Town Meeting on Saturday
This Saturday, February 10, I will be holding a Town Meeting from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. in the Community Room at the Mason District Government Center, 6507 Columbia Pike, Annandale.
The topics to be discussed are zoning issues; presentation of a legislative update; and other issues of interest. If you are interested and have any questions, please contact my office at (703) 573-4855.
Half Way Through
On Tuesday, the General Assembly reached that point in our session which is known as “crossover.” This is the day when bills and resolutions introduced in each chamber must be acted upon by that chamber.
There were 1,930 bills and resolutions introduced in the House of Delegates and 918 of them were passed by the House.
That is a success rate of 47.56-percent, which is consistent with the long time average of about 45 percent of all legislation being approved by the General Assembly.
To be able to accomplish our crossover task, we spent 10 hours on the House floor on Monday and eight hours on Tuesday.
That is a lot, but we used to spend more time on the floor before we streamlined some of our operations. I remember days in which we were in our seats for 12 or 13 hours.
We took up 244 bills and resolutions on Tuesday and about 300 on Monday. Now, it is downhill for the House.
Since the Senate introduces about half of what we introduce and about half of them fail, we have a workload that is about one-quarter what it was when we started.
The Senate, on the other hand, will be considering about the same amount of House legislation as they have already considered of their own.
We are scheduled to adjourn on Saturday, February 24, so the pace will get even quicker soon as we scurry to finish the people’s business on time.
As the first chancellor of Germany, Otto von Bismarck, said, the two things one should not look at being made are laws and sausages.
I have personally enjoyed some successes this session. Among my successes, I was able to win three budget amendments.
I put in for an additional $11 million and 127 positions for Virginia state parks to help preserve our natural areas.
It would also allow us to take care of thousands of tourists coming for the 400th anniversary of Jamestown and tackle a huge backlog of maintenance projects.
I did not get it all, but I was able to win additional funding of $1.25 million, 10 new Ranger positions, and numerous seasonal wage employees.
I also asked for an additional $5 million for community mental retardation support for those who are not eligible for or are not receiving Medicaid waiver services.
I did not get it all, but the Appropriations Committee did agree to add $550,000 more to the budget for these important services.
I also made a request to add $100,000 for a new Housing Policy Research Center at George Mason University’s Center for Regional Analysis.
This is important, I believe, to provide data and analysis to the administration and General Assembly on the impact of the housing and real estate industry to Virginia’s economy.
These are just a few victories as we struggle to pass meaningful transportation legislation before adjournment. Stay tuned for that!