The 2018 General Assembly session adjourned sine die on Saturday as scheduled, but without an agreement on a new two-year state budget. When we return in a special session, which we expect the governor to call shortly, we will start with a fresh discussion on a new budget. While we have until the end of June to adopt a budget, it is important to have this work completed as soon as possible to give our school boards, local governments and state agencies certainty as they develop their own spending plans.
2018 General Assembly Session and Legislative Update
While we have yet to complete our work on the budget, the 2018 session has been productive and successful. We have advanced our “Practical Solutions to Everyday Issues” agenda, including reaching bipartisan agreements with Governor Ralph Northam on criminal justice and regulatory reforms, and we defeated $770 million in tax increases proposed by Democrats. Photo Credit: Richmond Times-Dispatch
In addition to House Bills 761, 776 and 916, which have been signed into law, House Bills 3, 344, 347, 760, 775, 897, 916, 1125, 1148, 1551, 1568, and 1599 have passed in both the House and Senate and await Governor Northam’s signature. You can learn more about these bills here. As always, you view the status summary of all my bills here. The legislation I have sponsored this session has focused on my continued commitment to economic development and providing the best education for our students and is part of our larger effort to grow our economy, make K-12 educational investments and support infrastructure improvements in the Commonwealth. While we still have work to do on our budget, I am proud of the work my colleagues and I have accomplished this session. We have passed commonsense measures to advance our “Practical Solutions to Everyday Issues” agenda.
Speaker Kirk Cox Announces Formation of Select Committee on School Safety
Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox, R-Colonial Heights, announced on Thursday the formation of the “House Select Committee on School Safety” to review state and local policy on school safety and make recommendations for consideration by the General Assembly during the 2019 session. I have been appointed by Speaker Cox to serve on the Select Committee. When we talk about improving our education system, we must start with the safety of our schools. This Select Committee has an important job ahead of it and I look forward to working with my colleagues to find practical solutions to ensure the safety of our children. This is the first Select Committee formed in the House in 155 years. Select Committees are reserved for matters of considerable significance that cross the jurisdiction of conventional and established committees. Speaker Cox sent a letter to the Clerk of the House of Delegates today outlining the scope, membership and work plan of the Committee.
“The House of Delegates led the effort in recent years to make our schools safer, but the tragedy in Parkland, Florida shows us that we must be ever-vigilant when it comes to school safety. We are taking a bold and significant step today to make school safety a top priority of the House of Delegates,” said Speaker Cox. “Delegate Landes will bring a unique perspective to the Select Committee, and I look forward to the ideas he will contribute to the important work ahead of the Committee.”
In his letter to the Clerk, Speaker Cox specifically limited the Committee’s scope of work to strengthening emergency preparedness, hardening school security infrastructure, implementing security best practices, deploying additional security personnel, providing additional behavioral health resources for students, and developing prevention protocols at primary and secondary institutions across the Commonwealth. The Committee will not discuss issues related to guns or broader behavioral health policy that are being considered by other commissions or standing committees. The Committee will also will not consider security at institutions of higher education, many of which already have vigorous security requirements and are governed by national accrediting agencies that set guidelines for their security.
In Case You Missed It
My Legislative Director, Judy Wyatt, Communications Director, Will Wrobleski, and I are here to serve you. If you need help with a state government agency or issue, we can be reached by phone at 540.255.5335 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our address is Post Office Box 12, Verona, Virginia 24482.
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Thank you again for allowing me to serve as your Delegate.