to temporarily or permanently deprive the adult of the use, benefit, or possession of the property or financial resources. The bill did not pass the House.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 2225 to require the Department of Corrections to establish for each inmate a personal trust account consisting of 10 percent of any funds received by an inmate from any source until the account has a balance of $1,000, in an effort to provide the inmate seed funds upon the inmate's parole or final discharge and reentry to society.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 2467 to require health insurers, health care subscription plans, and health maintenance organizations to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder in children aged two to six, up to an annual maximum benefit of $35,000 of coverage for applied behavior analysis.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 2533 to require that the Behavioral Health and Developmental Services Trust Fund be used to facilitate transition individuals with intellectual disabilities from state training centers to community-based services, including services provided through the Medicaid Intellectual Disability Home and Community Based Waiver program.
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Enhancing Public Safety and Criminal Justice System

Introduced House Bill 2276, which was rolled into House Bill 2036 and successfully passed, to increase the time for a court services unit and the local department of social services to develop a plan that prepares juvenile offenders to return from the Department's custody to the community.

Introduced House Bill 1125 to authorize localities like Town of Vienna to administratively impound vehicles of drivers who are charged with driving without a license for a second or subsequent time. While this bill did not pass the House, a similar impoundment bill, House Bill 513, became law.

Introduced House Bills 2442 and 2443 to allow hunting of deer on Sundays in an effort to control overpopulation of deer that result in public health hazards such as Lyme disease and property damage. The bills did not pass the House.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1774 to authorize the Governor to allocate a sum sufficient for preparation of the Virginia National Guard and the Virginia State Defense Force to respond to certain enumerated circumstances, regardless of whether or not an official state of emergency is declared.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1898 to make a felony the act of abducting any person for the purpose of prostitution or of a minor for the purpose of manufacturing child pornography, as well as for any person to receive any money or other valuable thing for causing any person to engage in forced labor or services, concubinage, prostitution, or the manufacture of any obscene material or child pornography.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 2190 to require the Department of Social Services to develop a plan for the provision of services to victims of human trafficking.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 209 to provide that all penalties and costs collected for violations of advertising provisions when the locality has entered into an agreement with the Commonwealth Transportation Commissioner shall be paid to the affected locality.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 982 to make automatic a two-year revocation of a permit as a precious metals dealer for a second conviction for violation of any of the precious metals dealer laws.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1121 to place an affirmative duty on the Department of Juvenile Justice to provide information to law enforcement that may aid in initiating or furthering an investigation of a criminal street gang.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1238 to require the president and vice-president of each public institution of higher education to annually certify in writing to the Department of Emergency Management comprehension and understanding of the institution's crisis and emergency management plan.
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Advocating for Rights of Consumers and Homeowners

Introduced and successfully passed House Bill 2272 to toll the statute of limitations and provide more time for victims of fraud and for law enforcement officials to prosecute violations of professional licensure requirements imposed by a locality, such as for building contractors working on home improvement projects.

Introduced and successfully passed House Bill 2278 to implement the property tax relief for qualified elderly and disabled homeowners approved by Virginia voters in 2010 as a Constitutional Amendment, by authorizing local governments to establish income or financial worth standards for determining eligibility.

Introduced House Bill 1126 to allow localities like the Town of Vienna to maintain grading regulations for construction of single-family homes on small lots. The bill did not pass the House.

Introduced House Bill 2273 to provide local building officials with authority to issue summonses to go after violators of statutes that protect homeowners from being taken advantage of by unlicensed contractors. The bill did not pass the House.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1459 to increase the cap on how much a victim of medical malpractice injuries can recover from a lawsuit against health care providers from $2 million to $2.05 million in 2012, and by $50,000 annually until 2031. Successfully worked with a coalition of bipartisan legislators and with the Medical Society of Virginia to overturn Governor McDonnell's veto of this measure.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 2515 to clarify that a healthcare entity is required to share, at the request of the subject of the records, health records with other healthcare entities, in the format requested by the individual in the manner authorized by the federal law.
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Fighting for Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses

Introduced and successfully passed Budget Amendment Item 3-5.08 #1h to exempt most small businesses from having to prepay their June sales tax receipts one month early. The amendment, which became law as part of the 2011 state budget package, would raise the threshold amount from $1 million to $12 million in sales, thereby providing relief from the accelerated sales tax burden to about 80 percent of small businesses in Virginia.

Introduced and successfully passed House Bill 2271 to exempt computer and digital forensics experts from having to hold unrelated private investigator licenses in order to prepare and present expert testimony in litigation. This new law, which was supported by the American Bar Association and other expert groups, became a model for other state legislatures to follow.

Introduced House Bill 1130 to require the Secretary of Administration to prepare a program for Virginia businesses with 50 or fewer employees to pool their health insurance purchasing power in order to save costs through group discounts. The bill did not pass the House.

Introduced House Bill 1359 to provide tax credits for employers who make small business investments in machinery or equipment, up to 20 percent of investment amount. The bill did not pass the House.

Introduced House Bill 1360 to provide tax credits for employers who provide options for employees to telework from remote locations thereby saving transportation and logistical expenses while promoting energy conservation and efficiencies. While this bill did not pass the House, a similar telecommuting bill, House Bill 2197 that Delegate Keam cosponsored, became law.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 290 to provide immunity from civil liability to any fire/EMS department of a locality that donates equipment for fighting fires or performing emergency medical services to any other fire/EMS department if the equipment met existing engineering and safety standards at the time of its purchase by the donating entity.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 495 to exempt churches from licensure requirements applicable to restaurants if the church serves meals consisting of food prepared in the homes of members or in the kitchen of the church.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 789 to increase from $1 million to $1.5 million the cost of a construction contract for which a state or local public body may use competitive negotiation instead of competitive bidding to procure the construction.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 943 to establish the Small Business Jobs Grant Program and Fund to provide grants to small businesses that create at least five new full-time positions within a 12-month period paying at least the prevailing average annual wage in the locality in which the business is located.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1905 to clarify that certain operations such as Martial Arts facilities that offer after-school activities are exempt from having to be licensed as a "child day center" if the parent provides written agreement and the school-aged children attend no more than four hours per school day or 20 hours per week.

Cosponsored House Bill 1906 to exempt from sales and use tax sales of gold, silver, or platinum bullion over $1,000, thereby competing with neighboring states that have similar incentives to attract precious metal purchasers. The bill passed the House but did not pass the Senate.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 1907 to revise, update and streamline various regulatory requirements for brokers who hold real estate licenses.
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Reforming Government Efficiency and Transparency

Served as Chief Co-Patron and successfully passed House Resolution 64 to require the Clerk of the House to post all recorded committee, subcommittee, and floor votes of Delegates searchable by member's name on the General Assembly's website.

Served on a Conference Committee to successfully negotiate final passage of House Bill 2155 to authorize local governments to publish and disclose online information relating to all spending items paid for by the locality.

Introduced and successfully passed House Bill 2277 to require citizen members of state and community boards who receive travel reimbursements for their voluntary services to receive payments electronically. This new law takes a spending-cut recommendation from the Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring to save Virginia taxpayer funds.

Introduced House Bill 1127 to limit abusive attorney subpoenas issued to elected or appointed officials to testify on matters involving their public duties and to provide local officials with the same legal status as state elected officials. The bill did not pass the House.

Introduced House Bill 2269 to allow certain criminal records to be disclosed under the Freedom of Information Act to provide more transparency in law enforcement proceedings. The bill did not pass the House.

Introduced House Bill 2444 to authorize local Commissioners of the revenue to conduct business audits such as examining books and records for sales tax purposes in the locality where the business is located instead of requiring the business owner to travel to Richmond. The bill did not pass the House.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 657 to establish a General Assembly Ethics Review Panel to investigate complaints and to make its findings public.

Cosponsored and successfully passed House Bill 2183 to provide better government service to retail businesses by allow them to register for sales tax purposes with the local commissioner of the revenue instead of with the Tax Commissioner in Richmond.

Supported House Bills 30 and 1500, the biennial budget and amendments for 2010-12, which cut over $4 billion in spending to bring the Commonwealth's fiscal house into structural balance.
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