Richmond Report: Second Week
As we wrap up the second week of the 2014 Virginia General Assembly session, things are hoppin' down here in Richmond.
Last weekend, the new Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Attorney General were all sworn in (under pouring rain!), and my family and I enjoyed witnessing another successful peaceful transition of government. This is what I love about our democracy.
It was certainly a great time to see my friends Terry McAuliffe, Ralph Northam and Mark Herring take their oaths of office after long and hard-fought campaigns. But now that the celebrations are over, we are back at work busily reviewing and amending hundreds of bills.
Before discussing the status of my legislative agenda, I want to invite you to my first public town hall meeting taking place this Saturday.
I will be joined by my colleagues from the House and Senate who represent the McLean area to share our views on this legislative session and to answer your questions or address any constituent needs:
Delegate Mark Keam
Senator Janet Howell, Senator Barbara Favola
Delegate Bob Brink and Delegate Marcus Simon
Invite you to a Public Town Hall Meeting
Saturday, January 18, 2014
10:00 a.m.-12:00 noon
Longfellow Middle School, Lecture Hall
2000 Westmoreland Street
Falls Church, VA 22043
In my last email to you, I mentioned that I introduced ten bills on the first day of session. Since then, I have filed one more, which addresses an issue of personal importance to me!
On Monday the 13th, which happened to be the 111th anniversary of the day that the first Koreans arrived in America, my good friend Senator Chap Petersen and I introduced House Bill 1130, which would establish a new entity called, "Virginia-Korea Advisory Board."
Modeled after the Virginia—Israel Advisory Board, which has successfully facilitated economic partnerships between Virginia and the nation of Israel since 1996, the Korea Advisory Board would advise the Governor on ways to improve mutually beneficial trade relationships between the Commonwealth of Virginia and the Republic of Korea.
Of the original ten bills I introduced, so far, two of them have been considered by committees, with mixed results.
My House Bill 838 would address an inconsistency in the policies followed by the Virginia State Board of Elections. Because of differences in various federal and state election laws, absentee ballots mailed in from overseas by our military men and women are accepted by election officials even if the inside envelope that contains the ballot is not fully sealed.
On the other hand, an absentee ballot mailed from within Virginia with the same imperfection on the inside envelope is rejected by election officials. My bill would make the process consistent for all absentee ballots, regardless of from where they were mailed.
I'm pleased to report that the Elections Subcommittee of the House Privileges and Elections Committee voted unanimously to report the bill, which means that HB 838 now moves to the full committee for its consideration.
My House Bill 835 didn't fare so well. That bill would have required owners or sellers of residential properties to provide helpful information about the need to perform due diligence on the presence of any underground pipelines or storage tanks carrying hazardous material such as natural gas or oil below the property.
While the members of the Housing Subcommittee agreed that this would be helpful information to be provided during the sales transaction, they were hesitant to add another item to the list of residential property disclosures. As a result, my bill was defeated in the subcommittee along a straight, party-line vote. Oh well.
I will be presenting the rest of my bills in the coming days, but you can read more about them or about any other bill pending in the legislature by going to the Virginia Legislative Information System website.
Thank you for your interest in my work. Please let me know if you have any questions by contacting me in Richmond at (804) 698-1035 or DelMKeam@house.virginia.gov.