For all who celebrated the Festival of Lights, Julie and I hope you and your family had a very happy Hanukkah. There is nothing more comforting than celebrating the holidays with your family. During this season, let us say an extra prayer for our men and women stationed overseas and for their families back in the states.
In this update you’ll find information regarding state inspection stickers, pictures from the groundbreaking of a new monument and students visiting the Capitol, insight into the upcoming General Assembly session, and more.
State Inspection Stickers
Beginning January 1, 2018, state inspection stickers will be relocated on windshields. The new location for inspection stickers will be the bottom left of the windshield. Existing inspection stickers will remain in place until a new 2019 inspection sticker is issued. Other stickers, such as city decals, will also be relocated.
The change is taking place due to new crash avoidance technology now utilized by many car manufacturers on new cars. Inspection stickers in the center of the windshield can interfere with sensors used in crash avoidance technology. The new location of inspection stickers will eliminate interference with crash avoidance systems.
For more information on this topic, see the news release from the Virginia State Police by clicking here.
Students at the Capitol
It was great to welcome students from Carver Middle School, with their teach Debbie Bailey, to the State Capitol earlier this month! As part of their day at the Capitol, students learned about the history of our nearly 400 year old state legislature and how bills become law on the state level.
Del. Cox speaking to students from Carver Middle School
in the House of Delegates chamber.
I enjoyed speaking to these students about my job as a Delegate. They had some good questions about the General Assembly’s role in education, particularly SOL reform.
These outstanding students came prepared to debate the Tebow Bill. The bill, which has been introduced in the General Assembly for the last several years, would give homeschool students the ability to play on public school sports teams. These students articulated quite well the pros and cons to the bill.
These students learned a great deal visiting the Capitol, and I’m confident that one of them will walk the halls as a Delegate or Senator in the future.
2018 General Assembly Session
The General Assembly will convene for a 60-day long session on Wednesday, January 10, 2018. During a long session (as opposed to a 45 day short session), the state legislature will consider bills on nearly every topic imaginable.
This long session means that a new, two-year state budget must be adopted by the General Assembly. Outgoing Governor Terry McAuliffe presented his proposed budget to the money committees on Monday, December 18th. Now, the House Appropriations Committee and Senate Finance Committee will hold public hearings across the state to solicit input on the proposed budget and potential amendments. During session, each chamber will pass their own version of the budget. A conference committee, comprised of senior legislators in both chambers, will meet to hammer out the differences between the House and Senate versions before final passage and consideration by the Governor
A public hearing on the budget for the Richmond area will be held on Wednesday, January 3, 2018 at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond beginning at 12 noon. For more information on upcoming hearings, visit hac.virginia.gov.
As your Delegate, I am committed to a responsible, balanced budget that does not raise taxes. It is imperative that our budget focus on core government services such as education, public safety, and mental health. Our budget must maintain a reserve fund that allows the state to keep its coveted “AAA” bond rating.
MOAA Legislative Forum
As part of my preparation for session, I joined fellow legislators at a legislative forum hosted by the Central, Richmond, and Southside chapters of the Military Officers Association of America (MOAA). We had a great discussion on potential legislation that will benefit our active-duty personnel and veterans. One key piece of legislation is HJ6, sponsored by Delegate Jason Miyares (R-Virginia Beach). This legislation would amend the state constitution to bring the residency requirements for surviving spouses of 100% service-connected permanent and totally disabled veterans in line with those of surviving spouses of service members killed in action. The amendment will allow these surviving spouses to change their principal place of residence and still retain their veteran spouse’s real property tax exemption. I intend to support HJ6.
Practical Solutions to Everyday Issues
House Republicans are laser focused on providing practical solutions to everyday issues . Our first three bills–HB 1, HB 2, and HB 3–will solve everyday issues facing Virginians.
House Bill 1 will protect sensitive data, such as the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and dates of birth, of students enrolled in Virginia public colleges and universities from being released through a Freedom of Information Act request. Media outlets across Virginia this fall brought to light a shady practice being used by some political campaigns to target students by accessing their personal contact information without their knowledge. With the passing of HB1, students must provide consent before their personal information can be shared with any outside individual or group.
House Bill 2 will allow a spouse of any member of the armed forces who has a valid out-of-state teaching license to enjoy licensure reciprocity in Virginia. This means that an individual who is currently a licensed teacher in another state and married to a member of the military could seamlessly transition into a Virginia classroom if their family is transferred to Virginia.
House Bill 3 will require the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV) to establish quality standards for dual enrollment courses, including standards for instructors, materials, and content. Courses that meet or exceed these quality standards will be certified as “Universal Transfer Courses” and satisfy course credit at any public institution of higher education. This legislation will save students time and money by ensuring dual enrollment programs are working as intended by allowing students to earn college credits while in high school and apply those credits to a 2-year or 4-year degree.
You can become a citizen co-patron to any of these three bills by clicking here. Your name will put real weight behind these bills and help ensure that they become law.
I was honored to participate in the groundbreaking ceremony in Richmond for the Virginia Women’s’ Monument. This monument, named Voices from the Garden, will be the first monument of its kind in the nation. The monument will feature twelve Virginia women from different walks of life, telling the story of suffrage, civil rights, and perseverance. I’m looking forward to the completion of this monument and its impact on visitors to Capitol Square.
Apply for a Board or Commission
Governor-elect Ralph Northam is seeking qualified Virginians from varying backgrounds to serve on state boards and commissions. Appointments will be made throughout the Governor-elect’s term of office. It is estimated that he will made approximately 900 appointments per year. To learn more and apply for a board or commission, click here.
Outside of session, you can contact me in my district office via phone at 526-5135; by email at email@example.com; or by US mail at PO Box 1205, Colonial Heights, VA 23834.
Please visit my Facebook page and my Twitter page. These pages, along with my website, have information/links to the 2017 General Assembly session to include my legislation, visitors’ photos, my legislative survey, videos of floor remarks, and related topics.
Please forward this update to your friends and neighbors.