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Votes

Column: Seeing Forward Movement on Variety of Bills

— The General Assembly has been as busy as ever this past week as we approach crossover and I wanted to take a moment to send you a brief update on what is going on here in the capital as well as tell you about an upcoming event back in the 45th District.

First, I hope you will join me for a Town Hall on Saturday, Feb. 16 from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. I’ll be taking comments and questions at the Charles Houston Recreation Center, located at 901 Wythe St. in Alexandria. Senator Adam Ebbin will be there as well. There is a small parking lot on site and street parking all around the recreation center. No RSVP necessary, come for all or part.

The House of Delegates passed a transportation package this week. This is one of many steps in a long process to come up with a final transportation package for our state. I voted against this version because it takes money from education, which is reprehensible after years of state cuts in per pupil spending. It removes the gas tax, which most economists say is the most effective and reasonable user fee for transportation. It doesn’t have anywhere close to enough money for NoVA’s needs. And it gives too much power to VDOT to direct how money is spent. I will keep pushing for a plan that will give us more local control over our transportation needs. I’ve been told that the conference committee is committed to working towards that goal. I don’t expect the final bill will be perfect, but if it gives us real revenues for our local roads and transit and it gives us more local control, then it will be something I will seriously consider. I continue to appreciate the comments and input from my constituents on this important issue and I encourage you to keep it up.

My restaurant charity bill (HB 2262) passed the House this week. This bill removes the need for special permits or fees to be filed when a restaurant wants to donate food to a local non-profit. This will help the large number of non-profits in our community and around the state to work with their local restaurants on fundraising and other charitable activities. I appreciate the number of local non-profits and restaurants that helped me on this bill, especially Mike Anderson of Mango Mike’s who made a trip to Richmond to testify.

And lastly, I’m pleased to report that the House Appropriation’s committee has included $1.85 million of mental health first aid training funds in their budget proposal. This is a huge step for the Commonwealth. Mental Health First Aid training will play an important role in community safety as well as to help people get access to the mental health services they need to live constructive lives in our state. I will be working hard to make sure this is in the final budget.

I am always interested in hearing your thoughts. Please contact my office with any questions, concerns or ways in which I could be of service. You can contact me at DelRKrupicka@House.Virginia.govor by calling 804-698-1045 during session or 571-357-5762 if you prefer a local number.