The 2018 General Assembly session is officially at the halfway point! Becoming a Delegate has been a special way for me to return to serving my community, and I would not have had the opportunity to do so without the support of all of you.
During my first session, worked on new legislation, helped solve problems in our community, and have the privilege to serve on 3 committees; Counties, Cities, and Towns, Education, and Science and Technology. Yesterday, the House of Delegates completed our work on all of the legislation that originated in this house. Starting today, we will begin to review legislation passed out of the Senate. Before we do, I wanted to give you an update on some of the solutions that the House has put forward for our Commonwealth:
- HB 1173, which updates the provisions of Virginia’s Prescription Pain Monitoring System requirements, will help us to better combat the growing Heroin and Opioid Epidemic in Virginia.
- The House is leading by example with the passage of a new Sexual Harassment Prevention Training. The extensive course will be administered by the Clerk of the House and the Clerk of the Senate. Elected Delegates and Senators as well as staff members of both bodies will be required to take the training courses upon hiring and every two years thereafter.
- Working with the Governor, the House has established a regulatory reform pilot program with a goal to reduce or streamline regulatory requirements by 25% over the next three years. This bipartisan legislation will show hard working entrepreneurs, innovators, and small and large businesses that removing bureaucratic red tape that hinders the creation of good paying jobs is important.
This legislation is a reflection of the House’s commitment to the “Virginia Way.” The House has worked across the aisle and with Governor Northam to make sure that we are creating policy that works for all Virginians.
The House is also well on its way to crafting the new two year budget. The Committee on Appropriations has been strategic in creating a budget that provides support for our core functions of government, but also is efficient with our taxpayers dollars.
Additionally, my office has been hard at work on the legislation I sponsored this year. As a Freshman delegate, I wanted to create policy that would support our law enforcement, better serve our veterans, and fix the everyday problems my constituents were facing. Here is some of what we have accomplished this session:
Supporting our Veterans: My first bill to pass the House was HB 737, a bill which instructs the DMV to create a veteran indicator on Virginia driver’s licenses at no extra cost to the veteran. Currently in Virginia, veterans have to purchase a separate ID. Adding the indicator to our licenses will make life easier for those who served our Commonwealth and our country. The bill passed with unanimous and bipartisan support (99-0!)
Celebrating our community: HJ 135, a resolution to designate January 14th as Makar Sankranti in Virginia, was also passed unanimously by the House. Makar Sankranti is a major festival celebrated by the Indian-American community annually and celebrates the beginning of the harvest season. I am proud to help recognize the rich culture of this growing community of over 200,000 Virginians.
- Practical Solutions to Everyday Issues: Sometimes the best bill is no bill. Many of you know that the Goochland Drive-in Theater has been attempting to gain access to the blue highway attraction sign for 8 years on I-64. When they sought out help from our office, we brought together a team of people from VDOT and a number of other agencies. After discussion, they agreed to grant the drive-in an exemption. They have submitted their application and the sign will be up on I-64 this spring.
While this doesn’t begin to cover everything we have accomplished this first half of session, it does highlight a lot of what our Republican Caucus has been focused on in our “Practical Solutions to Everyday Issues” agenda.
We have also enjoyed having so many of you all visit us in the Capitol already. For those that haven’t visited, we hope that you will reach out to us to plan a trip. You can also follow along for daily updates with us on our Facebook and Twitter.
It is an honor to be your Delegate in the 56th district, and I’m glad you’re a part of the team. I hope I will continue to make you all proud.