Richmond Report: Second Week
Every year when I'm in Richmond for a legislative session, it seems like I enter another time zone. Things move in such a hectic pace down here that a day feels like a week!
Today, we wrap up the second week of session, but with numerous committee and subcommittee meetings and with so many bills to debate and vote on, it feels like I've already been here for several weeks.
Let me give you a quick update on where things stand on this, the 8th day of the Virginia General Assembly session, and tell you a little bit about my work.
We have already moved several (non-controversial) bills through the House of Delegates, and we are knee deep in committee processes on hundreds of other bills.
This being the "short" legislative session, the House needs to complete work on nearly 1,500 House bills and resolutions introduced this year by no later than February 10. The topics of these bills address a wide range of issues from education and transportation to agriculture, healthcare and other business issues.
And, as we do every single year, there are a slew of bills dealing with social issues like reproductive rights, guns, immigration and sexual equality.
Of course, we can't forget that 2014 was a horrible year for ethics and public corruption in Virginia, which means that we will be dealing with another round of bills to tighten up our conflict of interest laws and other ways to regain the public's trust in their government.
As the session progresses with specific bills being considered, I'll update you on the details of each of these issues.
My session so far has been one of running (literally!) between meetings.
This year, I was appointed to four committees and seven subcommittees, which means that from Monday morning to Friday afternoons, I spend most of my time sitting in back-to-back committee meetings scrutinizing my colleagues' bills and amendments.
I was appointed to the House Commerce and Labor Committee, which is the most sought-after standing committee in the House. This is the committee that deals with some of the biggest issues in Virginia, such as banking, commerce, commercial law, corporations, industry, insurance, labor, manufacturing and public utilities.
I also serve on the Finance, Education and Agriculture, Chesapeake and Natural Resources Committees, which provide me with ample opportunities to work on issues that impact just about every aspect of Virginians' lives.
So far, I've presented only one of these bills–House Bill 2096–which was combined with a similar bill introduced by Delegate Tom Rust of Herndon, to the Courts Committee.
The text of my House Bill 2096 is now on its way to being voted on by the entire House. It would allow the Town of Vienna (and other similar towns) to collect $5 per criminal or traffic case that arise within the Town's boundaries to be used to offset the cost of software, hardware, and other equipment that our Town police use for implementing and maintaining their electronic summons system.
I introduced House Bill 2096, as well as four other bills, on behalf of the residents of the Town of Vienna to ensure that the Town's needs are not neglected by our state laws.
Next week, I'll be presenting some of my other bills, which deal with issues such as designating our libraries as essential services to our communities, allowing more of our senior citizens to be able to take free classes in colleges, training restaurants to be more aware of food allergies, and ensuring better operations of child care centers.
I'll send you updates on my bills as well as other significant legislative developments in my next email newsletter. In the meantime, please don't hesitate to contact me with your questions or comments by calling (804) 698-1035 or emailing DelMKeam@house.virginia.gov.
Thank you for giving me this opportunity to represent you and share what your state government is doing during this legislative session.
I'd like to invite you to attend my town hall with Senator Chap Petersen:
February 7, 2014
American Legion Post 180
330 N. Center St.
Vienna, VA 22180