|Possum Point Coal Ash Ponds - 120 acres|
- Possum Point, Dumfries, VA
- Bremo Station, Bremo, VA
- Chesterfield Station, Chesterfield, VA
- Chesapeake Energy Center, Chesapeake, VA
The online newsletter for Senator Scott Surovell. The Dixie Pig was my grandmother's favorite restaurant on U.S. 1 located across from Beacon Mall where a Rite Aid now stands.
|Possum Point Coal Ash Ponds - 120 acres|
Virginia General Assembly Approved New PoliciesLast week, I reported on my accomplishments in the recent session of the General Assembly. This week, I am highlighting a few other important policy changes coming to Virginia because of our action.First, we passed several bills addressing the ongoing opioid crisis which is causing carnage across Virginia. Community organizations will be authorized tothat possess the counter-overdose drug naloxone and after 2020 opioid prescriptions will only be allowed to be transmitted electronically to minimize forgery risk. We passed legislation authorizing Virginia to sign onto the Interstate Metro Safety Compact. This was absolutely necessary not only because of Metro’s ongoing problems, but to ensure that Metro continues to receive critical federal funding.I have heard from several communities about problems created by AirBnB, a company that allows people to temporarily rent rooms or their homes. In some areas, neighbors feel like residential properties have become hotels. We passed legislation to confirm that localities’ can regulate these temporary rentals. The bill also authorizes localities to create registries for people renting their rooms for fewer than 30 days and to fine abusers.
2017 General Assembly Session In the Books!
In the 2017 General Assembly session, which ended on February 25, we were able to make some progress in spite of a $1.1 billion budget shortfall.
First, we approved amendments to the state’s biennial budget. After drawing on a $560 million Rainy Day Fund, the budget funds the state share of a long-overdue two percent salary increase for teachers, a three percent raise for state employees, and a $7,000-per-year increase in starting salaries ($36,000) for state troopers. As always, we met our constitutional obligation to balance the budget.
Coal Ash Bill Passes, Computers and Predatory Lending to be Studied
We have one week to go in session and negotiations are rapidly reaching conclusion as we push to finish out work so we can get back to our families and our jobs.
This past week, my legislation to raise Virginia’s threshold between misdemeanors and felonies from $200 to $500 failed. Virginia’s threshold has not changed since 1981. Our existing system unnecessarily focuses police and prosecutors on minor crimes instead of violent crime while tainting thousands of Virginia’s suffering from depression or drug addiction with felony charges for life.
The House of Delegates passed my legislation requiring Dominion to provide better information on coal ash pollution, disaster preparedness, and recycling. I am not happy that a permitting moratorium was removed, it is better than no bill at all and the Governor will also have a chance to amend the legislation.
Crossover week of the 2017 Session came to a close as we finished initial action on over 3,000 bills. Twenty-two of my bills of were passed by the Senate and moved on to the House of Delegates.
My two Saturday Town Hall meetings had the largest crowds I have seen in eight years. There was significant concern regarding federal immigration raids on U.S. 1. On Friday, I received alarming reports that Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) had arrested numerous Latinos in a raid on U.S.1. While the deportation of convicted felons has been consistent policy, random street sweeps and arrest or deportations of law abiding residents is unprecedented in our community. I will work to get better information and seek to stop these actions.
The last week of January was especially busy as the General Assembly approached February 7th – Crossover – the day we are required to complete all work on bills originating in our chamber. The bills saved for last usually involve the hardest issues to resolve.
Out of the 40 bills I introduced twenty-two have passed the Senate or are poised for passage before Crossover.Last week saw another victory for water quality. This session, I introduced three bills to help control water pollution caused by coal ash. One of my bills was reported by the Senate Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee over the objection of Dominion Power. The bill prohibits the issuance of any final permits until Dominion to identifies and describes all water pollution occurring at coal ash ponds and demonstrate corrective measures, evaluate coal ash removal or “clean closure,” and demonstrate that leaving coal ash in place or “cap in place” will not put the community at risk during hurricanes, floods or other major weather events.
|Senator Surovell at Occoquan Town Hall|
Week #3: Town Halls, Cycling Safety and Tuition TransparencyWeek three saw our General Assembly in full swing and movement on many bills.First, over 100 residents came out for my two Town Halls in Prince William County. There were many questions about my “hand’s free” legislation, coal ash legislation, increasing teacher salaries, tuition affordability, predatory lending, and other issues.Thirteen of my bills have either passed or are poised for passage out of the Senate this week, ten bills were rejected, and sixteen are still awaiting action in committee. One day, I had to defend eleven different bills in committee in addition to attending a floor session and two committees.Two cycling safety bills passed this week. First, one bill clarifies that no motor vehicle can use a bicycle lane to pass another vehicle on the right. More bike lanes are being constructed across Virginia and our traffic code does not clearly prohibit the interplay between these lanes and passing on the right using pavement. Cutting into a bike lane to pass on the right can be deadly and needs to be illegal.