We are now one week away from the scheduled end of our 45-day legislative session. This week was a productive week for the House of Delegates. We are finishing committee work, reviewing amendments from the Senate, and continuing to work on the budget.
We have also started the process of packing up our General Assembly Building (GAB) office in preparation for a move to the Pocahontas building later this year. The Pocahontas building is located on Bank Street in front of the Capitol. It will be the legislatures home for the next four years while a new building is being constructed on the current site. The current GAB has been in use for over four decades, and while it has served the legislature well, there are maintenance and safety issues that are becoming expensive and in some cases nearly impossible to mitigate. Starting next session we will be located in the Pocahontas building while construction begins on the new General Assembly building. The Pocahontas building is located in front of the Capitol on Bank Street. As we wind down our General Assembly session, I want to update you on a few important areas of interest.
Veterans Initiatives Pass with Strong Bi-Partisan Support
In the House we have 21 veterans. The 21 members represent every branch of service – Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard. Service periods date back to the Vietnam War years right up to today’s conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan. There is at least one veteran on each of the 14 House Committees. Truly, our veterans represent a strong voice in support of Virginia’s veterans, the military, and their families.
With a significant veteran and military presence in the Commonwealth, Virginia’s longstanding goal is to be the most veteran and military friendly state in the nation. I continue to make it a priority to sponsor and support measures that help achieve that goal. The House is leading the effort to provide our veterans with the care they deserve, access to affordable education, and good job opportunities.
This year I was pleased to co-patron HB 2206. This legislation is the top priority of the Joint Leadership Council of Veteran Service Organizations. The bill redefines the goals of the Virginia Veteran and Family Support Program, formerly Wounded Warrior, to help veterans and their families navigate the complex web of healthcare and mental health services available to them. In addition, I supported a measure that permits community college to reduce tuition costs to active duty military members enrolled in training that leads to a Military Occupational Specialty. To learn more about other veteran and military initiatives, please visit lis.virginia.gov or contact my office and we would be glad to provide you a list of bills.
Update – My Legislation
The five pieces of legislation that passed out of the House of Delegate have all now passed in the State Senate. In fact, one has already been signed into law by the Governor, HB 2076. The other four that passed the Senate and will be heading to the Governor are HB 2075, HB 2077, HB 2078 and HB 2276.
In addition to legislation, I will be introducing several commending resolutions next week honoring noteworthy individuals on the occasion of their retirement. These include Dr. Jerry Benson, the current JMU Provost and Senior Vice-President of Academic Affairs, Marshall Price who recently retired as the principal at Massanutten Technical Center, as well as Dr. Carol Fenn, our Rockingham County Schools Superintendent. In addition, I will also submit memorial resolutions celebrating the life of Charlie Wampler Jr. and Abram Clymer.
It certainly slowed down this week, but I still had several groups of constituents from home. A few ladies with Sentara RMH and the Resource Mothers and Healthy Families program came by to discuss the positive impact they are having in our community for new and expecting mothers. I spoke to a large group of Rockingham Federation FFA members and their advisors on Wednesday. A group of students from J. Frank Hillyard Middle School Student Council Association led by their advisor, Clay Gordon, also came for a visit to the Capitol. Finally, I had the opportunity to meet with officials from one of our local companies, Miller-Coors.