Friday, August 13, 2021

Weekly Column: State Legislature Decides on Funds, Addresses Needs

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Connection, The Prince William Times, The Fort Hunt Herald, and Potomac Local in the week of August 13, 2021.

State Legislature Decides on Funds, Addresses Needs

On August 10, the General Assembly completed work in a special session to appropriate federal pandemic funds and elect judges. 

In March, President Joe Biden signed the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).  ARPA brought $4.3 billion in unexpected funds to Virginia but required it to be invested in specific areas such as water, sewer and broadband infrastructure to respond to the COVID-19 emergency, address pandemic impacts and provide government services suffering from revenue reductions because of the pandemic.  Unlike other counties, Fairfax County received $222 million in direct ARPA funding with similar requirements. 

Wednesday, June 2, 2021

Letter to Constituents - 2021 Session

We had a very successful 2021 General Assembly session and we passed many new laws that will be implemented in the coming months and affect those living in the 36th Senate District for decades. 

I sent a newsletter that went to many constituents and supporters.  I could not send it every household because of the cost.  If you would like to read the newsletter, I have included it here:

Friday, May 28, 2021

Investing in Southeast Fairfax Infrastructure

 Today, Delegates Kathy Tran and Paul Krizek joined me to submit a request to our federal
representatives for infrastructure investments in the U.S. 1 corridor. Please read our letter below.

We requested funding for undergrounding utilities on U.S. 1 and replacing the obsolete bridge on Old Colchester Road over Giles Run.

Our region has long suffered from underinvestment in crucial infrastructure that would spur private sector development and provide necessary access to services for our community. In the coming years, over $1 billion will be invested in the 36th District. The tide is beginning to turn but we have a long way to go. 

I am hopeful that the federal government will play a role by investing in these requests. Investments made today will pay dividends for the next generation of U.S. 1 residents and small business owners.

Earmark Request for U.S. 1 ... by Scott A. Surovell

Sunday, May 16, 2021

Weekly Column: Nominate Mark Herring for Re-Election on June 8

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Connection, The Prince William Times, The Fort Hunt Herald, and Potomac Local in the week of May 17, 2021.

Nominate Mark Herring for Re-Election on June 8

                The June 8 Democratic primary is an opportunity to vote for fairness and justice for everyone by supporting Attorney General Mark Herring. On that day, Virginians will select the Democratic Party’s nominees for Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General and several Delegates.

Republicans controlled the Attorney General’s Office for 28 years until Mark won in 2013.  While many conservatives promote the Attorney General position as Virginia’s “chief prosecutor” and prioritize prosecuting cases, most criminal justice work is done by local Commonwealth’s Attorneys.  Criminal justice work is a small fraction of the Attorney General office’s 400 attorneys and other staff’s work.  Since taking office, Mark has grown the office and refocused it to help all Virginians instead of targeting the poor.

Mark has defended legal challenges against our firearm violence prevention laws like our one-gun-a-month law, “red flag” law and universal background checks.  He issued an Attorney General’s opinion to block recognizing weak out-of-state concealed weapon permits.  He also sued to block 3D printed “ghost guns” from hitting the streets.  

Friday, May 14, 2021

River Farm Update - Attorney General Herring Weighs In

We continue meeting among our stakeholder group working out a strategy to maximize the potential that River Farm will remain in public ownership.  Here is what is going on.

You can watch the press conference with Attorney General Mark Herring, Supervisor Dan Storck and Delegate Paul Krizek here:

River Farm Press Conference With Attorney General Mark Herring

News Coverage About River Farm
Several media outlets covered Attorney General Herring's investigation of River Farm. Some of the top stories are highlighted below:

Friday, April 23, 2021

How to Bring the Blue Line To Prince William County

The Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) is conducting a survey as part of a feasibility study of enhanced public transportation services which could include options such as additional express bus services, increased VRE commuter rail expansion, Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), or an extension of Metrorail. This survey closes May 15, 2021. DRPT needs to hear that residents want enhanced public transportation options to prioritize funding.

Complete this brief 10-minute survey and have your voice heard about the potential future transit enhancements in Fairfax and Prince William counties.

YOUR COMMENTS ARE NEEDED.  Please complete these comment forms, tell the DRPT how critical these projects are for our community and Northern Virginia.

Save the date and register to attend the upcoming public meeting on May 4 by using this link:

https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZcoduygqzksHNwcHLeexgQ39YCNsqj3ZCyw 

As always, please reach out to my office at 571-249-4484 or district36@senate.virginia.gov if you have questions or ideas about things we can do to serve the community better.

It is an honor to serve you in Richmond. 

Monday, April 12, 2021

Weekly Column: General Assembly Legalizes Limited Adult Possession of Small Amounts of Marijuana

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Connection, The Prince William Times, The Fort Hunt Herald, and Potomac Local in the week of April 12, 2021.

General Assembly Legalizes Limited Adult Possession of Small Amounts of Marijuana

               This past week, we returned to Richmond for Reconvened Session or Veto Session to consider Governor Northam’s amendments to the state budget and legislation passed during the session.  The Governor vetoed no bills.

               The bill that received the most attention was marijuana legalization.  The bill that passed during the session created a new Virginia Cannabis Control Authority and a series of governing and advisory boards.  During the regular session, there were major differences between the chambers.  We eventually agreed on legislation that repealed civil penalties on adult possession of small amounts of marijuana effective January 1, 2024. 

After we adjourned, we continued our discussions and eventually Governor Northam’s proposed amendments that moved that date up to July 1, 2021.  This was approved largely along party lines.   

Monday, April 5, 2021

Comment on GW Parkway Traffic Safety Changes

 As Mount Vernon Residents know, the GW Parkway is a community jewel but has become increasingly dangerous due to vehicle and pedestrian conflicts with increased traffic.

Elected leaders in the area have been laser focused on finding solutions and working with the National Park Service (NPS) to make improvements. As part of National Park System, the Virginia Department of Transportation does not have jurisdiction over construction so we have been working closely with our federal representatives - Congressman Beyer and Senators Warner and Kaine. Senator Ebbin, Del. Krizek and I have also written several local news columns about the challenges our constituents face on the Parkway.

Surovell: Let’s Work Together to Solve GW Parkway’s Traffic Problem, Fort Hunt Herald (July 15, 2019)
‘Parkway Problems Will Get Worse’, Mt. Vernon Gazette, (May 24, 2017)

The NPS has been engaged in an ongoing safety study to come with solutions, held two public meetings and solicited comments.  In July of 2019, I wrote comments to the National Park Service with my ideas for how to improve the Parkway. After receiving comments from the community, I sent an updates letter. Both of those letters are posted below. 

The NPS just released their proposed safety improvements today.  You can read the full report here:

NPS: GW Parkway Traffic And Safety Context Sensitive Solution Assessment
NPS GW Parkway Study Appendices 

Saturday, April 3, 2021

New Opportunities For Virginia's Oldest Town

In February, Colonial Downs announced a $389 million resort gaming emporium complex in Dumfries called “The Rose.” It has the potential to transform the Town of Dumfries and is part of a larger effort to transform Eastern Prince William County into a series of waterfront mixed-use villages and parks connected by the extension of the Blue Line and the Virginia Railway Express, including Occoquan, Belmont, Potomac Shores, Dumfries and Quantico.  

Twenty years from now, these communities will become destination neighborhoods that anchor Prince William County’s social fabric and tax base and connect Northern Virginians to the Potomac River in ways we can only imagine today.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Weekly Column: Major Bills of the 2021 Session

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Connection, The Prince William Times, The Fort Hunt Herald, and Potomac Local in the week of March 24, 2021.

                 Last week, I wrote about the legislation I carried in the 2021 Session.  In this column, I focus on other major bills that were considered.

                Marijuana legalization consumed a huge amount of work this session.  Governor Northam put together a work group that proposed a 13,000-line, 264-page bill that was very comprehensive and carried by Senator Adam Ebbin.  However, it became clear very early in the session that it was going to be very difficult to consider all of the details and much of the bill was carried over.

                We have many issues to work out.  Specifically, there were concerns about how much cross-ownership to allow between growers, manufacturers and retailers or whether to allow licensees in our medical markets to participate in retail markets or whether to allow hemp growers to also grow marijuana.  We need to consider whether or how to allow people to grow marijuana in their homes.  We also need to discuss creating a licensing structure which allows all communities to grow wealth and share in the profits and not just well capitalized companies.

Monday, March 22, 2021

Saving River Farm Update #5

Our efforts to save historic River Farm are intensifying.  The 28-acre, Potomac riverfront property is a rare jewel in Northern Virginia that should be saved and not developed.

In November, the current owner, the American Horticultural Society (AHS) listed River Farm on the market for $32.9 million.  This value was presumably premised on an appraisal that assumed the  property could be significantly subdivided.  In reality, River Farm is protected by a two-acre easement with the National Park Service (NPS) on its East Boulevard Drive frontage and a ten-acre easement along the Potomac River frontage that was granted to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation in 1978.

Monday, March 15, 2021

House/Senate Announcement for Judicial Vetting for Court of Appeals of Virginia

Court of Appeals of Virginia

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair John Edwards and House Courts of Justice Committee Chair Charniele Herring have released the following letter regarding the process for vetting for seven vacancies on the Court of Appeals of Virginia.

Interested applicants should apply for vetting as set forth in the letter.



Court of Appeals of Virgini... by Scott A. Surovell