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General Assembly Report from Delegate Richard Anderson - Jan. 13, 2017

Dear Prince William County Friends, Families, and Neighbors,

The Virginia House of Delegates just recessed for the weekend, completing our first week of the 2017 legislative session of the General Assembly. I’m still at my desk on the floor of an empty House chamber as my fellow Delegates make their way home for the weekend. Before driving north to Prince William County this afternoon, I want to give you this first-hand report from my perspective.

On Wednesday, Jan. 11th, House Speaker William J. Howell gaveled us into session, and we’ll live temporarily in Richmond until we adjourn on Feb. 25th and return to Prince William. During that time, I’ll travel home on weekends to spend time with my family, attend events, knock on constituent doors, and visit people whom I’m privileged to represent in Richmond and at home.

Our most important work over the next six weeks will focus on the two-year Virginia state budget. Our mission will be to close a $1.2B budget shortfall without raising taxes; write and pass a balanced, cautious, and structurally-sound spending plan; and protect Virginia’s nationally-recognized and respected AAA bond rating—only one of 15 states to have this unique distinction. This will be a bipartisan effort across both parties and both houses. As a member of the budget-writing House Appropriations Committee (HAC), I look forward to working with my fellow HAC members, Del. L. Scott Lingamfelter (R-31st) and Del. Luke M. Torian (D-52nd)—and with our colleague on the Senate Finance Committee, Sen. George L. Barker (D-39th).

This year, I am the Chief Patron of 15 bills that are now making their way through the House. My top two bills are:

HB 1834, which deals with the very real danger of distracted driving. My goal is to dramatically reduce deaths and injuries caused by drivers who text while driving, watch YouTube, post to Facebook, and play video games. For the 12-month period of Jan. 1, 2016-Dec. 31, 2016, distracted drivers on Virginia roads caused the deaths of 175 people and the injury of an additional 14,776 people. Driving While Texting (DWT) is every bit as dangerous as Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). In short, DWT = DWI.

HB 1913 deals with the crime of cigarette trafficking, whereby criminals divert thousands of cartons of black-market cigarettes to other states for eventual sale. In the process, they commit felonies and divert millions of Virginia tax dollars to their own pockets. If approved, this bill will end this crime, once and for all.

To see a comprehensive listing of my 2017 bills and track them throughout the legislative session, please click the below link:
http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?171+mbr+H210

As chair of the joint House-Senate Military and Veterans Caucus, I’ll also work with my colleagues to move as much veteran-friendly legislation as possible. With nearly 50,000 veterans in Prince William County and 800,000 veterans across Virginia, this commands a large part of my time and effort.

One last thing: I sincerely need your input. We have devised an online survey of 15 questions to get your feedback on some of the issues that we’ll consider here in Richmond over the next six weeks. The below link will take you to our survey, and I ask you to complete it so that we have the benefit of your thinking. Please note: I and my small staff are not professional pollsters and are not experts in writing poll questions. If the wording of any question is not to your liking, or if you want to provide input on a topic that’s not on our survey, please feel free to email me and I will see your input—personally. The link to the survey is here: http://survey.house.virginia.gov/Survey.aspx?s=454914138bf74a35a1be70d0da9a70ba

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