I’m continuing my weekly 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:
#30 – Protecting Child Victims
When a child has been a victim of sex trafficking it is clearly a traumatic and life changing incident. We should do everything we can to help them heal and continue on with their life with as little continuing pain as possible.
This year, Delegate Chris Collins carried legislation that would allow a victim of sex trafficking to testify using two-way closed circuit television. This will prevent the child from having to be face-to-face with their abuser.
The legislation also allows a child who is a witness in a sex-trafficking case to testify via two-way closed circuit television.
#31 – Making it Easier for Employers to Provide On-Site Childcare
Delegate Jason Miyares was contacted by his constituent saying he wanted to provide onsite childcare for his two female employees with toddlers. After researching it the business owner found out that to do so his company would have to meet all of the state regulations for a public day care center.
The business owner was attempting to do the right thing by providing childcare for her female employees, but government regulations were making that goal impossible.
The business owner knew that just wasn’t practical or possible. Delegate Miyares decided to find a solution.
Delegate Miyares introduced legislation that allows businesses to provide on site childcare/babysitting services for their employees up to age 12 as long as the parent or guardian is onsite to take immediate control of parenting duties if required.
By companies being able to provide this benefit, it will make them more competitive when it comes to recruiting great employees. This legislation will also save families from having to spend money on costly childcare.
#32 – Commemorating the 100th Anniversary of Women’s Right to Vote
1919 was a historic year when it came to ensuring women’s right to vote. On May 21, 1919, the House of Representatives passed what would become the 19th amendment, and 2 weeks later, the Senate followed sending the proposed amendment to the states for ratification. In just over a year’s time, three-fourths of the states ratified the amendment and the Secretary of State certified the ratification, forever ensuring women would have the right to vote.
Fast forward 100 years as we honor the significance of that historic amendment ratification. This year Delegate Chris Peace introduced a budget amendment to support efforts to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the women’s right to vote.
The amendment allocated money from the general fund to provide funds, to be matched at 50% by the Virginia Historical Society, to support this commemoration.
#33 – Protecting Jobs
It’s not often that I write about our accomplishments in terms of things that didn’t pass the General Assembly, but stopping a massive, job-destroying minimum wage hike was indeed one of the biggest things our team accomplished this session.
Legislation was introduced that would have nearly doubled the minimum wage in Virginia, and then set it to increase automatically, regardless of business conditions in Virginia. Other states have tried similar efforts, with disastrous results for workers.
“On December 31st, NYC raised the minimum wage to $15, a 15% increase from the 2018 level, and a 34% hike from 2017…
“The result? Close to three-quarters of restaurants in New York City have cut labor input since the minimum wage was raised to $15 per hour. That’s according to a survey by The NYC Hospitality Alliance. Specifically, 76.5% of full-service restaurant respondents said they had to cut employee hours and 36% said they cut jobs in 2018 in response to the mandated minimum wage hikes.”
“That’s consistent with BLS data, which show that New York City full service restaurant employment has gone from an 8% growth back in 2012 to a -2% growth in the last two years.”
Republicans know that a minimum wage that works in Arlington would be a disaster for business owners in Gate City. That’s why we stopped this ill-considered legislation, and will continue to protect jobs all over the Commonwealth.
#34 – Putting the Brakes on Unnecessary Regulation
President Reagan once summed up the Government’s view of the economy thusly: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.
He wasn’t far off. All too often the first impulse of any government is to regulate or tax businesses. They may start with the best of intentions, but before long the bold entrepreneur who launched a new product or service finds themselves jumping through more and more regulatory hoops to keep bureaucrats in Washington or Richmond happy. Time that could have been spent helping customers, creating jobs, or otherwise adding to our economy is wasted filling out compliance paperwork for the Basket Weaving Commission.
Delegate Ronnie Campbell introduced legislation this year to put the brakes on regulatory creep and bring some common sense back into the process. HB 2028 requires the Board of Professional and Occupational Regulation to take a long, hard look at legislation that would create new rules for existing occupations or begin regulating a new one — taking the process off autopilot and bringing some common sense back into the discussion.
Republicans were proud to support this legislation, and we’re excited to report that Governor Northam has signed it into law. Combined with our pilot deregulation program passed last year, this legislation furthers our commitment to putting Virginians, not bureaucrats, in charge of their day to day lives.