News from Richmond, January 30, 2012

We are now in the heart of the 2012 General Assembly Session. Between subcommittee and committee meetings to House floor sessions, we are working hard considering bills filed by our colleagues and advancing legislation we have introduced.  It sometimes makes for a breakneck pace, and it can occasionally be challenging just to keep on track.

Telephone Town Hall

On Monday, January 23rd, I hosted a telephone town hall and was able to connect with over 11,000 households across the 98th District. The participants on the call asked great questions ranging from Sunday Hunting to Ballot Access Requirement. Through the use of the polling feature, I was able to get feedback on a number of bills I will likely be voting on later in the Session. I would like to publicly thank everyone who participated and hope that you will be able to join us for our next telephone town hall that will be held in mid March.

 

Improving Care for the Intellectually Disabled

This week, Virginia took a big step forward to improve the care for some of our most vulnerable citizens, those with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

On Thursday, Governor McDonnell announced that Virginia will move forward with the transition to community-based care by adding 4,710 new Intellectual Disability (ID) waiver slots and closing four of the five training centers around the state. This is long-overdue news for many families across the Commonwealth who are waiting for an ID waiver. An ID waiver funds services to help individuals with an intellectual disability remain in the community and avoid institutional care. Since 2002, the General Assembly has increased the number of ID waiver slots by about 58 percent, from about 5,386 slots to 8,467 slots currently. Last year, Virginia invested $30 million into a trust fund to begin the process of transitioning those with intellectual disabilities from institutional care to community-based care.

The Governor’s announcement came as Virginia reached a settlement agreement with the Department of Justice regarding Virginia’s compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the 1999 Supreme Court decision in the Olmstead case

Golf Carts for Town of Urbanna

I introduced HB-119 which would allow golf carts to be used in the town of Urbanna. Click here for video from floor of House – Video of HB-119 – Golf Carts for the Town of Urbanna

On Wednesday, we had visitors from Rappahannock Community College – click here for video – Video of Floor annoucement

 

Links of Interest

Jan. 23

House Republicans Caucus Unveils K-12 Public Education Agenda for the 2012 Session

House GOP Caucus on K-12 Public Education

Private Sector Innovation Wanted for Transportation Operations Centers

Gov Statement on Transportation

 

Jan. 25

Governor McDonnell Announces “Governor’s Bowl” Food and Fund Drive

Gov Statement on Governo’s Bowl

 

Jan. 26

Governor McDonnell Announces 31 New Jobs in King and Queen County

Gov Statement on new jobs in King & Queen County

Governor McDonnell Announces Settlement Agreement with the U.S. Department of Justice on Virginia’s Intellectual and Developmental Disability System

GovStatement on Disability

Statement of Governor Bob McDonnell on News that the President will Request Congress Authorize Use of BRAC Process to Identify Savings

Gov Statement on BRAC

 

Contact Me

As always, my staff and I are here in Richmond to serve you. We want to hear what you think about the legislation pending before the House, or if there’s anything we can do to help you in dealing with a state government agency. My office can be reached at (804) 698-1098 or via the Internet at email me.  If you are planning to visit Richmond during Session, I encourage you to visit me in Room 821.

 

Thank you again for allowing me to serve as your Delegate.

Keith

 

January 30, 2012 |

News from Richmond – Jan 20, 2012

This was truly an exciting first couple weeks for me as I, along with my 99 colleagues in the House of Delegates, took my oath of office as the Delegate from the 98th House District.  Video – My Swearing in

It truly was an honor and a privilege to officially become your voice on the floor of the House of Delegates, and it is a moment I will never forget.

Governor’s State of the Commonwealth Address
In his speech on Wednesday night, Governor McDonnell set out a bold agenda in his State of the Commonwealth address. Governor McDonnell also challenged Republicans and Democrats in both chambers to work together for the benefit of all Virginians. A number of the proposals he laid out in his speech will likely receive bipartisan support, such as initiatives to continue to help businesses create new jobs and opportunities, a $200 million investment in our colleges and universities to expand enrollment at an affordable cost, and a record $2.2 billion investment in the Virginia Retirement System (VRS) for our teachers and state employees.

Of course, not all of the Governor’s proposals will enjoy bipartisan support, and there will be spirited debate about those proposals; however, I believe those disagreements will not lead to the partisan gridlock we see in Washington.
In case you were unable to watch the Governor’s address live, below are links to the text and video from the Governor’s State of the
Commonwealth Address.

Text from State of the Commonwealth:  Txt of Governor McDonnell Speech
Video link to State of the Commonwealth: Video link of Governor Speech

Committee Assignments
Speaker Bill Howell announced Members’ committee assignments for the 2012 session, appointing me to the Committee on Counties Cities and Towns, the Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions.

The Committee on Health, Welfare and Institutions has broad authority related to government reform, occupational licensing and health issues, among others. This committee often considers legislation essential to openness and transparency in government and ensures that the government doesn’t compete with the private sector.

This session, I have introduced nine bills for consideration. My 2012 Legislation  Several bills were introduced at the request or suggestion of constituents. I hope you will take a moment to review these bills and send me your comments. Please take a few minutes to take my online survey. Click Here

Uranium Mining
On Thursday, Governor McDonnell announced that he will not seek legislation to lift the moratorium on uranium mining in Virginia until a pending a comprehensive study of the issue is completed by a newly-created multi-agency state workgroup. Uranium mining has been a widely discussed topic over the past year, but more time is needed to ensure that the uranium can be mined safely. While uranium mining offers a potential positive economic impact for Southside and the entire state, the safety of all Virginians must come first. I applaud Governor McDonnell for continuing to gather information before asking for the ban to be lifted.

Governor Unveils 2012 Public Safety Agenda
House Republicans understand the importance of keeping our families safe. A number of delegates are working with Governor McDonnell and fellow delegates on McDonnell’s 2012 Public Safety Agenda. Highlights of the Governor’s agenda include legislation to provide tough mandatory minimum sentences for repeat drug dealers, and life sentences for sex offenders who prey on children; further protect victims of crime; streamline procedures for Virginia’s asset forfeiture laws; and, strengthen the response to emergencies and ensure maximum protection for victims.

Links of Interest
Governor McDonnell’s statement on Uranium Mining:
Governor McDonnell’s statement on Uranium
Governor Announces results of Task Force on Local Mandate Review
Governor Announces results of Task Force

Contact Me
As always, my staff and I are here in Richmond to serve you. We want to hear what you think about the legislation pending before the House, or if there’s anything we can do to help you in dealing with a state government agency. My office can be reached at (804) 698-1098 or via the Internet Email me Here.
Thank you again for allowing me to serve as your Delegate.

It is an honor to represent the people of the 98th district in the Virginia House of Delegates and to sit in your chair and work at your desk in the Capitol that was designed by Thomas Jefferson. If you are in Richmond in the coming weeks, please stop by our office, room 821, in the General Assembly Building and say hello.

Keith

January 23, 2012 |