Current Position: Virginia House of Delegates, District 37 from 2006
Other Positions: Project Manager, WSP
Candidate: House District 11
David Bulova was first elected Delegate for the 37th District in 2005. The 37th District included the city of Fairfax and parts of Fairfax County. Delegate Bulova is running for re-election in the new District 11 which includes the city of Fairfax and parts of Fairfax County.
Delegate Bulova serves as ranking member of the General Laws Committee and 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.
Campaign site, – September 14, 2023
Visit Who’s My Legislator to find out how redistricting affected your community.
The primary disagreement between the House and Senate (and Governor) revolved around tax policy. The final budget includes:
- Rebates. One-time rebates of $200 for single filers and $400 for joint filers, totaling approximately $906M
- Standard Deduction. Increases the standard deduction to $8,500 for single filers and $17,000 for joint filers. The current deduction is $8,000/$16,000.
- Military Retirement. In 2022, the General Assembly passed a bill to exempt up to $40,000 in military retirement benefits from the income tax for individuals over age 55. The budget removes the minimum age provision.
- Sales Tax Holiday. Reinstates the sales tax holiday for school supplies, emergency preparedness products items, and Energy Star and WaterSense products. The tax holiday will be held the third weekend in October.
Not included in the budget were the Governor’s proposals to decrease the corporate income tax rate from 6% to 5% and to cut the top individual income tax rate from 5.75% to 5.5%.
In terms of expenditures, the adopted budget takes a cautious view of the fiscal environment and assumes that revenue growth will likely slow. As a result, the focus is on one-time initiatives over increasing ongoing programs or creating new programs. Approximately $3.5B is directed toward non-recurring activities while $1.1 billion goes toward ongoing programs. I think this is a prudent approach.
- Economic Development. $200M for the Business Ready Sites Program. This program is a key component of Virginia’s economic development strategy by identifying potential industrial sites and assisting with site preparation and development.
- Direct Aid for Schools. $908M increase for the state’s share of school funding.
- Teacher Salaries. $55M for an additional 2% salary increase for teachers effective January 2024 (this is on top of an already approved 5% increase).
- School Support Positions. $153M to temporarily lift the cap on funding for school support positions. Support staff include maintenance workers/custodians, food service staff, technology support, etc. The cap was put in place in response to the 2008 Great Recession and was never lifted. This had the impact of shifting the entire cost burden to Fairfax County Public Schools. Making this provision permanent will be a big focus of the 2024 General Assembly (and one of my top priorities).
- Flexible Education Funding. $418M in one-time flexible funding. School systems are encouraged to use the funding to address COVID-19 learning loss.
- Higher Education Affordability. $137M to increase access and affordability of higher education, including $63M in undergraduate financial aid.
- Workforce Development. $8.4M to the community college system for workforce development and career and technical education programs.
- Developmental Disability Waivers. $10.5M to add an additional 500 DD waiver slots. DD waivers are essential for providing children and adults with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities with a wide range of critical support services.
- Mental Health Services. $156M in new spending to support mental health services, including $58M to create crisis receiving centers and crisis stabilization units and $34M permanent supportive housing for individuals with serious mental illness.
- Community Services Boards. $22M to partially fill a long-standing funding gap for local community services. The Fairfax-Falls Church CSB provides essential services to individuals with mental illness, substance abuse disorders, and developmental disabilities.
- Crime Prevention. Funding for crime prevention, including $15M for Operation Ceasefire, $5M for the Firearm Violence Intervention and Prevention Program, and $10M for the Safer Communities Program.
- Water Quality Improvement Fund. $645M for water quality projects, including $30M for the Stormwater Local Assistance Fund (one of my budget requests).
- Climate Change Resilience. $100M for the Resilient Virginia Revolving Loan Fund. This funds my legislation from last year and helps localities and private businesses to prepare for the impacts of climate change.
- State Employee Raise. $61M to provide most state employees, including university employees) an additional 2% raise effective December 2023 (this is on top of an already approved 5% increase).
Another useful piece of information is how much additional funding will be provided to Fairfax County Public Schools. Direct aid to Fairfax County will go from $959,115,532 in FY23 to $1,006,832,068 in FY24. Direct aid to the City of Fairfax will go from $11,066,754 in FY23 to 11,517,141 in FY24.
Click here for a useful document by the Commonwealth Institute that compares the final budget to proposed budgets by the Governor, House, and Senate. You can also download a presentation by the House Appropriations staff that provides a great overview by policy area.
Summer Homework – Legislative Commissions
Although we are a part-time legislature, General Assembly members are appointed to various commissions that meet throughout the year. This allows us to focus on specific issues and develop recommendations for action outside of the pressure of the regular session.
Here are a few highlights of the commissions on which I serve:
- Chesapeake Bay Commission. This is a tri-state commission made up of legislators from Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania. Our most recent meeting was in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where we discussed efforts to meet Bay restoration targets as well as potential solutions to the growing problem of PFAS contamination, otherwise known as “forever” chemicals. Other recent meetings have focused on the problem of invasive blue catfish and declining blue crab stocks.
- State Water Commission. This commission is charged with studying all aspects of water supply – including quality and quantity. Our August agenda focused on water supply improvements being implemented through the American Rescue Plan Act and a shortage of certified water treatment plant operators. We also discussed the impact of proposed U.S. Environmental Protection Agency PFAS standards on water suppliers like Fairfax Water.
- Housing Commission. Our August meeting included a presentation on economic, demographic, and housing market trends in Virginia. Bottom line: we desperately need more affordable housing! Earlier that day, I led a workgroup to discuss derelict buildings, the foreclosure process in homeowner associations, and the need for electric vehicle charging stations in new multi-family housing communities.
- Early Childhood Care and Education Commission. The commission includes legislators as well as representatives from businesses, economic development, local government, school divisions, parents, and early care and education providers. The commission is brand new, but we have already started to tackle a wide range of topics, including affordability, accessibility, and how to attract and retain quality providers.
It is an honor to serve you in the House of Delegates! As always, I welcome your thoughts and feedback!
July 1, 2023
As we prepare to celebrate our nation’s Independence Day, I am happy to share with you the new laws that go into effect in Virginia today.
Each January, 140 representatives of the people (100 delegates and 40 senators) gather in Richmond to propose, debate, and vote on legislation. This year, 1,906 bills were introduced. Of those, 804 were ultimately signed into law. I am pleased that nine of my bills made it to the Governor’s desk. These include:
- HB1635 – Tenant Protections. Protects tenants by allowing them to end a lease and receive a full refund if the premises contains serious health or safety risks at move-in.
- HB1634 – Climate Change. Encourages local governments to address climate change resilience in their comprehensive plans.
- HB1636 – Child Care Safety. Ensures child day care programs that knowingly operate without a license are held accountable when a child in their care suffers a serious injury or death.
- HB2096 – Invasive Plants. Prohibits planting of plants identified as “invasive” on state property and requires landscapers to notify a customer if they propose the use of an invasive plant.
- HB2095 – Drought Management. Strengthens our region’s drought management and planning efforts.
- HB2099 – Aging in Place. Expands access to the Livable Homes Tax Credit program, which helps people with mobility issues to stay in their homes.
- HB2113 – Competitive Procurement. Requires state authorities that are currently exempt from procurement requirements to adopt written policies that incorporate competitive negotiation principles.
HB2317 – Jury Duty Pay. Increases the jury duty allowance from $30 to $50 per day.
HB1517 – Automatic Renewals. For any free trial lasting more than 30 days, requires the customer to be notified of their option to cancel the free trial within 30 days of the end of the trial period.
HB1770 – Control of Energy Rates. Strengthens the State Corporation Commission’s ability to review the earnings of electric utilities and to adjust rates paid by customers if they exceed a fair rate of return.
HB1572 – “Swatting.” Makes it a felony to knowingly make a false emergency communication (i.e., 911) that results in serious bodily injury or death. Swatting is the term used when a fake emergency is called into law enforcement with the purpose of eliciting a mass law enforcement response.
HB1682 – Fentanyl/Weapon of Terrorism. Adds any mixture or substance containing a detectable amount of fentanyl to the state definition of “weapon of terrorism.” This increases the penalty for manufacturing and distribution of fentanyl to a Class 4 felony.
HB2330 – Public Transportation Safety. Creates new penalties to protect public transportation drivers who are the victims of assault and/or battery. In addition to other penalties, a conviction includes a ban from public transportation for at least six months.
HB2372 – Catalytic Converters. Creates a presumption that possession of a catalytic converter removed from a vehicle by someone not in the auto repair or salvage business is guilty of theft. The penalty is a Class 6 felony.
HB2298 – Stiletto Knives. Removes switchblade knives and adds stiletto knives to the list of concealed weapons that may not be carried in public.
HB2387 – Firearm Safety Tax Credit. Establishes a $300 tax credit for years 2023 through 2027 for the purchase of firearm safety devices (gun safes, locks, etc.). The total program may not exceed $5 million in any given year.
HB2007 – Freedom of Information Act. Requires public bodies to post fee and pricing information for a Freedom of Information Act request on their website or in a written policy.
HB1446 – Nursing Home Standards. Effective July 1, 2025, establishes nursing staffing requirements for certified nursing facilities and imposes sanctions on facilities that do not comply.
SB1221 – Assisted Living Facilities. Directs the Board of Social Services to establish minimum liability insurance requirements for assisted living facilities.
HB2028 – Guardianships. Requires a guardian to visit an incapacitated person at least three times per year and at least once every 120 days.
HB1602 – Telemedicine. Removes the requirement that a health care provider must maintain a physical presence in Virginia to serve Medicaid patients.
HB2274 – Pharmacist Scope of Practice. Allows pharmacists to initiate treatment and administer controlled substances for group A Streptococcus, influenza, COVID-19, and urinary tract infection.
SB1003 – Hearing Aids for Minors. Requires health insurers to cover the cost of hearing aids and related services for children 18 years or younger when recommended by an otolaryngologist.
HB1895 – Nondisclosure and Sexual Harassment. Prohibits an employer from requiring a nondisclosure or confidentiality agreement with the purpose of concealing the details of a sexual harassment claim.
SB1040 – Social Security Numbers. Prohibits an employer from using an employee’s social security number, or any derivative of, as part of an employee’s identification number or access badge or card.
HB2082 – Rental Keys and Key Codes. Requires large rental property companies (200 units or more) to require any applicant for employment that will have access to keys to go through a pre-employment criminal history records check.
SB1455 – Curfews. Enables the chief law-enforcement officer of a locality to enact a curfew under certain circumstances during a civil disturbance. The curfew may not last longer than 24 hours without approval from the local governing body.
HB2294 – THC in Hemp Products. Limits the amount of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) that can be included in a hemp product to 0.3%, with certain exceptions when the amount of CBD is at least 25 times greater than the amount of THC. The law also creates a regulated hemp product retail facility registration process to oversee the new law.
HB2428 – Cannabis Advertising. Prohibits advertising any cannabis product or product containing synthetic THC or similar product that may not be legally sold in Virginia. The law also prohibits advertising from targeting minors, being placed near schools, referencing intoxicating effects, etc.
SB855 – Blue Headlights. Prohibits the use of blue headlights on vehicles.
SB951 – Uninsured Motorists. Effective July 1, 2024, repeals the option to register as an uninsured motorist and to instead pay a fee. All motorists will now be required to obtain insurance.
HB1516 – Towing. Prohibits a towing operator from refusing to allow the owner of a towed vehicle from accessing and recovering personal items without first paying the towing fee.
HB1932 – Move Over on Hazard Lights. Requires drivers to make a lane change or reduce speed when passing stationary vehicles that have activated hazard warning signal flashers, caution signs, or flares.
HB1388 – National Guard Passport. Directs the Department of Conservation and Recreation to establish a program allowing members of the Virginia National Guard to enter state parks without paying a fee.
HB1592 – Bullying. Requires a school to notify the parent of any student who is involved in an alleged bullying incident within 24 hours. Current law only requires notification within five school days.
SB1175 – Virginia Literacy Act. Expands the Virginia Literacy Act in several ways, including requiring each local school board to provide reading intervention services to students who demonstrate substantial deficiencies based on SOL or other screening tests.
HB1592 – Teacher Arrests. Requires state law enforcement agencies to notify school systems within 48 hours of the arrest of a school employee for a felony or a Class 1 misdemeanor.
SB1453 – Defibrillators. Requires the placement of an automated external defibrillator in every public school. Under current law, schools have the option to place defibrillators but are not required to do so.
SB1515 – Pornography Age Verification. Requires pornographic websites (defined as having more than one-third of its content focused on sexual conduct) to implement an age verification system to prevent children under the age of 18 from accessing the site.
HB1948 – Absentee Voting. Removes the witness requirement for absentee ballots and replaces it with providing the last four digits of a social security number and birth year.
Having trouble sleeping at night? There are 770 more bills to go! The Division of Legislative Services 2023 Session Summary provides a complete list of bills introduced by subject area and whether they passed, failed, or were carried over.
Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you have thoughts or questions. It is an honor to represent you. Have a safe and happy 4th of July!
I’ve proudly represented the 37th District in the Virginia House of Delegates since 2006, including the City of Fairfax and parts of Fairfax County. With redistricting comes new boundaries and a new district number. Most of my old district is now the new 11th District and I am excited that it includes your community!
A bit about me. My wife Gretchen and I both grew up here in Fairfax and have three wonderful children. We love community service! Together, we served as co-chairs for our National Night Out against crime program and are active in scouts. I currently serve on the board of Brain Injury Services, coaches youth sports, and previously chaired the Fairfax County Consumer Protection Commission. Professionally, I work as a senior environmental planner specializing in stormwater and Chesapeake Bay restoration.
In the House of Delegates, I serve on the General Laws, Appropriations, and Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources committees. I have also bee appointed by the Speaker to serve on the Chesapeake Bay Commission, State Water Commission, Housing Commission, and Early Childhood Care and Education Commission.
We enjoy a tremendous quality of life because residents like you care about our community and are willing to speak up when they see an opportunity to make Fairfax an even better place to live. I look forward to hearing from you and earning your vote.
House District 11
David’s Work in the House of Delegates
As a parent, David understand that education is our most important investment. He expanded access to early childhood education by passing the Virginia Early Childhood Care and Education Act. He has also successfully fought to increase teacher salaries and funding to repair aging schools.
We can count on David to protect our environment. He was awarded the Chesapeake Bay Foundation Legislator of the Year in recognition of his work to protect our water supplies and give local governments more power to save trees during development.
Jobs and the Economy
David has prioritized making our economy more resilient by investing in high-speed internet and securing funding for Virginia’s International Trade Plan. He was recognized by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce for bipartisan legislation to expand career and technical training.
Housing and Development
As a budget conferee, David helped secure millions in new resources for the Virginia Housing Trust fund. He also passed new protections for tenants faced with unsafe rental property.
Transparent and Open Government
David has fought hard to reform Virginia’s campaign finance laws, including a successful effort to audit campaign spending. He also passed legislation to require state agencies to hold public meetings when proposing new development that could impact local communities.
David has fought hard to reform Virginia’s campaign finance laws, including a successful effort to audit campaign spending. He also passed legislation to require state agencies to hold public meetings when proposing new development that could impact local communities.
9900 Main St. Plaza 102
Fairfax, VA 22031
Phone: (703) 310-6752
900 E. Main St,
Richmond, Virginia 23219
Phone: (804) 698-1037
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.
Economy & Jobs
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. I am proud that Virginia’s Constitution requires a balanced budget and that the General Assembly has worked in a bi-partisan manner to do this in a fiscally responsible manner. As a member of the Appropriations Committee, I am committed to continuing that tradition. In addition to ensuring that we have a balanced budget, I supported successful legislation to establish a state-wide Office of the Inspector General (HB2076) to investigate allegations of fraud, waste, and abuse.
Jobs and Economic Growth
In today’s global economy, it is important for Virginia to constantly look for ways to grow and diversify our economy. 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. This is why I co-patroned the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Act (HB834), which is designed to incentivize collaboration among business, education, and government to strengthen the economy in every region of the state. Virginia is also facing a shortfall in workers to fill a wide range of technical jobs. These are often high-paying jobs that do not require a four year college education. However, they do require industry certifications and apprenticeships. In 2018, I worked with members of the labor and manufacturing communities to pass legislation requiring a course in career exploration in middle school to ensure that students understand their full range of career options. For this work, I was awarded the “Industrial Strength Leadership Award” by the Virginia Manufacturing Association.
During the 2021 session, I was pleased to work with the Virginia Maritime Association and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership to secure a $1.5M budget amendment to fund Virginia’s International Trade Plan. When fully implemented this plan is anticipated to add $18B in exports from Virginia.
Energy & Environment
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 measures to provide more transportation funding to Northern Virginia. In 2013 (HB2313) and again in 2020 (HB1414), I supported comprehensive transportation packages that have pumped billions into our inter-modal transportation systems. In 2016, I was part of a group of legislators that brokered a deal to widen I-66 inside the Beltway from the Dulles Connector to Ballston.
I will continue to advocate for changes in the way that transportation funding is distributed to make it more equitable for Northern Virginia and have led efforts to change the transportation maintenance formula (HBs 389, 6011, 1993, 1491, and 477). Getting our fair share will continue to be one of my top priorities. Additional priorities include:Increase investment in transportation technology, including telework, “smart highways,” and better synchronized traffic lights.
Help get people out of their cars by making investments in bike paths and walking trails. In 2019, I sponsored successful legislation to give local governments new authority to require sidewalks during development (HB1913).
Expand Metro to Centreville and beyond and adequately fund both Metro and the Virginia Railway Express.
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.
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. I was proud to co-sponsor the 2020 Virginia Clean Economy Act (HB1526), which mandates Dominion Energy to produce their electricity from 100% renewable sources by 2045. 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. I have also introduced successful legislation to position Virginia to be a leader in electric plug-in vehicles by eliminating regulatory hurdles that would stifle entrepreneurialism (HBs 2105 and 1934).
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 installation of solar in urban areas and at our public institutions; 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 “Legislator of the Year” by the Chesapeake Bay Foundation and as a Legislative “Hero” or “Leader” by the Virginia League of Conservation Voters for the past dozen years. As your delegate, I have successfully spearheaded the following legislation to:Secure $155M to upgrade wastewater treatment facilities and reduce pollution from urban and agricultural stormwater runoff.
Protect water resources from PFAS chemicals as a result of firefighting activities (HB2762).
Protect water supplies by requiring the State Water Control Board to consider the state water supply plan when making permitting decisions (HB1158).
Require the Picket Road Tank Farm and similar large oil and gas tank farms to upgrade their facilities to modern standards (HB2103).
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.
As a Fairfax County Public Schools parent, I know first hand the importance of quality public education. As a member of the House Education Committee, I have worked to reform our Standards of Learning and introduced successful legislation to promote career and technical education opportunities (HB1552). To ensure that our schools provide a safe and welcoming learning environment, I introduced successful legislation to strengthen the process for dealing with teachers accused of sexually assaulting a student (HBs 150 and 438) and co-sponsored legislation (HB 1871) to enhance efforts to fight bullying. It has been an honor to be recognized multiple times by the Virginia Education Association with their “Solid as a Rock for Public Education Award.”
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. In 2021, I was proud to be part of the conference committee that secured the state’s share of a 5% raise for our teachers.
- 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.
While our teachers did a heroic job navigating virtual learning during the COVID-19 pandemic, the learning loss is real. We saw this first hand as our youngest son navigated middle school online. During the 2021 session, I worked with a bi-partisan group to pass legislation requiring full in-person learning after July 1, 2021. We must now invest in the tools necessary to catch our students up — including tutoring, supplemental learning, and summer enrichment courses.
Early Childhood Education
A child’s earliest experiences, particularly those in the critical years between birth and age five, lay the foundation for future success. I was pleased to sponsor the Early Childhood Care and Education Act (HB1012) in 2020 to better coordinate early childhood education and to create a comprehensive quality rating and improvement system for our publicly funded programs. During the 2021 session I was pleased to build on that effort by directing the School Readiness Committee to develop recommendations for how to make early childhood education more affordable and to ensure that our providers are adequately paid.
Democracy & Governance
Open and Accountable Government
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. In the General Assembly, I have introduced legislation to bring more transparency to the adoption of regulatory guidelines by state agencies (HB297) and to ensure that terms and conditions associated with donations to public universities are open for public inspection (HB2386).
Virginia is one of a handful of states with no limits on campaign contributions, which has contributed to the spiraling cost of running for public office. During the 2021 session, I passed HJ526, which establishes a joint subcommittee to study and make recommendations for comprehensive finance reform.
I strongly believe that voters should choose their representatives – not the other way around. Districts shouldn’t be drawn for political purposes. I was proud to support an amendment to Virginia’s constitution to establish a bi-partisan Virginia Redistricting Commission, which was ratified by the voters in November 2020.
Health Care/Mental Health
I was proud to support legislation to expand Medicaid so that up to 400,000 of our fellow Virginians have access to affordable, basic health care. However, there remains much work to be done, especially to reduce the cost of health insurance premiums. I have also worked on a wide range of health care and mental health issues. These include:Opioids. Virginia has enacted several new laws and programs to combat our opioid crisis. In 2019, I introduced successful legislation (HB1743) aimed at encouraging pharmacists to discuss proper drug disposal when presenting a new prescription. Two-thirds of prescriptions are not used, with the majority kept in the home. This increases the chance of misuse or accidental consumption by children.
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 must continue to build on these reforms and fully fund 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.
Supporting Our Veterans
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.
Public Safety/Human Trafficking
We enjoy one of the lowest crime rates of any major metropolitan area in the nation. Let’s keep it that way! I am proud to support those who protect us every day – our police, firefighters, and emergency personnel. In 2010 I was named the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters “Legislator of the Year.”
One of Virginia’s greatest threats to public safety is distracted driving. Distracted driving now rivals drunk driving when it comes to the number of deaths on our roadways. In introduced legislation to make Virginia a “hands-free” state (HB512, which was incorporated into HB874)) and to provide our police the resources they need to keep the traveling public safe. I have also patroned or co-patron several successful efforts to strengthen Virginia’s public safety laws. Some of these efforts included:
- Strengthening the ability of our law enforcement agencies to combat child exploitation and human trafficking (HB1200 and HB2061)
- Protecting our children from sex offenders by requiring offenders to register their email addresses and/or screen names (HB 2749) and by creating mandatory-minimum sentences for the production and distribution of child pornography (HB2755).
- Making the practice of texting and driving a primary offense and increasing penalties (HB1883).
I strongly support legislation to prohibit discrimination in employment and housing based on sexual orientation and gender identity. I also support ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution and co-patroned this legislation in 2019. Every Virginian should be judged based on their abilities and, in the immortal words of Martin Luther King, Jr. “the content of their character.”
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.