Source: Campaign page
Rob Bell grew up in a Navy family. He attended the University of Virginia on scholarship and graduated with honors from both the college and U.Va law school. Rob served as a state prosecutor in Orange County for five years, where he prosecuted over 2,400 cases, working with the police and crime victims to bring criminals to justice.
Since his election as a Republican to the Virginia General Assembly, Rob has written laws that crack down on repeat-offense drunk driving and keep sex offenders off school property. He has also passed laws to expand Virginia’s protective orders and to require life in prison for those convicted of raping children. In 2015 he wrote the law to address sexual assaults on college campuses, and in 2016 Bell led the effort to expand Virginia’s stalking laws and empower crime victims.
In recent years, Rob has worked to improve mental health care in Virginia. In 2014, he patroned Virginia’s “bed of last resort” law to ensure that a bed at a state hospital is always available when a court has ordered treatment. In 2019, he wrote a law to establish minimum standards for mental health care in Virginia jails and to coordinate jail-provided mental health services with community services after inmate release.
In recognition of his work, Rob has been received awards from numerous groups, including Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD-Virginia), the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, and the Psychiatric Society of Virginia. The Action Alliance, which fights domestic violence and sexual assault, gave Rob the 2009 “Act, Honor, Hope” Award, and in 2011, recognized Rob along with 29 other Virginians as a “30 Voices for 30 Years” Honoree.
An Eagle Scout, Rob was an active volunteer with the Boy Scouts and with the public schools prior to his first election. Rob and his wife Jessica have two children, Robbie and Evie. The Bells live in Albemarle County.
University of Virginia School of Law
- B.A. with High Distinction
University of Virginia
Boy Scouts of America, Eagle Scout
Virginians Aligned Against Sexual Assault, Vanguard Special Commendation (2002)
National Transportation Safety Board, State Safety Leadership Award (reduce alcohol-related fatalities) (2004)
The Century Council, Outstanding Commitment to Fight Drunk Driving and Underage Drinking (2004)
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, State Safety Leadership Citation (2004)
MADD, Outstanding Leadership (2004), Outstanding Legislator (2005)
Thomas Jefferson EMS Council, Award of Appreciation (2005)
Washington Regional Alcohol Program, WRAPPY Award for Public Service (2005)
Home Educators Association of Virginia, Outstanding Leadership in Advancing the Rights of Home-Educating Parents (2006)
Virginia Society of the Sons of the American Revolution, Law Enforcement Commendation Medal (2006), Law Enforcement Official of the Year (2007)
Virginia Property Rights Coalition, Deepest Gratitude for HB 2954 to the people of Virginia (2007), John C. Marshall Award (2008)
Fluvanna County High School, Honorary Fluco (2008)
Virginia Academy of Family Physicians, Legislator of the Year (2008)
Virginia Sheriffs’ Association, Outstanding Legislative Service (2008)
Psychiatric Society of Virginia, Delegate of the Year (2008)
Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance, Act Honor Hope Award (2009), Leadership in Legislation Award (2011), 30 Voices for 30 Years Honoree (2011)
Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists, Patriots Award (2010)
Virginia Association of Commonwealth’s Attorneys, Champion of Justice (2011)
American Conservative Union, Defender of Liberty (2011)
Virginia Chamber of Commerce, A Rating (2012), Champion of Free Enterprise (2015), Excellence in Education and Workforce Training Award (2015)
Virginia Retail Merchants Association, Legislator of the Year (2012)
American Conservative Union, Conservative Excellence Award (2015)
- Birth Year: 1967
- Place of Birth: Palo Alto, CA
- Gender: Male
- Race(s): Caucasian
- Religion: Methodist
- Spouse: Jessica Rhea Sweeney
- Children: Robbie and Evelyn
Legislative Assistant: Jordan Dix Hargrave, Legislative Director
Administrative Assistant During Session: Anita Schepker
- Government - DelRBell@house.virginia.gov
900 E. Main St,
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Phone: (804) 698-1058
2309 Finch Court
Charlottesville, VA 22911
Phone: (434) 245-8900
Bell was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates in November 2001, representing the 58th district in the Virginia Piedmont, including Greene County and parts of Albemarle, Fluvanna and Rockingham Counties. Bell’s seat was previously held by Thomas Jefferson
In 2012, Bell voted in favor of a bill requiring all women to undergo a transvaginal ultrasound prior to having an abortion, except in cases of rape and incest, wherein police reports must be presented. While massive[clarification needed] silent protests outside the Virginia state capitol initially resulted in the bill’s patron holding off on the vote on the bill, it was passed the next day. On March 1, 2012, Bell voted in favor of an amended version of the bill requiring women to undergo a transabdominal ultrasoundprior to an abortion if written consent for a transvaginal ultrasound is not obtained, and no ultrasound at all if the physician deems it impossible to determine fetal age through the prescribed means.
During the 2012 legislative session, Bell was the primary sponsor of a bill requiring police to inquire into the citizenship of anyone arrested, regardless of criminal charges. The bill was widely criticized by civil rights organizations and failed to pass.
In 2012 and 2013, Bell patroned the “Tebow Bill”, named for Tim Tebow, which would allow homeschooled students meeting academic standards the opportunity to participate in public school sports teams and other extracurricular activities.
As of 2013, Bell serves as the chairman of the Virginia State Crime Commission.
In 2006, Bell proposed legislation to bar violent sex offenders from school property, following public outrage over a convicted sex offender serving as a Santa Claus at an elementary school. In 2012, he proposed a bill expanding this ban to cover school buses and school-affiliated events.
In 2008, Bell proposed legislation to require school superintendents to screen job applicants for a history of child abuse convictions in Virginia and other states, as well as criminalize the misrepresentation of an applicant’s offender status.
Bell sponsored a legislatively referred constitutional amendment seeking to reform eminent domain in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The effort was initiated in part as a reaction to a 2005 US Supreme Court decision upholding the right of the government to seize property for economic development. The Virginia General Assembly approved the amendment in 2011, and then Governor Bob McDonnell endorsed it. The proposed amendment was placed on the November 6, 2012, ballot as a statewide referendum, where it was approved.
2017 State Delegate for VA House District 58
|Rob Bell (R)||18,652||61.2%|
|Kellen James Squire (D)||11,797||38.7%|
|Write In (Write-in)||27||0.1%|
2015 US Senator for VA House District 58
|Rob Bell (R)||13,926||96.4%|
|Write In (Write-in)||514||3.6%|
BELL III, ROBERT BERNARD has run in 10 races for public office, winning 9 of them. The candidate has raised a total of $3,706,883
Source: Follow the Money
- Crime Commission, Virginia State
- Criminal Justice Diversion
- Criminal Law Subcommittee
- House Commerce and Labor
- House Courts of Justice
- House Health Welfare and Institutions
- Mental Health Services in the Twenty-First Century, Joint Subcommittee to Study
- Prevention and Response Protocol Subcommittee
- Rappahannock River Basin Commission
- Sexual and Domestic Violence, Advisory Committee on
See: Vote Smart
Source: Virginia Legislative Information System
Rob believes that it is critically important that only eligible citizens vote, and that the person registered must be the person who actually comes to the polls.
In 2013, Rob supported Virginia’s new photo ID law, and also patroned House Bill 1765, to help prevent felons from voting and House Bill 1764, to help prevent people from voting simultaneously in more than one state.
Rob knows that Virginia has a history of very close elections, and the Commonwealth needs to ensure that this sort of voter fraud is never allowed to overturn the actual will of the people.
Rob believes that that the Second Amendment ensures the rights of law-abiding citizens to own firearms for hunting, target shooting, self-defense, and other reasons. Rob is a gun owner, a concealed carry permit holder, an NRA member and a longtime member of the Rivanna Rifle & Pistol Club near his home in Charlottesville. His voting record has received an “A” score from the NRA.
- Rob Bell supports both concealed and open carry.
- Rob Bell believes that the Second Amendment guarantees the right of citizens to own firearms and opposes efforts to reinterpret and weaken this Constitutional protection.
- Rob Bell supports the right of law-abiding citizens to defend their families against home intruders.
- Rob Bell voted to repeal the “one gun a month” law.
- Rob Bell was co-patron of the bill to repeal the concealed carry “restaurant ban.”
- Rob Bell voted to remove concealed carry permit information from the list of data that is subject to Virginia’s open record laws.
Rob Bell is pro-life. In past elections, he has received a 100% score and has been endorsed by the Virginia Society for Human Life (VSHL). (The VSHL has not yet made an endorsement for the 2019 election.)
Rob supports the traditional definition of marriage and voted for Virginia’s Constitutional marriage amendment.
Rob supports the ability of parents to make educational choices for their children. In addition to supporting tax credits for school tuitions, he strongly supports home schooling. In 2006, the Home Educators Association of Virginia gave him their legislative award for “Outstanding Leadership in Advancing the Rights of Home-Educating Parents.” Rob has repeatedly patroned the bill to expand access for home school students who wish to participate in sports at their local high school (the “Tebow Bill”).
Rob has fought to protect the U.S. Constitution and to protect the constitutional rights of Virginia citizens. He believes that the U.S. Constitution is intended to protect the liberty of Americans by limiting the authority of the federal government to certain enumerated powers.
Rob was the co-author of the Virginia Property Rights Constitutional Amendment to prevent eminent domain abuse. This amendment is in response to the Supreme Court’s infamous Kelo v. City of New London decision, which allowed the government to take property and transfer it to another private individual. In 2012, Virginians endorsed the Amendment with 74% of the vote.
Rob has been repeatedly recognized for his work to defend both the U.S. Constitution and the Virginia Constitution:
- Virginia Property Rights Coalition – 2007 “Deepest Gratitude for (HB 2954) to the people of Virginia”
- Virginia Property Rights Coalition – 2008 “John C. Marshall Award”
- American Conservative Union – 2012 “Defender of Liberty Award”
With regards to the Second Amendment, Rob believes that it ensures the right of law-abiding citizens to own firearms for hunting, target shooting, self-defense, and other reasons. Rob is a gun owner, a concealed carry permit holder, an NRA member and a longtime member of the Rivanna Rifle & Pistol Club near his home in Charlottesville. His voting record has received an “A” score from the NRA.
Rob believes the best way to create jobs is to promote a business-friendly climate where private employers can thrive and grow. He opposes needless and expensive overregulation of Virginia companies, and which has earned support from the National Federation of Independent Businesses (NFIB) and the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. As a Delegate, Rob voted to eliminate the Virginia death tax so that farmers and small business owners can pass on their legacies to their children. He has voted to protect Virginia’s right-to-work law, which helps keep Virginia attractive to new employers. Rob also opposed “card check” proposals that would eliminate the secret ballot in union organizing.
He has received a 92% voting score from the NFIB for 2017 and was endorsed by the NFIB that year. In 2015, he also received the Chamber’s Excellence in Education and Workforce Training Award. He was named a Champion of Free Enterprise by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce in 2017. He received an “A” rating for his pro-business record in 2018.
In 2012, he received the Virginia Retail Merchants Association “Legislator of the Year” Award.
Rob and his wife Jessica live in Albemarle County. Their son Robbie attends VIA (the Virginia Institute for Autism) and their daughter Evie attends the local public school. Jessica is a former high school English teacher.
Rob supports educational excellence in public schools and giving parents choices. He has supported public charter schools, scholarships for disadvantaged children in underperforming schools, and he led the fight for the “Tebow Bill” that would give home schooled students additional options.
In addition, like any parents, the Bells understand the importance of student safety. In 2019, Rob worked with local school bus drivers to pass HB 2344, which will make it easier to prosecute drivers who illegally pass stopped school buses.
Rob has written new laws that:
• Require schools to establish bullying prevention programs (HB 2266 – 2005)
• Require schools to notify parents when a child is a victim of a crime at school (HB 2266 – 2005)
• Require additional background checks for school teachers (HB 1242 – 2008)
• Ban criminal sex offenders from school activities and school buses (HB 2066 – 2011)
• Address “cyberbullying” by treating threats sent by “texting” the same as threats made by phone (HB 2059 – 2011)
Rob is a committed supporter of homeschooling.
His mother, Mary Bell, homeschooled Rob’s brother and sister. She even testified before the Virginia General Assembly in support of Virginia’s first homeschooling law in 1984.
In 2004, Rob patroned a bill to expand Virginia’s homeschooling law to cover those parents without a college degree. Although it passed the House of Delegates and the Virginia Senate, Gov. Mark Warner vetoed the bill. In 2006, Rob was again able to successfully patron the bill through the House and the Senate. Gov. Tim Kaine signed HB1340 into law.
For this work, Rob received the “Outstanding Leadership in Advancing the Rights of Home-Educating Parents” award from the Home Educators Association of Virginia (HEAV).
Since 2009, Rob has repeatedly patroned bills to allow homeschool students to play sports at their local high schools. In 2016, this “Tebow Bill” passed the House and Senate, but was vetoed by Governor McAuliffe.
Rob also supports school choice for public school students. In 2012, he co-patroned House Bill 321 to create tax credits for scholarships for students to attend private schools and in 2016, Rob patroned House Joint Resolution 1, a Constitutional Amendment to make it easier to open public charter schools in Virginia. This Amendment failed by two votes.
Rob has worked for many years to improve mental healthcare in Virginia. He currently serves as vice-chair of the bipartisan “Deeds Commission“ which is focused on reforming mental health care.
In 2014, after a tragic suicide when a mental health bed was not found for a patient, Rob patroned HB 293, which created a “bed of last resort” at state hospitals to ensure that a bed is always available when a court has ordered treatment.
In 2016, he patroned HB 1110, which empowers families to present evidence directly to the special magistrate when dissatisfied with a commitment decision made by the clinician.
Also in 2016, he patroned HB 616, to require officials to offer advance medical forms to anyone involuntarily committed prior to release.
In 2018, he patroned HB 1604 to improve mental health education in high school health classes.
Also in 2018, at the request of a mother of a special needs child, he patroned HB 505 to allow VDOT to post signs warning drivers that a special needs individual lives nearby.
In 2019, he patroned HB 1942 to establish minimum standards for mental health care in Virginia jails and to coordinate jail-provided mental health services with community services after release.
Earlier, in response to the 2007 Virginia Tech shootings, Rob was chosen to lead a special House of Delegates subcommittee charged with reforming Virginia’s mental health commitment laws. In 2008, as a result of the subcommittee’s work, Virginia saw the most sweeping reforms of mental health commitment laws in 30 years.
These laws do the following:
- Require local community service boards to attend commitment hearings (HB 499 – 2008)
- Specify which agency from the community service board will follow the case if a commitment is authorized and report back to the court if the mentally ill person disobeys the court’s treatment orders (HB 499 – 2008)
- Revise commitment standard, replacing “imminent danger” with “substantial likelihood of serious bodily harm” (HB 559 – 2008)
- Allow records to be more easily shared among the agencies delivering services, including law enforcement (HB 576 – 2008)
- Require public universities to notify parents of students who are a danger to themselves or others (HB 1005 – 2008)
Bell has been recognized for his work. He was named the Virginia Academy of Family Physicians “Legislator of the Year” and the Psychiatric Society of Virginia’s “Delegate of the Year.”
Rob worked for five years as an assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney, prosecuting more than 100 cases of domestic abuse. As a delegate, Rob has fought for the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. His efforts include his recent work to improve safety for students at Virginia colleges. He has written laws to:
- Increase amounts available to victims for medical bills and funeral expenses under the Crime Injury Compensation Fund (HB 2773 – 2019)
- Require CPS investigation where child is left unsupervised with sex offender (HB 511 – 2018)
- Require that defendant pay court-ordered restitution to victims unless released by court (HB 484 – 2018)
- Prioritize payment of restitution to victims (HB 2328 – 2017)
- Increase penalties for violations of protective orders that involve stalking or bodily injury (HB 583 – 2016)
- Expand Virginia’s stalking law to empower victims to identify when conduct constitutes stalking (HB 752 — 2016)
- Require offenders listed on Virginia’s sex-offender registry to include work and college addresses (HB 628 – 2016)
- Require every college campus to report felony sexual assaults to the police or to a Commonwealth’s attorney and to provide services to victims (HB 1930 – 2015)
- Add violent misdemeanors to the Virginia DNA database (HB 1928 – 2015)
- Make it illegal to maliciously distribute or send a nude or sexual photograph – “revenge porn” (HB 326 – 2014)
- Impose a mandatory life sentence for those who rape children (HB 973 – 2012)
- Expand Virginia’s protective orders law (HB 2063 – 2011)
- Close loopholes that let child molesters avoid justice (HB 1333 – 2006)
- Increase penalties for those who secretly videotape children (HB 663 – 2004)
- Increase penalties for those who sexually abuse the mentally infirm or physically helpless (HB 660 – 2004)
Rob has been repeatedly recognized by for his work:
- Virginians Aligned Against Sexual Assault – 2002 “Vanguard Special Commendation”
- Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance – 2009 “Act, Honor, Hope” Award
- Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance – 2011 “Leadership in Legislation” Award
- Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance – 2011 “30 Voices for 30 Years” Honoree
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, human trafficking is the second fastest growing crime in the United States. Rob serves as vice chair of the Virginia State Crime Commission, and in 2018, the Commission studied what Virginia could do to combat this crime and produced a package of bills.
In 2019, Rob carried one of the bills, HB 2586, which will increase penalties on those who aid in the commission of child prostitution and allow them to be investigated by multi-jurisdictional 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.
In addition, Rob has patroned laws that:
- Increase penalties for those who place children into prostitution (HB 2040 –2015)
- Put offenders who hire child prostitutes on the sex offender registry (HB 235 –2014)
- Allow grand juries in multiple jurisdictions to investigate the same human trafficking cases because such crimes often stretch across city and county lines (HB 1870 – 2013)
Rob is a champion for our communities against crime. He has led an all-out assault against drunk driving and has fought to protect our families from sex offenders. Rob has served on the Virginia Crime Commission since 2003 and is currently chairman of the Criminal Laws Subcommittee in the House of Delegates. He has written new laws that:
- Mandate jail for drunks who drive with children in the car (SB 1019 Floor Amendment – 2003)
- Crack down on repeat drunk- driving offenders and “super-drunk” drivers (HB 676 – 2004, HB 667– 2004)
- Allow judges to require drunk drivers to repay the medical and funeral expenses of their victims (HB 2008 – 2003)
- Increase penalties for those who sexually abuse the mentally infirm or physically helpless and who secretly videotape children (HB 660 – 2004, HB 663 – 2004)
- Close loopholes that let child molesters avoid justice (HB 1333 – 2006)
- Stop physical violence against family members (HB 656 – 2004)
- Expand availability of protective orders (HB 2063 – 2011)
- Require life sentences for those who rape children (HB 973 – 2012)
- Apply truth in sentencing for child pornographers with multiple convictions (HB2269 – 2013)
- Increase penalties for those who place children into prostitution (HB 2040 – 2015) and places those who purchase services from a child prostitute on the sex offender registry (HB 235 – 2014)
- Allow courts to enter orders for service dogs to accompany witnesses in criminal trials. (HB 482 – 2018)
- Require all child pornography found during a criminal investigation to be included in the Child Pornography Registry (HB 1940 – 2019)
- Increase penalties for drunk drivers who cause serious bodily injuries to their victims. (HB1941 – 2019)
- Ensure and confirm collection of fingerprints from all felony and certain misdemeanor offenders (HB 2343 – 2019)
Rob Bell is the son of a career naval officer, and moved all around the country while growing up. (His father retired after 28 years and lives in Virginia.) Rob knows the importance of supporting servicemen and women and their families, especially during long deployments. During his time in the General Assembly, Rob has voted in favor of legislation that helps veterans, members of the military, and their families. A few of the bills include:
- providing for the Department of Veterans Services to develop a comprehensive plan to reduce unemployment (HB1906 – 2013)
- increasing the number of claim agents with the Department of Veterans Services (HB 1121 – 2012)
- requiring the regulatory boards within specific departments to accept substantially equivalent military training and education of a service member returning from active service as qualifications for licensure (HB 938 – 2012)
- waiving the one-year residency requirement for eligibility for in-state tuition for veterans in Virginia (HB 1861 – 2011)
- a Constitutional Amendment providing for a property tax exemption for veterans who have a 100 percent, service-related disability (HJ 33 – 2010)
“In the Fall of 2011, I wrote you regarding Virginia’s failure to award Military Veteran and Disabled Veteran Hiring Preference as required by Virginia law. I sent similar letters to all members of the General Assembly who voted for the original legislation. You were one of the few who took an interest and took action.
Through your efforts, D.H.R.M. amended the Veterans Hiring Policy requiring State Agencies award these hiring preferences. In addition, The Dept. of Alcoholic Beverage Control corrected their online application in the Spring of 2012 to allow applicants the opportunity to claim their status as a disabled veteran.
These changes will assist veterans in their return to civilian employment. Thank you for your efforts.”
-John Hughes, Williamsburg, VA
Published on November 6, 2011
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