I’ll start with some sad news…the Yankees won’t be going to the World Series this year. I’m a HUGE Yankees fan and was disappointed to see their loss to Boston. But there’s always hope for next year.
For more positive news, I’ll update you on ways we’re making college more affordable, Real ID, and voter registration deadlines. I’ll also share with you some of the events I’ve attended throughout our district over the last several weeks.
Making College More Affordable
In 2015, I introduced House Bill 1897 to curb the rapidly rising costs of student athletic fees. These fees are charged to each student, regardless of whether they play an intercollegiate sport or not. I introduced this bill after learning that student athletic fees were the largest, non-academic driver of rising higher education costs. Specifically, House Bill 1897 prohibits student fees from exceeding a certain percentage of athletics revenue depending on the size of the school.
Last month, nonpartisan staff for the House Appropriations Committee noted that my legislation has succeeded in curbing the rate by which student athletic fees grow, in turn saving families and students money. Prior to this legislation, student athletic fees grew an average of 5-8% each year. The growth in fees has dropped by over half for many of our four year institutions.
House Republican haven’t stopped with House Bill 1897, we’re continuing to tackle the cost of higher education. The state budget passed earlier this year includes an additional $120 million for higher education, much of that going directly to students in the form of grants. This was done without general fund tax increases and while balancing the budget.
For the upcoming 2019 session, Delegate Steve Landes and Delegate Tim Hugo have introduced legislation to lower the costs of Prepaid529 tuition contracts. The bill, House Bill 1611, will reduce the cost of an eight semester tuition contract by nearly $3,000. For families with multiple children, this bill would make a real difference. I look forward to supporting this legislation in the upcoming session.
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month across America. It’s an important month as we all know someone who has been impacted by breast cancer. It’s also a time for us to continue our efforts to find a cure.
Part of finding a cure is raising money. In 2003, I introduced legislation to create the Virginia breast cancer license plate. For each plate sold, a portion of the proceeds going to the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation to support research. I’m happy to report that the plate has raised over $1.7 million to date for breast cancer research.
Each year, approximately 30 middle school students from across the Commonwealth serve as pages for the House of Delegates during regular session. As Speaker of the House, it is my honor to be able to appoint young men and women from all walks of life to fill these important positions.
Pages, who must be 13 or 14 on the first day of session (January 9, 2019), are vital to the smooth operation of the House of Delegates and the legislative process as a whole. Pages will have the opportunity to see lawmaking–including laws that will directly impact them–first hand. Young individuals serving as pages live in Richmond during session and participate in mandatory study hall each evening.
The House page application and the similar Senate page application can be found online by clicking here. All students seeking to apply must receive permission from their school as well as an endorsement letter from their member in the House of Delegates.
The deadline to apply to be a House page is October 22nd.
Next year, Virginia will celebrate 400 years of self government. In June 1619, the Virginia General Assembly assembled for the first time in Jamestown. Then known as the Virginia House of Burgesses, the meeting was the beginning of a radical experiment in representative democracy. It is an honor to serve you in what is now considered the oldest, continuously operating, legislative body in the New World.
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a reception hosted by and at the British Embassy in Washington celebrating the upcoming quadricentennial of the legislature. The evening’s special guest what His Royal Highness The Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. This event was one of many that will be taking place over the next year to commemorate Virginia’s history.
Speaker Cox meeting His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex
at the British Embassy in Washington, DC.
Keep an eye out for more information over the next few months relating to upcoming 2019 celebrations.
Register to Vote
Election Day is less than a month away. This is an important election and it’s vital that you exercise your right to vote.
In order to vote, you must be registered. The last day to register to vote or update your address for the November general election is Monday, October 15th. You can register online by clicking here.
If you have questions about what’s on your ballot, would like to vote absentee, or need help finding your polling location, visit elections.virginia.gov.
At some point over the last year or two, you’ve probably heard of Real ID. Following 9/11, Congress passed several laws aimed at strengthening security at airports. One such law requires ID cards issued by states–such as your driver’s license–to meet certain federal minimums in order to be used to board an airplane.
DMV has been working diligently to ensure that Virginia driver’s licenses are Real ID compliant. Earlier this month, DMV began issuing Real ID compliant license.
Starting October 1, 2020, individuals can no longer use non-Real ID compliant licenses to board planes. Be sure that you obtain your Real ID compliant prior to the 2020 deadline if you plan on flying.
For more information about Real ID and the work DMV is doing on this issue, click here.
Around the District
Over the last several weeks, I’ve attended many events throughout the district. Here’s just a few…
Door-to-Door in Chester
Even when my name isn’t on the ballot, I enjoy going to door-to-door and hearing directly from you. Listening to your concerns and frustrations helps me to better serve our community.
Last week, I had the chance to go door-to- door in Ashley Forest in Chester. Joining my was John Childrey, candidate for Chesterfield Commonwealth’s Attorney. We heard from a number of Ashley Forest residents about various public safety concerns and discussed ways to address them.
Safe Communities Night
Colonial Heights celebrated Safe Communities Night on October 2nd. It’s an evening for the community to come together with law enforcement and meet neighbors. I stopped by a block party at the police department and thanked our officers for their hard work and toured the new 911 communications center.
Meet and Greets
I’ve enjoyed supporting our Republican candidates alongside of many of you. Recently I had the chance to attend meet and greets for John Childrey, candidate for Chesterfield Commonwealth’s Attorney, and Ryan McAdams, candidate for Congress from the 4th district. Turnout was great and folks are ready to win in November.
Outside of session, you can contact me in my district office via phone at 526-5135; by email at firstname.lastname@example.org; or by US mail at PO Box 1205, Colonial Heights, VA 23834. I encourage you to visit my Facebook page, Twitter page, and website to stay up to date with events taking place in the 66th district and your state government.