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Votes

Commentary: General Assembly Session Underway

The 2013 General Assembly session convenes at noon on Wednesday, Jan. 9. Tracing its beginnings to the colonists meeting in the church at Jamestown to conduct their common business, the General Assembly is the oldest continuous legislative body in the western hemisphere. Using the rules set down in Jefferson’s manual, the historic body will tackle a set of challenges seldom rivaled in its annual meetings. The biennium budget for the commonwealth was passed in 2012 so the budgetary work for this session will be tweaking what was passed last year. Because tweaking should take less time than passing a full budget, the legislature is scheduled to meet for 45 rather than 60 days. Even at that, hundreds of millions of dollars will be moved around in the budget, and several thousand bills and resolutions will be considered in this short session.

Watch daily sessions of the House of Delegates and the Senate and follow specific bills at http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/. This site also includes the voting record for each member on all bills and resolutions. Communicate your views to me at my regular email address, kenplum@aol.com, and call my regular office number (703-758-9733) which will ring in Richmond without a long-distance charge to you. Follow me on Facebook at Kenneth R. Plum.

My priorities for the session likely exceed the time available, but I want the General Assembly this session to stop the erosion of public funding for K-12 and higher education and to begin restoring funding that was cut during the recession. I support fully funding the mental health recommendations that were made after the Virginia Tech shootings and that recent events have shown to be so important. I support closing the gun show loophole that allows gun purchases without criminal or mental health background checks. We are past time putting into place reliable, dedicated and continuous funding for transportation needs, and I want additional state cash to go to Phase Two of the Silver Line that will help keep tolls down. I want us to outlaw discrimination based on sexual orientation. I do not want us to take undue risks with our environment by lifting the ban on uranium mining. I support ensuring that renewable energy sources of Virginia be developed in Virginia. There are so many issues; if I left yours out send me an email at kenplum@aol.com to learn my position.

If you are in Richmond during January or February, stop by my office at 401 General Assembly Building at Capitol Square. The legislative sessions are generally very stressful; I am always pleased to see a friendly face from back home.