The General Assembly is moving quickly through the 2015 session, but a lot remains to be accomplished over the next 30 days. Over 2,300 bills were filed by legislators this year. As I said at the start of session, the House of Delegates is advancing an agenda that creates jobs, improves education, and supports our veterans, while opposing attempts to raise your taxes or infringe on your second amendment rights.
State Budget Update
One piece of good news that I want to highlight: Thanks to our conservative budgeting and Virginia’s improving economy, we just got a report that state government revenue has increased beyond our initial projections. The House of Delegates is going to make sure that this money is used to reduce onerous fees for Virginians and fund core functions of government, not to create new wasteful government spending programs.
Supporting Our Veterans
One of our key priorities this year is to provide state funding for two new veterans care centers, including one in our region. I am proud to be a co-patron of the legislation to provide that funding, which passed the House this week.
I met with Congressman Rob Wittman and Congressman Randy Forbes this week in Richmond to discuss these projects, as well as other priorities important to veterans. I appreciate their support of these projects on the federal level.
#SaveJosh Legislation Advances
My colleague Delegate Margaret Ransone and I are working with Senators Bryce Reeves and Richard Stuart on legislation this year that would provide greater access to experimental drugs like the one that saved the life of Stafford resident Josh Hardy.
As you know, Josh Hardy suffered from a potentially life threatening viral infection, but was initially denied access to the experimental medication he needed. After a passionate campaign from folks across our region, as well as people across the country, his treatment was approved. Josh is preparing to celebrate his ninth birthday.
I met with Josh’s mom, Aimee, and his brothers Jack and Joe when they were in Richmond this week to testify on House Bill 1750, which will help patients like Josh get the treatments they need. I am glad the bill is moving forward and look forward to supporting it on the House floor next week.
There are more than 35,000 home schooled students in Virginia. Their families chose an education curriculum to best fit their kids’ needs. But we all know that so many life lessons are learned in extracurricular activities like high school sports.
Earlier this year I met with Patrick Foss, a standout player on the UVa Men’s Soccer team. Patrick was homeschooled and not allowed to play high school sports. He earned a scholarship to UVa nonetheless and helped the team win this year’s NCAA National Championship.
The House passed the “Tebow bill” this week to give home schooled students like Patrick an opportunity to participate in public school sports.
Convention of the States
This week, the House Rules Committee which I chair passed a resolution calling for an Article V convention of the states. This resolution represents Virginia’s formal application to Congress for a convention of the states to consider amendments to the U.S. Constitution that impose fiscal restraints on the federal government, limit the power and jurisdiction of the federal government, and limit the terms of office for its officials and for members of Congress. I support a Convention of the States because it is long past time that we reign in the out-of-control growth of the federal government. You can read more about these efforts here.
Visitors & Events
I always appreciate it when people stop by to see me in Richmond. This week I met with the Fredericksburg Regional Chamber of Commerce, University of Mary Washington President Rick Hurley, the Commandant of the Virginia Tech Corps of Cadents as well as Jannan Holmes and Elizabeth Rehm from Fredericksburg City Schools.