Reducing Student Fees – Boys & Girls State Sendoff – New Voter Registration – Zika Virus – Award Received

While the mercury in the thermometer may be rising, I’m still working to represent you in the General Assembly. When the House of Delegates is not in session, I research legislative proposals aimed at helping our veterans, improving K-12 education, and promoting the Virginia economy.

In this email, I’ll provide an update on my efforts to reduce college tuition fees, highlight the American Legion Post 284 Boys and Girls State send off, share a new method to register to vote, and provide a source for Zika virus related questions, and report on a recent legislative award.

Reducing Student Athletic Fees, Update

Consistently I hear from constituents that the rising cost of college is one of their main concerns. As parents of four sons who have graduated, currently attend, or will soon attend college, my wife Julie and I understand firsthand the stress and anxiety brought on by the seemingly ever-increasing cost of higher education.

In 2015, I successfully carried legislation to reduce the athletic fees students pay as part of their tuition fees. That legislation went into effect July 1st of this year. Since then, this issue has gained a lot of traction in other states.

After coordinating with several colleges, we crafted and passed legislation that will challenge growing sports programs but gives colleges workable targets to meet. Ultimately, it will help generate meaningful cost savings for students and families with college age students. Our colleges and universities primary focus should be academics and that’s where we need to focus our spending.

As this Virginia-Pilot article notes, “the spigot on student fees has effectively been turned off.” It is my goal to continue to find ways to make college more affordable and accessible.

Boys & Girls State Sendoff

One of my favorite events to attend is the annual Boys and Girls State sendoff hosted by American Legion Post 284 in Colonial Heights. I once again had the privilege to speak at the sendoff breakfast. As a former Boys State alumnus myself, I am always impressed at the stellar group of young men and women who are invited to attend.

These young men and women spent a week at Radford University and Longwood University, respectively, learning how to become more involved in their government. The rising seniors received visits from the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, members of the General Assembly, civil servants, and local officials. I am confident that the skills learned at Boys and Girls State will positively benefit these students for years to come.

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Delegate Cox with Boys State delegation (left) and Girls State delegation (right) prior to their departure.

Additionally, for a second year in a row, my aide Kelly Gee served as a counselor at Girls State. She had a wonderful week with her 45 girls who won the coveted Model City Award!

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Kelly Gee with the ladies of Draper City.

Online Voter Registration at DMV

Customers at the DMV can now register to vote electronically. Last week, DMV unveiled a new electronic registration system that reduces paper work and processing times. Previously, the DMV mailed over 500,000 completed paper voter applications to the State Board of Elections, that were in turn mailed to individual voter registrars across the state. The new system allows applications to be sent directly from DMV to local registrars, a much more efficient system.

As a reminder, if you wish to vote in this November’s general election you must register to vote no later than October 17th.

Zika Virus Facts

Many individuals in Central and South America have been impacted by the Zika virus, which is transmitted via the bite of a mosquito infected with the virus. There have been no reports of infected mosquitoes in the continental United States. Zika virus cases in the United States involve individuals that contracted the virus overseas and subsequently returned to the states. As of Thursday, July 7, 2016, there were 33 confirmed cases of Zika virus in Virginia.

Virginia has begun preparing in the event that mosquitoes in the Commonwealth should become infected with Zika. To read more about the Department of Health’s initiative and ways that you can protect yourself from the virus, visit www.ZikaVA.org.

Funeral Directors Award

I was honored to be named “Legislator of the Year” by the Virginia Funeral Directors Association at their 128th annual convention in Portsmouth. Funeral directors serve over 25,000 families each year in their times of grief. I am grateful to each and every funeral director across the Commonwealth for their dedication to their profession. Click here to read more about the award.

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Bryan Small, President of E. Alvin Small Funeral Home & Crematory in Colonial Heights, congratulates Delegate Kirk Cox on his “Legislator of the Year” award.

During this year’s session, progress was made in updating the Death Records electronic system to make it easier on families and funeral professionals to help complete their work in a timely manner. I look forward to working with Virginia’s funeral directors on future legislation.

In closing, you can contact me at my home office by emailing delkcox@house.virginia.gov or by calling 804-526-5135, by US mail – PO Box 1205, Colonial Heights, VA 23834 – or by stopping by my Colonial Heights office at 250B East Ellerslie Avenue. I appreciate your views on legislation that will help me do a better job for the people I represent.

Please visit my Facebook page and my Twitter page. These pages, along with my website, have information/links to the 2016 General Assembly Session to include my 44 pieces of legislation, visitors’ photos, my legislative survey, videos of floor remarks, and related topics.