May 12, 2021 – 6:00 pm to 6:55 pm (ET)
This aircast was focused on the recent activities of House General Laws committee. A recording of this livestream is also archived in the Virginia onAir YouTube channel. The links below will open the YouTube video as a new tab and start at the designated time.
00:00 Jordan Toledo, Aircast Curator, introduces aircast
0:39 Jordan Toledo introduces Delegate David Bulova, Chair of the Virginia House of Delegates General Laws Committee
1:35 David Bulova explains what the General Laws Committee does
7:23 Delegate Betsy Carr, Chair of the Open Government/Procurement Subcommittee, discusses her committee’s activities
11:25 Delegate Chris Hurst, Chair of the Professions/Occupations and Administrative Process Subcommittee discusses his committee’s activitie
19:10 What happens when General Assembly is not in session
24:51 Megan Rhyne, Executive Director, Virginia Council for Open Government … Question for all 3 delegates …What can be done to cut down on the number of bills that are left in committee without receiving a hearing?
31:45 Nanayaa Obeng, Senior Global Politics major at GMU and Democracy onAir intern … Question for David Bulova … How have the universities addressed HB 1529 promoting greater transparency for donations?
35:15 Todd Gillette, Democracy onAir Chair with a PhD from GMU … Question for Betsy Carr and Chris Hurst …. What are your views on the Freedom of Information Act bills passed this year, HB 1931, expanding the use of virtual meetings, and HB 2004, expanding the required release of certain information related to criminal investigations? Also, are there related issues you would like to address in 2022?
45:07 Dr. Meredith Cary, Virginia resident and one of Delegate Bulova’s constituents … A “thank you” addressed to all delegates … As a licensed psychologist in Virginia, I would like to voice appreciation for the State’s being at the forefront for taking legislation action (April 2020) to extend telepsychology services to non-Virginia licensed psychologists for telehealth.
50:40 Short demo of how to find information about the General Laws Committee and the Delegates
For more information:General Laws Committee Post
Jordan Toledo, VA onAir Curator – email@example.com
Delegate David Bulova, Chair, General Laws Committee – DelDBulova@house.virginia.gov
Delegate Betsy Carr, Chair, Open Government/Procurement Subcommittee
Delegate Chris Hurst, Chair, Professions/Occupations and Administrative Process Subcommittee
Shuaib Ahmed, Democracy onAir – firstname.lastname@example.org
Lead Sponsor: US onAir Network
Virginia onAir YouTube Channel – May 12, 2021 (05:42)
Bulova newsletter, – February 27, 2021
Yes, Virginia, we have a budget!
This year I was thrilled to be appointed again by the Speaker as a conferee to work out differences between the House and Senate budgets. This evening, we adopted the final report. I believe it is a budget Virginians can be proud of.
While individual bills often get the most attention, the budget is arguably the most important reflection of our values. This year’s budget process has been a roller coaster ride. After adopting an initial budget in March 2020, we had to cut $2.8 billion as a result of a COVID-driven revenue shortfall. Going into session, we anticipated a revenue rebound of $1.2 billion. Finally, a mid-session re-forecast provided an additional $730 million. That rebound was great news – but it still means we have about a billion dollars less in revenue from just a year ago.
Here are just a few of the budget highlights:
- Income Tax Relief – $221M revenue reduction in order to fund income tax relief to individuals and businesses related to conformity with the federal CARES Act.
- State Employee Pay Raises – 5% pay raise for state employees beginning July 1, 2021.
- Virginia Retirement System – $100M deposit to the VRS to reduce unfunded liabilities. This is a key investment that will help to stabilize the system for the long-term.
- PreK-12 Education – $443M to hold public school funding steady from the original 2020 appropriation; $40M for schools to address COVID-related learning loss; and, $76M to support increases in school counselors, social workers, psychologists, and behavioral analysts.
- Teacher Pay Raises – State share of 5% pay raises for teachers. The Governor originally proposed a 2% bonus.
- Preschool – $11.1M for increased investment in the Virginia Preschool Initiative.
- Northern Virginia Cost-to-Compete – $14.6M more in supplemental funding to Northern Virginia in recognition of the higher cost of living for our region.
- Higher Education – $149M to our institutions of higher learning to maintain affordable access through tuition stabilization and need-based financial assistance.
- Human Resources – $173M in new spending for human resources, with a focus on long-term care, maternal and child health, and behavioral and developmental services. This includes $14.2M to add 435 Developmental Disability waiver slots in FY22, bringing the total for FY22 to 985 slots.
- Vaccinations – $89M for mass vaccination efforts to maximize new federal dollars.
- Water Quality – An additional $155M to meet our Chesapeake Bay restoration targets, including investments in wastewater treatment, stormwater management, and agricultural best management practices.
- Broadband – Additional funding of $99M for broadband deployment in unserved areas.
- Virginia Employment Commission – $10M to increase customer service levels and $5M to finish modernizing VEC’s IT systems to enable more efficient service delivery.
- Voter Registration – $16.7M to replace and strengthen the state’s voter registration system.
- Transportation – $83.5M to improve commuter rail service on the VRE Manassas Line and $32.4M to support and stabilize Metro.
- Reserves – An additional $250M to the Revenue Reserve Fund. This brings combined balances in reserves to $2.16 billion, or about 9% of general fund revenues.
That last bullet deserves additional comment. Something we are proud of in Virginia is that we have maintained a AAA bond rating since 1938 – longer than any other state. This saves Virginia considerable amounts of money and reflects a commitment to keeping our budget structurally sound. While states are currently the beneficiaries of large amounts of federal assistance, it would be irresponsible to think that this will continue in perpetuity. Building up our reserves will ensure that Virginia can successfully transition once federal COVID-19 funding goes away.
Like most members, I introduced my own budget amendments and was pleased to see many of them incorporated into the final budget. These included funding for Northern Virginia Family Services, Brain Injury Services, Chesapeake Bay restoration, the Virginia International Trade Plan, Virginia Tech Cooperative Extension, and our regional planning district commissions.
Few issues have garnered more constituent communication than SB1303, which deals with bringing our children back into the classroom. This is a personal issue for my family as well, as our 12 year old attempts to navigate his first year of middle school. While he is continuing to learn, and his teachers have done an amazing job, the learning loss is definitely real.
When SB1303 came over from the Senate, it simply mandated in-person learning. What came out of the House, and was eventually passed by the Senate, takes us to full in-person learning, but has guardrails to ensure safety. This includes incorporating CDC and VDH guidelines to the maximum extent practical and the ability of a school board to move specific schools back to virtual learning based on transmission metrics. Importantly, the bill allows parents to choose a virtual approach for their students based on family situations. All teachers must be offered the vaccine prior to in-person learning (which is occurring now under Phase 1b) and the bill maintains the current process for teachers to work virtually through a reasonable ADA accommodation.
The bill passed with a strong bi-partisan vote of 88Y-9N in the House and 36Y-3N in the Senate. I voted aye.
Standards of Learning
The dreaded SOL tests! It is a topic of much consternation when I speak with parents, students, and teachers alike. The Code of Virginia simply establishes that there will be SOL assessments, the purpose of which is to ensure that educational progress can be compared across Virginia. That is a laudable goal. Unfortunately, many of these tests have turned into high-stakes end-of-the-year tests that can promote rote memorization over critical thinking and applying what has been learned to the real world.
This year we passed changes to the SOL assessments that I am genuinely excited about. HB2027 replaces end-of-the-year tests with a through-assessment model where students take a series of three lower stakes tests throughout the year. That way teachers have a better sense of where a student is starting out, can make mid-year adjustments, and then see how the student has progressed at the end of the year. While the bill applies only to SOL tests from grades three through eight, if it is successful, it could be applied to all levels.
– February 1, 2021 (Long)
The more streamlined permit by rule process has incentivized most of these developers to keep their solar farms under 150 megawatts, leaving only the largest proposals in the SCC’s hands. Ken Schrad, director of the SCC’s Division of Information Resources, said the commission has only heard three applications for solar projects, with the most significant being sPower’s 500 megawatt Spotsylvania farm, touted at the time of its proposal as the biggest one east of the Rocky Mountains.
Webert has contended that more ought to be placed in the commission’s hands: “With the SCC, it’s basically a formal legal proceeding where there’s a cross-examination because the SCC commissioners are actually judges,” he said during one hearing on his proposal. “So you can push for additional mitigation and other things.”
But at a later hearing on Jan. 27, Del. David Bulova, D-Fairfax, questioned whether a tightening of the permit by rule program’s size limits would solve the problem, saying “this is not the way to go ahead and deal with that concern.”
– February 2, 2021 (Long)
Del. Israel O’Quinn, R-Washington, is carrying a bill of his own to set up an empty fund to support school construction needs. He just needs his colleagues working on the budget to put money into it.
After the recession, spending on school construction and other areas in Virginia dropped. Before 2009, a few sources of state funding were available to help with capital costs. For example, a school construction grant fund boasted an annual budget of $28 million, offering districts an average of $202,000 a year.
Localities shoulder the burden of building schools. The poorest local governments already have the least amount in their budgets to go toward school infrastructure needs, so the schools get worse.
Del. David Bulova, D-Fairfax, voted against O’Quinn’s bill in committee, questioning where the money would come from and whether the legislature could come up with enough to meaningfully tackle the problem.
“We’re potentially shifting what has long been a local responsibility to the state having a share of that,” Bulova said.
– January 27, 2021 (Medium)
In support of the bill, Del. Elizabeth Guzman, D-Woodbridge, responded to Davis’s stance and said: “Some statements were made here that if we diversify the admission process that it’s going to lower the bar of those schools. I don’t think that’s accurate, and it actually sounded very offensive.”
Del. David Bulova, D-Fairfax Station, also supported HB 2305. He explained how the bill would require guidelines, not regulations. Guidelines would give the Board of Education a chance to put together the best practices for diversity and inclusion, as opposed to state-mandated regulations, which are harder for opposers to support.
Voting for the bill were Bulova, Guzman, Del. Suhas Subramanyam, D-Sterling; Del. Schuyler VanValkenburg, D-Henrico; and Del. Shelly Simonds, D-Newport News. Opposed were Davis, Del. Roxann Robinson, R-Chesterfield, and Del. Bill Wiley, R-Winchester.
February 10, 2021 (Medium)
Agency 229 provides funding to Virginia Cooperative Extension and the Virginia Agricultural Experiment Station. Through these entities, the agency supports scientists and other specialists who conduct innovative agricultural research at the VAES and its 11 Agricultural Research Extension Centers. Data collected from that research is disseminated to Extension agents, who then share the information with farmers and agricultural businesses.
Throughout the 2021 Virginia General Assembly, Virginia Farm Bureau Federation has advocated for increased Agency 229 funding through a state budget amendment.
The proposal has gained bipartisan support from Del. David L. Bulova, D-Fairfax, and Sen. Emmett W. Hanger Jr., R-Mount Solon.
Patch, – April 14, 2021 (Medium)
The deadline in Fairfax County for requesting an application to vote by mail is 5 p.m., on Friday, May 28. Applications received after April 23 and before the deadline will be sent out as they are received.
Voters will need to return their mail-in ballots by 7 p.m., on June 8. They can either drop them off in person or by mail by the June 8 deadline.
All in-person voters and those dropping off ballots are required to follow CDC COVID-19 guidance by wearing a mask or face covering and practicing safe social distancing.
Incumbent David Bulova (D-37), who represents the Fairfax City area in the Virginia House of Delegates, does not have a challenger in the Democratic Primary, so he will not be on the June 8 ballot.
Current Position: State Delegate for District 37 since 2006
David Bulova was first elected Delegate for the 37th District in 2005. The 37th District includes the city of Fairfax and parts of Fairfax County.
Delegate Bulova serves as Chair of the General Laws Committee and Chair of the Commerce, Agriculture, and Natural Resources Subcommittee in the Appropriations Committee. Additionally, he serves as a member of the Education Committee, Agriculture Chesapeake and Natural Resources and Appropriations Committee.
The interview below was conducted by Tim O’Shea in David Bulova’s Fairfax City office in July, 2019. Original interview recording has not been edited in any way.
Source: Campaign page
David Bulova and his family live in the Middleridge community of Fairfax. David and his wife Gretchen met while attending Robinson Secondary and have been married for 23 years. They have three wonderful children, Alex, Josette, and Grayson. David and Gretchen are proud of their hometown. They want to raise their children to have the same opportunities and with the same community-focused values they had growing up here.
Both David and Gretchen grew up in Fairfax. David received a BA from the College of William and Mary, a Master’s in Public Administration and Policy from Virginia Tech, and is a graduate of the Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership at the University of Virginia.
Professionally, David is a Project Manager at Amec Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure, Inc. and works to help governments and industry comply with state and federal environmental regulations.
David was first elected to the General Assembly in November 2005. He currently serves on the General Laws, Education, and Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources committees. He is a member of the State Water Commission, Chesapeake Bay Commission, Housing Commission, the Joint Commission on Health Care, and the Virginia War Memorial Board. He serves as Governor McAuliffe’s appointee to the Legislative Advisory Council to the Southern Region Education Board and the Legislative Advisory Board to the Virginia Water Resources Research Center, and was Governor Kaine’s appointee to the Commission on Climate Change. From 2003 to 2005, David was an elected representative on the Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District Board.
David is passionate about community service. He is currently on the Board of Trustees of Brain Injury Services, which provides support to survivors of brain injuries and their families, the Board of the City of Fairfax Band, and the Board of Advisors for the William and Mary Public Policy Program. His is also an honorary member of the Rotary Club of Centreville-Chantilly. Other community service includes: former coach with Fairfax Little League and Burke Athletic Club soccer; former member and treasurer of the Rotary Club of Annandale (1999-2002); former member of the Fairfax County Tree Commission (2004-2005); and, former Governor’s appointee to the Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Board.
- Project Manager/Environmental Planner
Amec Foster Wheeler Environment & Infrastructure, Inc.
2004 to present
- Board of Directors
Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District
2006 to present
- B.A., Government
The College of William and Mary
1991 to present
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
1996 to present
- Citation of Merit for Outstanding Citizen Service, Fairfax Federation of Citizen Associations (2002)
- Watershed Connections Award and Legislator of the Year (2005)
- Friends of Trees Award, Fairfax County Tree Commission (2008)
- Legislator of the Year, Virginia Professional Firefighters (2009)
- Legislative Achievement Award, Virginia Emergency Management Association (2010)
- Legislator of the Year, American Council of Engineering Companies of Virginia (2011)
- Brownson Award, Virginia Association of Museums (2014)
- Legislator of the Year, Commissioners of the Revenue Association of Virginia (2015)
- Michael S. Harris Award, American Association of University Professors (2015)
- Industrial Strength Leadership Award, Virginia Manufacturing Association (2017)
- Excellence in Workforce Development Award, Virginia Chamber of Commerce (2017)
Birth Year: 1969
Place of Birth: Fairfax, VA
Religion: Roman Catholic
Spouse: Gretchen Marie Reimer
Children: Alex, Josette, and Grayson
Membership & Affiliation
- St. Mary’s of Sorrows Catholic Church
- Brain Injury Services (board of trustees)
- Chesapeake Bay Local Assistance Board (former member)
- Rotary of Centreville (honorary member)
- City of Fairfax Band (board member)
- William and Mary Public Policy Program (board of advisors)
- Sorensen Institute Political Leaders Program
Legislative Assistant: Rama Van Pelt
Administrative Assistant During Session: Mary Ann Christian
900 E. Main St,
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Phone: (804) 698-1037
9900 Main St. Plaza 102
Fairfax, VA 22031
Phone: (703) 310-6752
Elected State/Local Office: Northern Virginia Soil and Water Conservation District (board of directors, 2004-06)
2019 State Delegate
|David L. Bulova (D)||14,279||91.89%|
2017 State Delegate
|David L. Bulova (D)||18,877||93.53%|
|Write In (Write-in)||1,305||6.47%|
2015 State Delegate
|David L. Bulova (D)||7,065||57.3%|
|Sang Hyun Yi (R)||5,249||42.6%|
|Write In (Write-in)||9||.1%|
2013 State Delegate
|David L. Bulova (D)||11,526||60.9%|
|Patrice Marie Winter (R)||7,353||38.9%|
|Write In (Write-in)||39||.2%|
2011 State Delegate
|David L. Bulova (D)||7,021||59.5%|
|Brian William Schoeneman (R)||4,752||40.3%|
|Write In (Write-in)||19||.2%|
2009 State Delegate
|David L. Bulova (D)||12,209||67.6%|
|Christopher Francis DeCarlo ()||4,471||24.7%|
|Anna M. Choi ()||1,245||6.9%|
|Write In (Write-in)||147||0.8%|
2007 State Delegate
|David L. Bulova (D)||13,647||98.1%|
|Write In (Write-in)||269||1.9%|
David Bulova has run in 7 races for public office, winning 7 of them. The candidate has raised a total of $1,537,598.
Source: Follow the Money
Agricultural Best Management Practices
Chesapeake Bay Commission
Health Care, Joint Commission on
House Agriculture Chesapeake and Natural Resources
House General Laws
Standards of Learning Innovation Committee
Virginia Housing Commission
War Memorial Board, Virginia
Water Commission, State
See: Vote Smart
As your voice in the Virginia House of Delegates, I believe it is important for you to know where I stand on the issues affecting our community. Even more, I believe that action speaks louder than words. Please see below for my priorities and the legislation that I have introduced or supported to turn these priorities into reality.
Ethics Reform/Open and Accountable Government
In 2015, I introduced aggressive legislation (HB1667) on ethics reform, including a hard cap of $100 per year on all gifts. My bill was rolled into HB2070, which was signed by the Governor. While I will continue to press for stronger legislation, this effort moves Virginia in the right direction.
As your voice in Richmond, I am accountable to you for my votes and strive to make government more open and accessible. Open and accountable government starts right here at home. Each year I hold a town hall meeting during session, mail constituents a Report from Richmond to summarize issues tackled by the General Assembly, conduct a Constituent Survey, and host a series of “informal office hours” where residents can stop by to chat and provide feedback on community issues. Each spring I also send a letter to all community/civic association presidents offering to speak at meetings and attend community events.
Finally, I believe that voters should choose their representatives – not the other way around. Our current system of redistricting results in too many non-competitive districts that are drawn for political purposes. I have supported numerous efforts to establish a non-partisan Virginia Advisory Redistricting Commission. While these measures failed, I will continue to be a strong advocate for this very important electoral reform.
The General Assembly has an obligation to use your tax dollars wisely and efficiently. Virginia has a AAA bond rating because of our reputation for fiscal responsibility. It is critical for Virginia to continue this tradition. I am proud that Virginia’s Constitution requires a balanced budget and that the General Assembly has worked together in a bi-partisan manner to do this in a fiscally responsible manner.
As a member of the House of Delegates, I have supported several initiatives to streamline the delivery of services. In 2010, I spearheaded successful legislation (HB208) that eliminated a half-dozen outdated or redundant school reporting requirements to ensure that funding goes where it belongs — in our classrooms. In 2011, I voted for successful legislation that established the state-wide Office of the Inspector General (HB2076) to investigate allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse. In 2012, I supported and was appointed to the conference committee for HB1295, which eliminated several outdated mandates on local government and regional government entities. Also in 2012, I sponsored successful legislation (HB1164) that eliminated redundant review of many local road projects — a practice that had resulted in significant delays of much needed local improvements.
As our community relies more and more on electronically stored data, the opportunity for personal information to reach the wrong hands also increases. Identity theft can have a devastating impact on both individuals and families, and Virginia must vigorously pursue and prosecute anyone who steals or misuses personal information.
That is why I spearheaded amendments to the Personal Information Privacy Act to curtail the practice of drivers license swiping by retailers (HB1072). I also worked with the Secretary of Technology to introduce HB390 the “Compromised Data Disclosure Act” during the 2008 General Assembly Session. My bill was ultimately rolled into HB1469, which was signed by the Governor. As a result, any time personal information is accessed by an unauthorized person, the keeper of the information, whether business or government, must notify the individual and the Office of the Attorney General that a breach has occurred. I was also proud to support legislation to allow any consumer to freeze access to his or her credit report (HB 1311) to ensure that the information cannot be accessed without the consumer’s explicit authorization.
Finally, I introduced successful legislation in 2010 (HB 210) to strengthen Virginia’s extortion statute and to close a dangerous loop-hole that would have allowed someone to threaten to sell personal information for financial gain.
While I am pleased with the progress we have made to protect our citizens from identity theft, much work remains to be done. Sensitive personal information can still be obtained all too easily, including from publicly available land records and legal proceedings. Protecting our citizens from identity theft will continue to be one of my top priorities.
We are all consumers and deserve to be protected from unscrupulous and predatory business practices. Bad businesses also make it harder for good businesses to compete. As former chairman of the Fairfax County Consumer Protection Commission, I have introduced a number of bills aimed at enhancing consumer protection in Virginia. In 2012, I introduced legislation (HB429) to provide consumers with more tools to prevent the practice of “cramming” on telephone bills. Cramming is the practice of placing misleading or deceptive charges on your telephone bill without authorization. Often, these are small charges with generic names in the hope that they won’t be noticed. Since introduction, federal regulations were passed that achieved the goals of my proposed legislation. In 2014, I introduced successful legislation (HB1072, the Personal Information Privacy Act) to make it illegal for a business to scan a driver’s license and to keep the information for marketing or other purposes not related to the immediate transaction. Currently, I am working to better regulate predatory car title lenders and introduced HB1620 at the request of the Governor.
While there are signs of improvement, much more needs to be done to reduce unemployment and spark economic growth. This requires investing in our transportation infrastructure and education, fostering an environment that rewards creativity and innovation, and reducing regulatory burdens to starting and running a business. In particular, Virginia needs to increase investments in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) and our community college system. We also need to reform and streamline our tax system while ensuring that sufficient revenue is generated at the state and local levels to provide needed services. I was a co-patron of the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Act (HB834) and supported the formation of the Virginia International Trade Corporation (HB858). In 2017, I was proud to receive the Excellence in Education and Workforce Development Award from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce for my efforts in career and technical education.
As the proud parent of three children who attend Fairfax County Public Schools, I know first hand the importance of quality public education. As a member of the Education Reform Subcommittee, I have worked closely on efforts to reform our Standards of Learning and was a co-patron of legislation creating the Standards of Learning Reform Committee. I was proud to accept the Virginia Education Association’s “Solid as a Rock for Public Education Award” for my efforts on the House Education Committee in 2017. Over the years, I have introduced successful legislation to promote career and technical education opportunities (HB1552) and strengthen the process for dealing with teachers accused of sexually assaulting a student. I have also co-sponsored legislation (HB 1871) to enhance efforts to fight bullying in our schools.
As your delegate, my priorities include:
- Keep class size low in order to maximize the ability of teachers to provide individualized attention to students.
- Retain and recruit highly qualified teachers and support staff.
- Provide students with modern educational facilities that maximize the use of technology.
- Promote parental involvement in our schools as a key component to learning.
- Continually look for opportunities to streamline operations and assess the effectiveness of existing programs.
- Revise the State’s Composite Index so that our schools get a fair share of funding. Fairfax County currently received only 32% of its base-funding from the State, while the City of Fairfax only receives 20%.
Whether you are concerned about the impacts of climate change or the threat to national security posed by our dependence on foreign energy sources, sustainable energy is one of our nation’s greatest challenges. In 2015, I introduced legislation to create a Virginia Solar Energy Development Authority (HB1725) and was chief co-patron of the final adopted legislation (HB2267). This initiative will ensure that Virginia can take advantage of growth in this industry by unleashing the power of small businesses that are on the forefront of this technology. In 2011, I introduced successful legislation that will position Virginia to be a leader in the area of electric plug-in vehicles by eliminating regulatory hurdles that would stifle entrepreneurialism (HB2105). In 2009, I also successfully passed HB1994 to increase Virginia’s renewable energy goal to 15% by the year 2025.
I will continue to work hard to reduce our reliance on fossil fuels while keeping energy affordable. My priorities include:
- Invest in clean, renewable sources of energy. Virginia has enormous potential to be a leader in renewable energy. This is good for the environment and our economy. I support: harnessing our tremendous off-shore wind resources; providing incentives for the production of biofuels that do not compete with our food supply; increasing our investment in research at our universities; and, other innovative approaches, such as harvesting methane from landfills and agricultural operations.
- Empower residents to conserve energy. This is win-win for the environment and the consumer. I support: expanding smart meters so that consumers have better information about their energy consumption; exploring public-private partnerships to retrofit existing buildings; assisting low income families with weatherization; and, providing tax incentives to encourage investment in solar and wind power.
- Encourage more efficient cars and reduce our reliance on the automobile. Automobiles account for more than a third of our greenhouse gas emissions. Nationally, we must continue to increase fuel efficiency standards. Here in Virginia, we need to encourage land use patterns that promote walking and biking and take advantage of public transit.
Virginia is blessed with an abundance of natural resources. As an environmental planner by profession, I consider it a special responsibility to fight for the environment in the General Assembly. I am proud to have been designated as a Legislative “Hero” or “Leader” by the Virginia League of Conservation Voters for the past ten years.
As your delegate, I have successfully spearheaded legislation to:
- better coordinate drinking water supply planning and permitting (HB1158);
- require the leak-plagues Pickett Road Tank Farm in the City of Fairfax to bring their above ground storage tanks into conformance with modern industry standards (HB2103);
- strengthen solid waste planning in Virginia (HB421);
- better protect our Potomac River water supply during drought conditions (HB2487); and,
- increase the penalties that local governments can use against developers that violate our water quality regulations (HB 392).
I also successfully fought for new legislation to help local governments in Northern Virginia preserve mature trees during development (HB1437). Mature trees not only increase property values and beautify our neighborhoods, they also help to clean the air. In recognition of this achievement, I was proud to accept the 2008 Fairfax County Friends of Trees Award.
Land Use and Growth
No amount of transportation funding can overcome poor land use planning and growth that exceeds our capacity to serve it with public infrastructure. My priorities are to strengthen the ability of our local governments to manage growth responsibility and to strengthen regional coordination of land use planning. In 2013, I introduced successful legislation (HB 2326) that provides our regional planning agency, the Northern Virginia Regional Commission, with the authority to develop a regional strategic plan to help better coordinate growth and regional service delivery.
Today, approximately one million Virginians lack health insurance, which means that our emergency rooms provide the primary source of health care for many of these individuals. As a result, the financial burden of this care is shifted mainly to those with private insurance in the form of higher premiums. Under the federal health care law, Virginia has the option of expanding Medicaid coverage to those with income under 133% of the federal poverty level, which represents more than 300,000 people. For the first three years of the program, the federal government will pay 100% of the cost. The federal share will then be slowly reduced to 90%. This is expected to save Virginia significant money by making the system more efficient and ensuring that more people get preventative health care. This is one of the reasons why expansion is supported by the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce. In 2014, I supported a bi-partisan plan to put Virginia on a path for Medicaid expansion and make sure that Virginia doesn’t leave $5 million per day on the table that could go to the improving the health of our citizens.
As a member of the General Assembly’s Joint Commission on Health Care, I have worked closely with Secretary of Health and Human Resources Bill Hazel on a wide range of health care and mental health issues. These include:
- Mental health reform. In the wake of the Virginia Tech tragedy, the General Assembly made important reforms to our mental health laws and increased the resources available to courts and case managers. We need to continue to refine these reforms and ensure that funding is not cut to these critical services.
- Autism spectrum disorder. I co-patroned the successful effort to require health insurers to provide coverage for the diagnosis and treatment of autism spectrum disorder. The benefits of early intervention are enormous, not only to the child, but also in terms of the long-term cost savings to the state. No family should be put in the position of having to decide if they can afford appropriate treatment.
- Smoking in restaurants ban. As a member of the General Laws Committee, I helped to pass the landmark legislation in 2009 that protects both the health of customers and workers by significantly limiting smoking in restaurants.
Traffic congestion threatens our economy and our quality of life. As the parent of three children, I know the frustration of being late for that important recital or evening sports practice. I have consistently supported common-sense measures to provide much needed transportation funding for the Northern Virginia region. In 2013, I supported the comprehensive transportation package that passed the General Assembly on a bi-partisan basis. This package resulted in substantial new revenue that is going toward our region’s most pressing and aggravating problems. In 2016, I introduced several pieces of legislation regarding the Governor’s plan to toll I-66 inside and outside of the Beltway. I successfully passed HB407 to ensure that HOV-2 could not be converted to HOV-3 for the purpose of tolling. I was also part of a group of legislators that brokered a deal to widen I-66 inside the Beltway from the Dulles Connector to Ballston.
In addition, I will continue to advocate for changes in the way that transportation funding is distributed to make it more equitable for Northern Virginia. I spearheaded efforts to change the transportation maintenance formula (HBs 389, 6011, 1993, 1491, and 477) and in 2013 co-patroned legislation to provide Northern Virginia with more representation on the Commonwealth Transportation Board (HB864). Getting our fair share will continue to be one of my top priorities.
Additional priorities include:
- Increase our investment in transportation technology, including telework, “smart highways,” and better synchronization of our traffic lights.
- Help get people out of their cars by making strategic investments in bike paths and walking trails.
- Expand Metro to Centreville and beyond and adequately fund both Metro and the Virginia Railway Express.
As the son and grandson of veterans, I am thankful for the sacrifices our veterans make to protect our freedoms. In 2015, I was a proud co-patron of successful legislation authorizing a Northern Virginia Veterans Care Center (HB1276). I have been proud to support Virginia’s Wounded Warriors Program as both a member of the House of Delegates and as a Board Member of Brain Injury Services, Inc. During the 2011 session, I had the honor to serve as chief co-patron of successful legislation (HB1691) designed to help veterans who have fallen on tough times. Based on successful programs in New York and Pennsylvania, the legislation allows local courts to establish special dockets for veterans and active military service members who suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder or traumatic brain injury and run into trouble with the law. According to a 2008 RAND Corporation study, nearly 20 percent of our service men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder. Many more suffer from traumatic brain injury – both diagnosed and undiagnosed. Fewer than half of these individuals actually seek treatment for PTSD or depression. Unfortunately, while trying to recover, some of these veterans fall into drug and alcohol abuse or commit minor crimes and end up in the criminal justice system. It is during these trying times that our veterans need our assistance the most. The premise behind HB1691 is to provide alternatives to incarceration when possible and to ensure that judges are aware of the rehabilitative programs offered by state and federal agencies as well as local veterans organizations. I was proud to work with the Joint Leadership Council of Veterans Service Organizations, which represents over two dozen veteran service organizations in Virginia, on this effort.
All Virginians deserve safe, decent, affordable housing. To achieve that goal, I have supported increased funding for the Virginia Housing Trust Fund, a flexible loan and grant resource that addresses a range of local housing needs from homelessness to homeownership. I also passed legislation to provide the City of Fairfax additional authority to negotiate with developers to provide affordable housing (HB1471). Finally, I support ensuring adequate funding to provide permanent and supportive homes for individuals with serious mental illness and other disabilities.