Thursday, January 12, 2012

Weekly Column: My 2012 Agenda: Transportation, Economic Development, Sunshine & Consumer Protection

This column appeared in the Mount Vernon Gazette, Mt. Vernon Voice and Patch on January 5, 2012: 
My 2012 Agenda: Transportation, Economic Development, Sunshine & Consumer Protection

On January 11, 2012 at noon, the Virginia General Assembly kicked off the 2012 Session. Last week, I wrote about an overall preview of the session. This week, I am writing about my legislation which you can view online at or my website

Congestion on U.S. 1, the extension of the Yellow & Blue Lines, and economic development is the top priority for our area. Congestion on Route 1 affects not just our commutes, but economic development, job creation, the neighborhood revitalization, local school performance, the quality of our local environment, and the value of our homes. Route 1 will not be improved until we get a fair share of construction funding.
The Commonwealth Transportation Board (“CTB”) decides which transportation projects to fund in Virginia. Ten of eighteen commissioners represent transportation districts based on 1930 congressional districts, plus a Northern Virginia District added in the 1980’s after they figured out it was time for us to leave the Culpepper District.

Today, 65% of the state’s population has 33% of the votes on the CTB. My legislation requires representation by congressional district. I have introduced this every year since I was elected. This year, two senators and three Republican delegates are copying my bill and introducing similar or identical legislation.

I have a series of bills on government transparency or open government. Virginia is one of fifteen states that does not have electronic or video recording of committee and subcommittee meetings. Most legislative work is done in committee. My bill would require committee business to be done on the record, recorded and put on the internet so that if can be accessible to everyone.

I have introduced bills requiring legislators to disclose any tax credits they claim so voters can connect the dots between votes and personal interests. I’m attempting to adjust gift and contribution deadlines so voters can see most special interest gifts received before an election and the start of session. Today, special interests can give a trip over the summer before an election and it is not disclosed until December 31. Someone can also make a contribution between January 1 and January 11 and it is not reported until April or July. That’s wrong.

The Governor has proposed to limit childcare assistance for low-income families to five years per family. Fairfax County believes this will throw thousands of our families off of childcare assistance. While cutting off families is one way to shorten the 20,000-family waiting list it is an unfair tactic that violates the spirit of the 1990’s welfare reforms which encouraged mothers to work. Childcare readies children for kindergarten and dramatically improves performance in school. Limiting childcare assistance will hurt hundreds of families in the 44th District.

I am re- introducing legislation to authorize Virginia to pay rewards to individuals who whistleblow on tax cheats and new legislation requiring homeowner associations to post their covenants, bylaws and rules on their website so home shoppers can see them without first having to make an offer on a property.

Finally, I am introducing legislation to encourage solar energy, facilitate mental health services at community colleges, streamline voter registration, provide no excuse absentee voting for seniors, protect consumers from predatory towing companies, prohibit the private publication of expunged criminal convictions, and protecting the benefits of our public safety professionals who are disabled in the line of duty.


I hope you can attend my Town Hall Meeting with Senator Toddy Puller at the Mt. Vernon Government Center, 2511 Parkers Lane, Alexandria, VA 22306 on Saturday, January 14, at 10:00 a.m. You can also fill out my constituent survey at, email feedback to me at or provide it via my website. You can always read more about my views on issues or what is going on at my blog The Dixie Pig – – where I have posted over 260 articles over the last two years.

Thank you for the opportunity to serve for another two years. It is an honor to be your state delegate.

No comments:

Post a Comment