Richmond Report: "Crossover"
As we begin the sixth week of this year's General Assembly session, we are about to hit the midway point.
Under our Rules, by tomorrow, Tuesday February 14, the House of Delegates must complete its action on bills that were introduced by Delegates, and the Senate must likewise wrap up every bill introduced by Senators. After "Crossover," the House works exclusively on Senate bills, and vice-versa, except for the budget which has yet to be filed in the House.
This complex process is required in order for every legislative measure to be considered positively by both Chambers of the legislature before it is sent to the Governor for his action.
Of the dozen bills I introduced this year, I'm pleased to report that one of them has passed the House and is about to be heard in a Senate Committee today.
I worked with Governor Bob McDonnell's Administration on House Bill 1123 as a common-sense and efficient way to ensure that state compensation funds for wrongfully incarcerated individuals are made available only to eligible persons. You can read the press release about this bill on my website for more details.
Two other bills I introduced this year are on their way to passage in the House this week. I will be presenting House Bills 1042 and 1043 on the Floor today and my colleagues will be voting on them tomorrow.
Another of my bills, HB 1038, was combined with a similar measure introduced by a senior Delegate, and will be headed for Senate action. This bill would provide much needed additional funding for transportation based on fees that overweight trucks would have to incur.
Three other bills, HB 1040, 1041 and 1044, were "continued" to 2013, which means that they will be considered next year instead of during this session. These bills dealt with special license plates, jobs for military veterans, and small business size standards.
The rest of my bills were left in Committees without favorable action this year.
Town of Vienna's Mayor and Councilmembers and other officials visited me in Richmond as part of the Virginia Municipal League Day.
As I have done so in previous legislative sessions, this year, I served as "Chief Co-Patron" on many bipartisan bills, including three that will pass the House. House Bills 216 and 551 provide tax incentives to bring tech sector jobs to Virginia and to increase teleworking. House Resolution 142 designates an Asian Lunar New Year Day for Virginia.
Beyond advocating for my own legislative agenda, I've been busy during the past couple of weeks working on education issues. As a new member of the Education Committee, we have been spending many hours discussing several controversial "school reform" measures introduced by Gov. Bob McDonnell.
Although I share the Governor's stated desires to improve our public schools, strengthen curriculum, treat teachers with more professionalism, and offer parents more choices, I am concerned that his legislative proposals do not in fact achieve these goals. That is why after weeks of Subcommittee, Committee and House Floor considerations, I voted against many of the Governor's bills.
In my next report, I will provide my thoughts on the specific bills that are part of the Governor's school reform agenda which I'm sure you will be hearing a lot more about in the coming months.
As we begin the second half of this legislative session next week, I will be sending you updates again soon. Please do not hesitate to contact me with any of your questions. In the meantime, please continue to stay in touch and follow me on Twitter and Facebook for more regular updates.
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