I’m continuing my seven week series highlighting 51 unique accomplishments by the Republican-led House of Delegates. I’ll be sending weekly emails about our successful efforts, as well as daily posts on my Facebook and Twitter pages. If you missed last week’s email, you can read it here.
Our tax reform package was the highlight of this year’s legislative session. It provides nearly $1 billion in tax relief for Virginia families. In addition to tax reform, here are some more of our legislative accomplishments:
#20 – Partnerships for Affordable Degrees & Good Jobs
Last September, I gave a speech outlining a vision for a stronger partnership between the Commonwealth, institutions of higher education, and the businesses that power our Commonwealth. My remarks led to the development of House Bill 2653, creating a framework for the creation of “Institutional Partnership Performance Agreements.”
These agreements allow colleges and universities to work with the Commonwealth and businesses on key issues like affordability, employment pathways, internships, talent development, and enrollment management. Using this framework, institutions, businesses and the Commonwealth will collaborate on innovative proposals to strengthen our economy, make degrees more affordable, and help graduates get internships and work-study experience that lead to good jobs.
House Bill 2653, which I introduced, earned the support of key business leaders, college presidents, and opinion leaders across Virginia. The bill, with changes incorporated from similar legislation carried by Senator Siobhan Dunnavant, passed the General Assembly without a single dissenting vote at any point in the legislative process.
The broad support for institutional partnerships, and this legislation, demonstrates how critical these agreements are to the future of our Commonwealth. These agreements will be the linchpin of partnerships that have the ability to transform our Commonwealth. If business, higher education, and state government work together as partners, we will achieve many more big economic development wins, and thousands more young Virginians will find great jobs without having to leave the state.
#21 – Tort Reform
An important part of a good business climate is the ability for businesses to resolve legal disputes in a fair manner. A fair civil justice system is one that avoids frivolous lawsuits and eliminates unnecessary or overly burdensome costs in the legal system.
This year, the House passed legislation that will bring positive changes to Virginia’s system for civil justice. The first allows for a motion for summary judgment in a business dispute to be supported by deposition testimony and affidavits. This change will allow for the faster resolution of cases that do not need to go to trial, particularly frivolous cases. The second will avoid unnecessary depositions of corporate executives when a corporate representative could provide suitable testimony.
#22 – Fighting Human Trafficking
According to a recent report, Virginia ranks 6th in active federal human trafficking cases. This year, the House of Delegates passed legislation to help combat human trafficking here in the Commonwealth, building on our longstanding commitment to battling this scourge across our Commonwealth.
Legislation by Delegate Jason Miyares requires the Virginia Alcoholic Beverage Control Authority and the Virginia Employment Commission to post information for the human trafficking hotline in government stores and employment offices.
The purpose of the legislation is to alert possible witnesses or victims of human trafficking to the availability of a means to report crimes or gain assistance.
#23 – Creating the Virginia Prevention of Sex Trafficking Fund
Legislation by Delegate David Yancey creates a Virginia Prevention of Sex Trafficking Fund for the purpose of promoting awareness, training, and education relating to sex trafficking. Fees related to numerous sex trafficking offenses are paid into the Fund.
The bill requires persons convicted of misdemeanor violations of prostitution, aiding prostitution, and using vehicles to promote prostitution to pay a $100 fee. Additionally, those convicted of certain certain felony violations will be required to pay a $500 fee.
#24 – Tougher Penalties for Prostituting Children
The General Assembly passed many other pieces of legislation aimed at protecting our families. Legislation by Delegate Rob Bell, House Bill 2586, will increase penalties on those who aid in the commission of child prostitution and allow them to be investigated by multijurisdictional grand juries. The bill will also ensure that offenders receive full punishment by allowing each act of sex trafficking to be charged as a separate offense.
Protecting our children must always be a top priority for the General Assembly and that is why enacting stiffer penalties for those who aid in the commission of child prostitution.
Be sure to check your email next week for more accomplishments by our Republican majority. Don’t forget that you can view our accomplishments daily on my Facebook and Twitter accounts.