Commentary: Busy in Richmond

Commentary: Busy in Richmond

Once again, these early weeks of the legislative session are proving to be a flurry of activity.

On Monday, I had hearings on four bills, bringing my total to action on 13 of 21 bills. So far, five of my bills have advanced to full committee or to the floor, and another was continued to 2019.

The remaining bills are still awaiting hearings.

Yesterday, House education committees advanced legislation to extend the amount of time that school divisions have to hire a new superintendent, and another bill to allow the Department of Education to accept third-party Employment Verification forms when out-of-state teachers apply to transfer their teaching license to Virginia to work in the Commonwealth.

I also advanced a bill to give the state police a dedicated source of revenue to create and maintain an e-summons system and upgrade their software regularly. Local jurisdictions already had a system like this and it brings state police up to the 21st century.

While I was very excited about some of the good legislation that passed, I was disappointed by several of my bills that have failed, including temporary in-state tuition for residents of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands; a secondary seat belt law for passenger vehicles; school bus seat belts; and an expansion of the Homestead Act for bankruptcy filings that would have allowed people filing bankruptcy to protect up to $25,000 of equity. Current law only allows for $5,000 of bankruptcy protections and it is the lowest amount in the country.

Later this week, the General Assembly will consider more of my legislation, along with marquee priorities like expanding access to affordable health care and making our economy work for all Virginia residents.

I look forward to updating you on those priorities in the weeks to come. And, thank you to my many constituents who have already come down to Richmond to visit and even testify before committees to support these important legislative efforts.