Column: General Assembly Reaches Halfway Point

Column: General Assembly Reaches Halfway Point


The 2016 General Assembly session has passed the halfway point. The House of Delegates is considering 552 bills that passed the Virginia Senate. The Senate is considering 983 House bills. Among these, the House passed 24 bills and one resolution that I introduced — more than any other member of the House and Senate. I appreciate the support of Republicans and Democrats in the House of Delegates in passing these initiatives.

You can read about these bills and the resolution at Most are related to transportation, education, making government more transparent, and ensuring the efficient use of your tax dollars.

Also at are the results of the 2016 issue survey. Many thanks to the more than 500 residents in our area who took the survey. Your responses and comments have been helpful to me during the General Assembly session.

As a member of the House Education Committee, I’m involved in legislation pertaining to K-12 public education as well as Virginia’s public colleges and universities. One of the most significant bills we are considering this year is referred to as the “redesign of high school.” This is HB 895 and a companion Senate bill SB 336.

This legislation directs the state Board of Education to review and possibly revise high school graduation requirements and college and career educational tracks by September 2017, and move immediately toward implementation, which would begin in the 2018-19 school year. While I believe it makes sense to review course work and graduation requirements from time to time, I believe implementation should not be automatic. Instead, the General Assembly, local school boards, parents, teachers and administrators should have time to carefully review the recommendations after September 2017 to understand the implications and associated costs before implementation proceeds. I am working to amend this legislation to provide a “pause” in the process after September 2017.

Another matter related to public education considered by the General Assembly is a proposed amendment to the Virginia Constitution to allow the state, in addition to local school boards, to establish public charter schools. After passing the House with my support (HJ 3), the measure was defeated in the Virginia Senate (SJ 6) on a 21-19 vote, so it appears that additional emphasis on establishing public charter schools in Virginia will not occur for the foreseeable future.

Next week the General Assembly will consider the 2016-2018 state budget. The respective House and Senate committees will report their budget recommendations this weekend. I expect to address budget issues in my Richmond Report next week.

More information about the General Assembly, including live webcast video of the House and Senate meetings may be found

As always, I welcome your comments and questions. I may be reached at or 703-264-1432. Your call will forward to the Richmond office.