2012 LEGISLATIVE AGENDA
Below is a list of legislation that I introduced during the 2012 General Assembly.
In addition to the legislation I have introduced, I also co-patroned numerous pieces of legislation with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle in order to ensure we pass fair and helpful laws for the citizens of Virginia.
HB 696 Funding of Virtual schools.
HB 696 would be the first step in fixing the broken system of funding virtual schools. Currently in Virginia, when a student attends a virtual school full-time, they receive the state share of educational funds from where the school is located, rather from the jurisdiction of residence, since the student never leaves their jurisdiction of resident, the state share of education funds, should match where the student lives. I was proud to bring this issue to the attention of my colleagues and discuss a solution. This piece of legislation was very similar to another bill and due to the of the importance of this issue, the Appropriations Committee decided to “lay this on the table” and address the issue of funding virtual schools while dealing with the larger issue of educational funding in the State Budget.
HB 697 Mental health policies in higher educational institutions.
HB 697 would require the governing boards of each public institution of higher education to develop and implement a policy requesting each student to identify points of contact to be notified should the student experience a mental health crisis while attending the institution. The sub-committee on higher education heard this legislation and decided to “continue the bill” to the 2013 General Assembly. I will build a coalition of interested parties to further research this topic to find the most efficient way for higher educational institutions to handle mental health crises.
HB 702 Providing health insurance credit for retired school division employees
HB 702 would give the health insurance credit currently being provided to retired teachers to all retired employees of the local school division at the option and expense of the local school division. I was proud to introduce this legislation that would provide equity for all education employees, bringing them to the level of benefits provided to state employees in comparable positions. Currently, a retired janitor from state prison has access to health insurance credit but janitors from our schools do not. While presenting this legislation to a subcommittee during an Appropriations meeting, I was honored to be joined by former Delegate Jim Dillard and representatives of the Retired Teachers Association, the Virginia Education Association, and the Fairfax Federation of Teachers. Unfortunately the legislation was not reported out of the Appropriations Committee.
HB 703 Policies related to student nonpayment in higher educational institutions.
HB 703 would provide that colleges and universities in Virginia shall wait the full 60 day time frame before sending a student account to collections for nonpayment. I introduced this legislation after a constituent shared with me a problem dealing with a student being sent to a collection agency. It is important for our students to learn responsibility while in college but I feel we should provide extra safe guards to protect their financial future. This piece of legislation passed both the House of Delegates and State Senate unanimously and will be before the Governor for his signature.
HB 699 Allocation of funds for highway maintenance.
HB 699 seeks to change the current transportation maintenance formula based upon an outdated standard, to one that is based upon the actual quality of the roads, bridges, tunnels, and rails as determined by scientific standards. Northern Virginia has 25% of the population yet only receives 14% of the funds for road maintenance. The new standard this bill will put forward would ensure that the money goes to where it is needed the most. My colleague, Delegate David Albo, has introduced similar legislation. I am proud to be part of a bi-partisan group that has co-sponsored this bill. This bill, HB 477, has passed the House of Delegates and is currently before the State Senate.
HB 700 Penalty for crimes against incapacitated or elder adults.
HB 700 would increase a violation for crimes against elder adults only if the individual who committed the crime was responsible for the care of the victim. The crime rate among seniors in Fairfax County rose 50% between 2008 and 2009 and continues to rise every year. Even with the rise in offenses, the police and AARP agree that crimes against seniors by their caretakers are still seriously underreported. During the 2011 session, I joined several members of the House of Delegates in a bi-partisan manner to introduce legislation similar to this. The fiscal impact to the Commonwealth kept these bills from passing in 2011. Due to legislation introduced on the same subject matter, the House of Delegates voted to move ahead with a single bill dealing with the financial exploitation of elderly or incapacitated adults. I was proud to be a co-patron of HB 987. Unfortunately, even with bi-partisan support, members of the Appropriation Committee had concerns over the fiscal impact and the bill was “continued to 2013” in order to ensure a funding source.
HB 701 Campus police reporting certain incidents to local law-enforcement agency.
HB 701 requires the chief law-enforcement officer of a public or private institution of higher education to report certain crimes of any person on campus property to the law-enforcement agency of the locality in which the institution is located. This legislation calls for campus police departments to enter into mutual aid agreements with local law enforcement where each could provide support and resources to the other in crimes dealing with rape and murder investigations. With school administration and local police working together, there is a vested interest in keeping crime statistics low and our students safe. While my bill was “laid on the table this year”, I was proud to co-patron HB 965, a similar bill. HB 965 passed the House of Delegates. A similar bill successfully passed the State Senate and we can expect this legislation to head to the Governor for his consideration.
HB 704 Failure of a parent or guardian to report the death of child to local law-enforcement agency.
HB 704 provides a penalty to any parent, guardian, or legal custodian of a child who fails to report the death of the child to a local law-enforcement agency or the State Police within one hour of discovery of a death of a child. Last summer, concerns stemming from the death of Caylee Anthony and the trial and acquittal of her mother Casey by a Florida court prompted citizens from around the Country to encourage their legislators to introduce a law criminalizing the failure to report a missing or dead child. In the 41st district, I received over 400 e-mails asking me to introduce this legislation in Virginia. A few of my colleagues also introduced legislation known as “Caylee’s Law”. This legislation was heard in the House of Delegates Courts Committee. Unfortunately, members of the Committee shared concerns with the legislation as the one hour time limit could produce unintended consequences, and they decided not to bring this legislation up for a vote on the floor.
HB 706 Pedestrians.
HB 706 clarifies code language to ensure that the driver of a car will stop for pedestrians crossing at marked crosswalks or at intersections not controlled by traffic signals. In Fairfax County, there are many of us who walk to take our children to school, pick up a few items at a nearby store, or go out to enjoy some fresh air and exercise. Pedestrians face many obstacles with steady car flow, fast drivers, and sometimes an obstructed view. The intent of this legislation is to codify and strengthen the current code section to protect our pedestrians. The House Transportation Committee decided to “lay this issue on the table this year”, as we continue to explore the best options for protecting pedestrians.
HB 707 Funeral protests.
HB 707 implements regulations regarding the time and location of protests or disruptions at a funeral or memorial service. I introduced this bill at the request of Fairfax County in order to preserve the dignity of funerals or memorial services by imposing reasonable restrictions on the location and timing of demonstrations. The US Supreme Court has held that demonstrations may be subject to reasonable time, place, or manner restrictions, as long as such restrictions are content- neutral. Current Virginia law does not address restrictions on the location or timing of protests or demonstrations. This bill would add a section to Virginia Code to prohibit intentional disruptions at funerals beginning 60 minutes immediately prior to the scheduled starting time of a funeral or memorial service, during a funeral or memorial service, or immediately following one. This legislation was presented to the Courts of Justice Committee. The Committee decided to “continue the legislation to the 2013” session to make sure all concerns are addressed before passing this legislation.
HB 705 Diagnostic procedures resulting from preventive care or screening.
HB 705 prohibits a health carrier from imposing cost-sharing requirements with respect to any diagnostic service or test, or related procedure, that is administered or conducted for preventive care or screening. We should encourage citizens of the Commonwealth to visit their doctors for preventive screenings, especially in the case of colorectal cancer screening. Currently, when a person goes in for such a test, it is supposed to be fully covered by a health insurance policy, under the current Affordable Healthcare Act. However, if the test turns into a diagnostic procedure while the patient is under medication, they can wake up with a bill for the full cost or a large portion of the screening and procedure. I made several changes to this bill and learned a lot in the process. It was decided by the Commerce and Labor Committee that this issue should be studied in more detail. I look forward to continuing conversations to make sure that preventive care is fully covered by a health insurance policy. The Medical Society of Virginia, which represents over 9,000 physician members, thanked me for bringing this issue to the attention of the General Assembly and will be part of a working group I will convene over the summer.
Government Reform & Transparency
HB 698 Posting conference report of the Budget on Internet.
HB 698 provides that the proposed budget bill be posted on the internet at least 48 hours prior to the vote of each house of the General Assembly. I believe that all Virginians should have the opportunity to review the final draft of the proposed budget before members of the General Assembly cast their votes. I am happy to announce that leadership from both parties agreed to post the proposed budget online 24 hours prior to a vote by the House of Delegates. Due to this compromise, the Committee decided not to hear my legislation at this time.
HJ 106 National Women’s History Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.
HJ 106 lets our Congressional delegation know that the General Assembly of Virginia supports the creation of a National Women’s History Museum on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., to recognize and honor the contributions and achievements of women in the United States. A fellow colleague of mine wrote a similar bill that I was happy to co-patron. The resolution passed the House and will now be examined in the Senate.
HJ 107 Hold Out for Hunger Day; designating as April 14, 2012, and each succeeding year thereafter.
HJ 107: will designate April 14, 2012, and each succeeding year thereafter, as Hold out for Hunger Day. This resolution has passed both the House of Delegates and the State Senate.
HJ 190: Commending the West Springfield High School Dance Team on their amazing run on “America’s Got Talent”
HJ 275: Commending W.T. Woodson High School on the occasion of their 50th Anniversary.
HR 11: Celebrating the life of former Fairfax County School Board Member Cathy Belter.
HR 38: Commending Temple Rodef Shalom on the occasion of their 50th Anniversary.
HB 15: Gives local school boards the responsibility for setting and determining the opening of the school year.
HB 83: Provides that information on breast density is given after the completion of a mammogram.
HB 144: Creates the Virginia Preschool Initiative Local Grant Program.
HB 183: Gives medical assistance coverage for certain children and pregnant women.
HB 216: Exempts certain computer equipment and enabling software from retail sales and use tax.
HB 345: Requires the Board of Medicine to promulgate regulations for licensure for Dietitians.
HB 357: Creates the Virginia Health Benefits Exchange Authority.
HB 361: Enhances the penalty for stalking.
HB 365: Requires a Superintendent to ensure continued education in the case of student suspension or expulsion from school.
HB 400 Creates policies for school boards in the case of allowing parents to observe children in their classroom.
HB 409: Creates a penalty for the financial exploitation of elderly and incapacitated adults.
HB 428: Ensures benefits for certain local employees under the Virginia Retirement System.
HB 551: Extends the telework expense tax credit.
HB 599: Establishes responsibilities for various entities for the Northern Virginia Transportation District.
HB 662: Requires the State Board for Community Colleges to develop a mental health services action plan.
HB 864: Changes the composition of the Commonwealth Transportation Board.
HB 922: Exemption of disabled veterans from the real property tax.
HB 1106: Licensure by the Board of Medicine for Behavior and Assistant Behavior Analysts.
HB 1200: Creates posted notices for human trafficking hotline.
HJ 145 Designates May 2012, and each succeeding year as Preeclampsia Month.
HJ 155: Commending the Honorable G. Glenn Oder.
HJ 198: Commending Alan G. Merten.
HJ 201: Commending the Honorable William Kyle Barlow.
HJ 230: Wilson, Edith Bolling; General Assembly to recognize her birthplace and childhood home in Wythe County.
HJ 238: Commending Dr. Linwood H. Rose.
HJ 278: Commending Donna M. Blatecky.
HB 427: Allocates funds for the interstate system of highways based on level of need.
HB 552: Replaces certain terminology in the field of mental health and developmental services.
HJ 240: Commending the Girl Scouts of the United States of America.