How Much Have We Lost?

Friday, March 27, 2015

Annual Little Hunting Creek Cleanup April 11, 2015!


In 2007, Fairfax County named Little Hunting Creek "the trashiest creek in Fairfax County."  Three years ago we started to do something about it. 

Since the start of this annual clean up, our volunteers and I continue to work and improve the quality of our local watershed. This past year, the cleanup collected over 300 bags of trash, 17 shopping carts, carpets, a mini-car seat, a mannequin leg and a lawn chair in just 9 hours.

It is that time of the year again! I am once again teaming up with the Alison Ferguson Foundation and The Friends of Little Hunting Creek. 
 
Del. Scott Surovell’s Annual
Little Hunting Creek Cleanup
Saturday, April 11, 2015
9:00 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Hybla Valley, VA
 Please join us at one of the following locations:
  • LOCATION #1 Janna Lee Avenue BridgeFrom Route 1, turn west on Buckman Rd, Right on Janna Lee Ave., to the bridge over little Hunting Creek  
  • LOCATION #2 Creekside Village Location: Take Janna Lee Avenue all the way through Creekside Village Apartments, until terminates at the end of the parking lot 
  • LOCATION #3 At Mount Vernon Shopping PlazaMeet on Fordson Rd., beside the Duron Store at the northeast corner of Mount Vernon Plaza. Parking is available behind Shopper's Food Warehouse and the post office, or on Cyrene Drive in South Meadows Condos. DO NOT park in the limited parking in front of Duron and neighboring stores. Be sure to wear rubber boots- the easiest access is to walk in the channel.
For your safety, please wear closed toed shoes, such as tennis shoes or boots during the clean up. Additionally, we will provide light snacks throughout the day.          

 If you are interested in attending, please RSVP below so we can bring enough supplies for everyone.
 

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Endorsement of Senator Puller in 36th District

I am proud to announce that State Senator Toddy Puller has endorsed my campaign for State Senate.

Senator Puller has served the 44th and 36th Districts with distinction for 24 years.  Her passion for veterans, improving U.S. 1, education, and the legacy of George Washington will leave big shoes to fill, and I am honored to have her support.

Below is an email she sent out this afternoon on my behalf:
For 24 years I have served in the state legislature, and for the past 15 years serving the people of the 36th senatorial district. But now it is time for the next generation.
I am pleased to endorse Delegate Scott Surovell for Senate, because I know he is not only a capable leader and passionate advocate, but he is always upbeat and looking to the future.

He was one of the best chairmen the Fairfax County Democratic Committee has ever had. He created new programs and fundraising events to promote Democrats. He showed he was a capable leader willing to work with others to accomplish large goals. 
Scott grew up in Mount Vernon and graduated from West Potomac High School, but has never used that familiarity as entitlement. He takes nothing for granted and is a tireless canvasser, knocking on the doors of every one of his constituents along Rt. 1. 

Thursday, March 5, 2015

March 5, 2015 Storm Update


The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning, until 9 p.m. this evening for Northern Virginia. They expect the storm to dump 4-8 inches  of snow on the Mount Vernon area.
I have cut and pasted an excerpt from the Weather Underground's forecast as of 10:50 a.m. on the right.  You can click on it to enlarge.

The following information should help you prepare for the storm:
 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Top 20: A 2015 Legislative Summary

This is an overview of legislative highlights from the 2015 General Assembly session.  Last week, I discussed the budget and some of my bills. 

Generally speaking, this session was less contentious than the prior five regular sessions in which I have served mainly because the majority caucuses refused to hold hearings on many of the most controversial bills even though many were introduced.  Bills restricting birth control, limiting abortion, redefining fetuses as persons, limiting rights based on sexual orientation, marginalizing our newest residents and allowing guns in airports were denied hearings and votes.    

Here are some highlights.  Governor Terry McAuliffe could amend or veto these bills or parts of them.  He must  act by March 30.  My votes are in parentheses for the bills that I had an opportunity to vote on (Y/N).

#1 – Firearms Expanded
The General Assembly passed legislation to make it easier for convicted stalkers, mentally ill people and convicted felons to obtain concealed weapon permits (CWP’s) for use in Virginia (N);to require local sheriffs to process background checks for machine gun purchases (N), to ban local governments from prohibiting loaded shotguns in vehicles for CWP holders (N), and to prohibit law enforcement of most other states from electronically verifying the validity of Virginia CWP’s (N). 


Legislators rejected my legislation to prohibit people declared mentally incompetent from possessing ammunition (Y);  Governor McAuliffe’s legislation banning people subject to protective orders from possessing firearms; bills to require universal background checks for firearm purchases, restore Virginia’s “one-gun-a-month” law, and legislation suspending CWP’s when holders accumulate child support arrearages.  CWP holders currently owe at least $15 million in back child support.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Weekly Column: Budget Tweaks, Execution Secrecy and Ethics

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette and The Mt. Vernon Voice in the week of March 2, 2015.
Budget Tweaks, Execution Secrecy and Ethics
In the last week of the recent General Assembly session, we passed a budget and some of the most contentious legislation of the session.  We actually adjourned one day early on Friday, the first session in the six regular sessions in which I have served that has finished early.
 
Here's a quick rundown on several bills:
 
Four of my bills passed both houses and are with the Governor for his action.  I described them in my column last week.  I hope they will be signed into law without any amendments.

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Begging for Education Technolgy in Fairfax County

Ensuring every public school student has access to technology has been a goal of mine for the last three years. Electronic textbooks are here and the learning resources that are now online are critical resources for our children to access. 

Kids get it.  Watch this news story by Peggy Fox featuring my Janetzy Marisco where she lays it out. 


However, most school systems, including Fairfax County, have failed to prioritize funding technology purchases.  Obviously, some blame for this lies with a lack of state funding, but in jurisdictions like Fairfax County where the state only provides 20% of the school budget, waiting for the state to show up is not a plausible excuse.   

Several large Virginia jurisdictions are already purchasing computing devices for all of their students - Henrico, Albemarle, Arlington, Alexandria, and Chesterfield.  Fairfax, Prince William and Loudoun Counties continue to lag behind.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekly Column: Ninja Weapons, Shotguns and State-run Local Schools Struck

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette and The Mt. Vernon Voice in the week of February 24, 2015.
Ninja Weapons, Shotguns and State-run Local Schools Struck
In the fifth week of the General Assembly session, several of my bills moved toward passage and a few controversial bills are being debated. 
Surovell Legislation Moving
First, my legislation to protect Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit proceeds, plus child support and spousal support arrearages from creditors, passed the full Senate Courts Committee and should clear the full Senate on Monday as I write this column.  Second, my legislation to simplify the process of continuing lawsuits when parties pass away cleared the Senate last week and was sent to the Governor.
Third, my bill to waive Standards of Learning tests for elementary and secondary students with high scores on Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate tests was added to another bill to grant greater flexibility to school systems to waive Standards of Learning tests. That legislation will likely pass the Senate as well.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Weekly Column: Ethics, Electricity Bills and Budget Negotiations

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette and The Mt. Vernon Voice in the week of February 17, 2015.
Ethics, Electricity Bills and Budget Negotiations
The General Assembly is now in its fifth week of the 45-day session and starting budget negotiations.  Four of my bills are moving through the legislative process.   The Senate will consider two this week.

This past weekend about 75 people shared their views at my town hall meeting with Senators Toddy Puller and Adam Ebbin at the Mount Vernon Government Center.  We appreciate the interest and the feedback. 
 
Ethics "Reforms"
Each body passed ethics bills last week.  The legislation creates a new overall gift cap of $100 for all local and state elected officials in Virginia .  It allows an exception for educational travel approved in advance by an Ethics Advisory Council.  It also contains an exception for “widely attended events,” such as the banquets in our area for local charities, and the bill incorporates a proposal I made last session to prohibit the Governor from accepting a gift or contribution from an entity seeking a Governor’s Opportunity Fund grant.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

February, 2015 Winter Storm Information

Weather Underground Forecast as of 10:20 p.m.
The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning, from 4 p.m. Monday February 16th to noon on February 17th for Northern Virginia. They expect the storm to dump 4 or more inches of snow and sleet on the Mount Vernon area. Snowfall is expected to begin on Monday afternoon and could become heavy at times.

I have cut and pasted an excerpt from the Weather Underground's forecast as of 10:20 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 15 on the right.  You can click on it to enlarge.

Although I am in Richmond for the General Assembly Session and we will remain in session during the storm, my staff will be available to deal with problems and I will continue to post updates about outages and other information as it is available. 

The following information should help you prepare for the storm:

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Weekly Column: Bills on Protecting Child Support, SOL Flexibility, and Consumer Protection Pass

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette and The Mt. Vernon Voice in the week of February 10, 2015.
Bills on Protecting Child Support, SOL Flexibility, and Consumer Protect Pass
The third week of the “short” session of the General Assembly brings us to “Crossover.”  “Crossover” is the midpoint of the session when both houses must complete work on their own bills and begin work on bills from the other chambers.    
 
Several of my bills have moved forward.  First, last year, one of my Amundson Fellows from West Potomac High School, Colleen O’Grady, suggested that I introduce legislation allowing school systems to waive Standards of Learning (SOL) testing for students who achieved a certain score on an Advanced Placement test in the same subject.  My bill was rolled into legislation proposed by another member granting local systems more flexibility to waive SOL tests and passed the House of Delegates unanimously.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Weekly Column: Gerry Hyland, the Epitome of Public Service

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette and The Mt. Vernon Voice in the week of February 3, 2015.
Gerry Hyland, the Epitome of Public Service
At Saturday’s town hall meeting, we learned that we are losing another 28-years of public policy wisdom, seniority and experience. 
In 1987, Mount Vernon was a different place. In 1987, we had just emerged from a divisive high school merger battle driven by a decline in the number of students. Mount Vernon had seen a tsunami of homes built between 1955 and 1970 and about ten years after the construction stopped, the area found itself with thousands of aging empty nesters, fewer children and vacant schools.
U.S. 1 was blighted by over a dozen old motels, a reputation for its hard knocks and crime, two strip clubs and curiosities like Northern Virginia’s last duck pin bowling alley and the Thieves’ Market. Lorton was known for its prison, from which inmates escaped periodically, a landfill and not much else.  
In 1987 when I got my driver’s license, Mount Vernon elected a local PTA activist, former President of United Community Ministries, 30-year Air Force officer, farmer and lawyer to the Board of Supervisors on a campaign focused on nourishing schools  and closing prisons, landfills, and incinerators and bringing our area a better quality of life. That was Gerry Hyland.

FCC Changes Broadband Definition

Access to broadband is an issue in nearly every corner of the Commonwealth. 

In some areas, affordability is an issue.  In others, older buildings present problems providing access.  In rural areas, geographic and low population densities create challenges.

As the internet continues to expand and more people use it for more functions such as watching movies, the definition of broadband has been pressured as well. 

This week, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) changed its definition of broadband from 4Mbps/1Mbps to 25Mbps/3Mbps (Mbps = Megabits per second and download/upload speeds). 

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