Libraries are on Mark Sickles' mind as the General Assembly opens session in Richmond.
Sickles (D-43rd) is making a top priority of Gov. Mark Warner's (D) budget amendment that would provide additional funding for the Fairfax County Public Library system.
A member of the Library Board for 11 years, Sickles was instrumental in getting the Kingstowne Library built.
"Currently, we lose 20 cents per person for the population that exceeds 600,000 in Fairfax County and Fairfax City," said Sickles.
Other bills that Sickles is sponsoring or co-sponsoring include an acceleration of the reduction of the food tax. Under current legislation, the reduction — from 4 percent to 2.5 percent — would take three years, but Sickles' bill would make the legislation take effect on July 1.
Sickles is also introducing legislation that would give judges discretion to publish the names of non-violent sex offenders, similar to the requirements made on the names of violent sex offenders. He is also proposing a budget amendment that would raise the money set aside from car taxes for the 2005-06 budget to $2.2 billion, as well as a bill that would recoup the purchasing power of the gas tax, which would provide $350 million per year to the transportation trust fund.
Transportation for Sickles, who was elected to office in 2003, will also be important, especially for Northern Virginia.
"It is my top priority," he said.
Sickles, along with Senator Toddy Puller (D-36th) and Delegate Kristen Amundson (D-44th) will be hosting a town meeting on Saturday, Jan. 22 at the South County Government Center. The time of the town meeting has not been determined.
"We did many good things for the Commonwealth last year. After a long struggle, there is no stomach here for a repeat performance. We hope to be out in 46 days or less," said Sickles.