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General Assembly report from Delegate Richard Anderson - Jan. 20, 2017

Dear Prince William County Friends, Families, and Neighbors,

We just wrapped up the second week of the 2017 legislative session of the Virginia General Assembly. I wanted to get this latest update in your hands before getting on the road to spend the weekend in Prince William County…so here goes!

OVERVIEW: The 100 members of the House introduced over 1,000 bills (I introduced 15), and our 100 Senate colleagues introduced over 700 bills. All are making their way through the committee process and it has shaped up to be a busy session. I’m typically at my desk by 7am and leave Capitol Square after midnight…but it’s fascinating work and a privilege to be your delegate in Richmond!

KEY GOALS THIS SESSION: Our main thrust has been to develop policies that make it easier for people to work in Virginia. One way to ease the burden on businesses is by reforming our current regulatory system, and we plan to do so by requiring greater public input on newly-proposed regulations and creating more accountability for state agencies. We are currently working on comprehensive legislation to reform the Virginia Economic Development Partnership (VEDP), our state’s premier marketing agency for economic development. VEDP has been mismanaged in recent years, and we will fix this shortfall this session.

THE VIRGINIA STATE BUDGET: Our work continued over the last week on closing what is now a $1.2B shortfall in tax revenues. Because we have declined to embrace the Governor’s proposals for tax and fee increases, we will instead adjust the budget downward—just as your family and mine does when times are tough. By the end of February, we’ll send the Governor a budget that is balanced, cautious, and takes care of the precious tax dollars sent to us by hardworking Virginia families and businesses. I sit as a member of the House Appropriations Committee (which writes the $100B Virginia state budget), and you can see our work at the HAC website.

MY BILLS: With 15 bills in the system, my team and I are busy moving them through the process. You can track the progress of my legislation at our House webpage. One significant bill is HB 1834, designed to beef up our distracted driving laws, put teeth into enforcement, and decrease the number of deaths and injuries on Virginia roads (175 deaths and 14,776 injuries in 2016). The other bill is HB 1913, designed to combat the crime of cigarette trafficking, which diverts millions of dollars from the Virginia state budget to the pockets of criminals—and creates spin-off criminal activity that has secondary effects.

MY BUDGET AMENDMENTS: Along with my bills, I’ve submitted several amendments to the state budget to increase resources to crucial programs. I’ve asked for $400K for the Long Term Employment Support Services program to put more Virginians with disabilities to work. I am also the co-patron of a budget amendment to provide $23M for the Cost of Competing Adjustment (COCA) for support positions in Northern Virginia school divisions to offset the high cost of living in our area. Lastly, I support the efforts by House Majority Leader Kirk Cox to reduce the developmental disability waiting list by adding an additional 693 waiver slots for Virginians with disabilities.

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