Our first full week of the General Assembly Session was cut short due to a significant winter storm headed our way. For the first time since 2010, and only the second time in 48 years, the House of Delegates cancelled a floor session. At the close of Thursday’s Floor Session it was announced the House would adjourn until Monday, January 25th at noon.
In this update, I provide severe weather storm resources, share information on legislation I’m carrying, highlight House Republican Caucus priorities, recap my Telephone Town Hall, and thank constituent groups for visiting my Capital office.
Severe Winter Weather Resources
Virtually all forecasters are predicting very severe weather conditions for most parts of Virginia. It is very important that you take steps to prepare for this storm. Significant snowfall could lead to road closures and power outages. To help you prepare, I wanted to pass along some important contact information:
A Free-Market Approach to the Economy and Healthcare
Recent reports about a squandered economic development project that used taxpayer dollars to incentivize a business relocation to Virginia has caused the House Appropriations Committee to more intensely review how the Commonwealth spreads money statewide to attract new businesses.
The Roanoke Times recently published reports
about a failed company in Appomattox that took state money as an incentive to reopen a factory. Because the McAuliffe Administration failed to do their homework and the company was not fully vetted, $1.4 million tax payer dollars were wasted on this failed business deal.
Governor McAuliffe has already put $140 million new economic development dollars in his 2016-2018 budget. Be assured the House will work to ensure proper oversight is part of every economic deal to protect scarce taxpayer dollars.
We are looking to our partners in the private sector to help ensure a bottom-up, free-market growth and opportunity approach to securing new business deals. I’m carrying legislation to create the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Act
that emphasizes this approach. This partnership can help vet and ensure our economic development dollars are spent wisely. Through this concept, regional councils are established to develop and examine local economic development grant proposals. These local business leaders are more knowledgeable about their specific regional industry needs. I am fully committed to protecting taxpayer dollars from waste and ensuring that we make wise and prudent investments.
Free market principles can also help ensue more cost effective health care. Virginia is one of 36 states with Certificate of Public Need (COPN)
laws that were introduced in the 1970s to regulate healthcare services. Basically the laws require a provider to obtain a Certificate of Public Need in order to expand services or bring new equipment to their practice. These laws were meant to control costs and protect providers who offer charity care services to the community. Many now argue that COPN requirements reduce access to care and drive up costs by creating healthcare monopolies. The state bureaucracy determines what services are available and the circumstances under which they are offered.
I believe reforming or repealing the burdensome COPN regulations would promote free market principles like competition to help drive down costs and improve access.
First Telephone Townhall of 2016
During the Telephone Town Hall, we also discussed other issues like second amendment rights and party registration.
Current law allows Virginia to recognize conceal carry permits from other states and vice-versa. This “reciprocity” enabled the 420,000 Virginians with permits to carry concealed weapons in a total of 30 states. Attorney General Herring recently announced Virginia will no longer recognize conceal carry permits from 25 other states. This has resulted in Virginia permit holders losing their ability to carry in other states. Del. Lee Ware has introduced a bill that allows any out of state permit holder to show a government issued photo-ID and his conceal carry permit and the permit will be accepted in Virginia. This legislation was supported by 89% of call participants.
With the March 1st Presidential Primary quickly approaching, party registration is a hot topic. I asked participants whether voters should have the option to register by political party. In the closest poll of the evening, 49% of participants supported voter registration.
If you would like to be a part of my second telephone town hall of 2016, please email your best phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org
Combating Domestic Violence and Empowering Women
House Appropriations Committee Chairman Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) announced he will commit to looking at additional investments in the House budget for domestic violence crisis services, treatment, and educational resources. This legislation builds on House Republicans consistent record of leading the effort to prevent domestic violence. The House of Delegates has passed more than 36 pieces of legislation in the last decade aimed at combating domestic violence.
Don’t forget to return my 2016 pre-session survey
. This survey covers important topics that I will be considering this session. Whenever I vote on legislation, I always consider the views of 66th district residents. Knowing your views helps me represent you better in Richmond.
Visitors to the Capitol
Thank you to my many visitors this week. I especially appreciate Colonial Heights American Legion Post 284 members for coming to support my Veterans Care Center bill that was heard by a House Appropriations Subcommittee. I’m proud to report my bill to authorize the construction of a new care center has passed the House Appropriations Committee with unanimous support.