While the Commonwealth was spared by the worst of Hurricane Florence, please keep those in Virginia affected by the storm, as well as our neighbors to the south in your thoughts and prayers. As this storm showed, weather is unpredictable, and it is always best to err on the side of caution.
The November 6th General Election is fast approaching and before you know, we'll be back in Richmond for the 2019 General Assembly session. I look forward to the upcoming session and appreciate the feedback I received from members of the 25th House District Advisory Committee at our recent meeting in Fishersville. There is a lot happening in October, which you'll find below.
Special Session II
Last Thursday, members of the House Committee on Privileges and Elections met to discuss House Bill 7003, sponsored by Delegate Chris Jones, R-Suffolk. The bill was reported out of Committee with a 12-10 vote. House Bill 7003 is a politically neutral, race-blind redistricting plan developed with a bipartisan coalition of legislators who believe there should be a legislative solution. Discussions on House Bill 7003 continue and it is likely the House of Delegates will convene in October to continue debate on this piece of legislation.
Redistricting is the constitutional responsibility of the legislature. We need to set aside the politics and complete our work. Unelected federal judges should not be deciding where Virginians vote. We continue to pursue our appeal to the United States Supreme Court and believe the 2011 plan, which passed with an overwhelming bipartisan majority and the support of most of the African American members of the House is constitutional and should remain the law of the land.
This year’s November Election is just over a month away! For those who are eligible, voting has already started. Absentee ballot requests are now being taken and ballots are being mailed out. If you are interested in absentee voting, you may apply on-line at: www.elections.virginia.gov/onlineregistration. You can also contact your general registrars’ office and request the ballot. You will find that contact information at:
www.elections.virginia.gov/LocalGR. You may visit your local general registrar’s office and complete the application. If during the absentee ballot voting period your application is approved, you will be allow to cast your vote at that time.
Deadlines for absentee ballots for the November 6, 2018, General Election:
Absentee ballot by mail application: 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, October 30, 2018.
Absentee ballot by appearing in-person: 5:00 p.m. Saturday, November 3, 2018.
Absentee ballots to be returned to local general registrar’s office: 7:00p.m. Tuesday, November 6, 2018.
Note: Your local general registrar’s office is open on Saturday, October 27th, and Saturday, November 3rd, for in-person absentee ballot voting. Please check the hours of your local office as the Saturday hours may vary. Some localities provide additional locations for in person absentee voting.
Notice to voters using US mail service: the USPS delivery standards changed last year so that First Class delivery went from 1-3 days to 2-5 days and Standard delivery is now 2-9 days. Please keep this in mind, as the ballot must be received by your local general registrar no later than 7:00 PM on Election Day. Having the ballot postmarked by the deadline does not count if the ballot is still received after the deadline.
If you’ve not yet registered to vote yet, or you know someone who needs to register, then please use this link to Virginia’s Department of Elections: https://vote.elections.virginia.gov/VoterInformation. The last day to register to vote is Monday, October 15th by 5:00 p.m.
IMPORTANT DATES TO REMEMBER:
LAST DAY TO REGISTER is Monday October 15th by 5:00 p.m.
LAST DAY TO APPLY FOR AN ABSENTEE BALLOT is Tuesday October 30th by 5:00 p.m.
LAST DAY TO VOTE IN-PERSON ABSENTEE is Saturday November 3rd.
ELECTION DAY is Tuesday November 6th. Voters can go to their usual voting location from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
2018 Virginia Education Summit
I am pleased to announce the 5th Annual Virginia Education Summit will take place on October 15th and 16th. The Summit, co-hosted by me and Senator Stephen D. Newman, R-Forest, Chairman of the Senate Education and Health Committee, is a joint meeting of the Senate Education and Health and House Education Committees that will take place at Virginia State University’s Gateway Event Center. The Hunt Institute, an affiliate of the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University, worked alongside with me and Senator Newman to organize and host the event. The Summit brings together leading experts and practitioners from around the country and our state and will focus on issues from K-12 to postsecondary education and the workforce.
This year’s Summit will explore topics such as early childhood; teacher development and retention; school leadership development; leadership and excellence in action; school funding; higher education and liberal arts in the 21st Century; career pathways and innovative approaches to post secondary and workforce readiness; and continuing education. We will hear from a host of education leaders and experts, Virginia’s First Lady Pamela Northam, Education Secretary Atif Qarni, and a number of members of Virginia’s General Assembly. Last year’s Virginia Education Summit fostered engaging discussions and we are eager to discuss the most pressing issues facing education so we can continue to build excellence for all students in Virginia.
Beginning October 1, 2020, federal officials will require state-issued driver’s licenses or IDs presented as identification to board a domestic flight or enter a secure federal facility to be REAL ID compliant. Several other forms of ID, including a U.S. Passport, Passport Card and some military IDs, will also be accepted for federal identification. Beginning today, the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) will offer Virginians the option to upgrade their current Virginia driver’s license or identification card to a REAL ID compliant credential. Until October 1, 2020, Virginians are able to use their current Virginia driver’s license or ID as identification to board a domestic flight or enter a secure federal facility. That gives Virginians interested in REAL ID two years to obtain their credential before federal requirements take effect.
Virginians with a current standard driver’s license and ID card should check the expiration date. If the credential expires between October 1, 2018 and October 1, 2020, make the decision whether REAL ID is right for you so you can be prepared at the time of renewal. If your credential expires after October 1, 2020, you may want to visit DMV over the next two years to apply for REAL ID before the October 1, 2020 federal enforcement deadline. First-time applicants will also have the choice between a REAL ID compliant or standard credential.
To obtain a REAL ID compliant credential, all Virginians must visit a DMV in person to reapply for a REAL ID. This step in the process is mandated by federal law. The documents needed to apply for a REAL ID are readily accessible to most Virginians and are similar to those needed when many applied for their original Virginia driver’s license or ID. You can find a list of acceptable documents on "Obtaining a Virginia Driver's License or Identification Card (DMV 141).
Since REAL ID is optional, many Virginians may decide they don’t want or need one. Those Virginians may continue to renew their driver’s license or ID as they always have. Should they need to board a domestic flight or enter a secure federal facility, they may use another approved form of ID; a full list is available at dmvNOW.com/REALID.
A REAL ID compliant credential can be used for all of the same purposes as a current driver’s license – including driving, voting and accessing federal benefits. It will be available for a one-time $10 surcharge, in addition to standard fees. For more information, please visit dmvNOW.com/REALID/.
Virginia Wine Month's 30th Anniversary
In 1988, Governor Gerald L. Baliles recognized October as Virginia Wine Month. This year we celebrate the 30th Anniversary of Virginia Wine Month, offering visitors a chance to discover why Virginia is a wine destination unlike any other. October Virginia Wine Month is the oldest wine month in the country. Over the past 30 years, we have seen Virginia growing from 40 wineries to 280. Sales of Virginia wine have shown solid growth in recent years. We have seen many of Virginia’s wineries nationally recognized, including wineries from the 25th District! I encourage you to visit one of our wineries should you have the opportunity. For a list of October Virginia Wine Month events, please visit https://www.virginiawine.org/virginia-wine-month. To find more information on wine travel in Virginia, please visit https://www.virginiawine.org/events/.
In Case You Missed It
As always, 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.