Tuesday, January 28, 2014

44th District 2013 Healthcare Statistics

At my Town Hall Meeting on Saturday, January 26, 2014, one constituent asked if I knew the number of Virginians who has signed up for health insurance on the new Federal Healthcare Exchange.

Here are the numbers I was given by the Federal Department of Health and Human Services.
  • Total Number of Completed Applications - 102,282
  • Total Individuals Applying for Coverage in Completed Applications - 164,144
  • Total Eligible to Enroll in a Marketplace Plan - 142,719
  • Eligible to Enroll in a Marketplace Plan with Financial Assistance - 63,705
  • Determined or Assessed Eligible for Medicaid/CHIP by the Marketplace - 17,307
  • Pending Applications - 4,118
  • Number of Individuals Who Have Selected a Marketplace Plan - 44,676
I also recently received new Medicaid statistics for the 44th District.  I have uploaded the summary for the 44th District which can be viewed below.  For whatever it's worth, the 44th District now has the second-highest Medicaid population in Fairfax County and the third highest in Northern Virginia (after HD52 (21%) (Woodbridge/Dale City) and HD37 (17%) (Bailey's Crossroads)).  

Weekly Column: Hybrid Tax Repealed, Senate Shakeup, Improving Electricity Reliability, Guns & Death Penalty

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice and Patch in the week of January 28, 2014.
Hybrid Tax Repealed, Senate Shakeup, Improving Electricity Reliability, Guns & Death Penalty

The second week of the General Assembly Session saw the end of the Hybrid Tax, sharpening rhetoric on Medicaid, debate on firearms safety and the death penalty, and brought clarity on the composition of the Senate.

First, the House voted to repeal the Hybrid Tax 89-9.  Both Chambers have now approved repeal.  We must pass each other’s bills after crossover and the Governor has indicated that he will sign the legislation.  I am pleased the legislature has listened to the 7,500 people who signed the petition gathered by myself and Senator Ebbin. 

My budget amendment to provide $4 million of funding for the preliminary engineering of U.S. 1 road and transit improvements was given its first hearing.  The Co-Chair of the Mt. Vernon Council of Citizens, Jim Davis, testified in favor and the Mt. Vernon-Lee Chamber of Commerce provided a letter in support.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Weekly Column: Hybrid Tax Repeal On the Way & Legislation Starts to Move

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice and Patch in the week of January 12, 2014.
Hybrid Tax Repeal On the Way & Legislation Starts to Move

The General Assembly is now in full swing with action on major bills starting to move through.

The first bill I introduced was the repeal of the $64/year tax on hybrid vehicles – HB4.  In the last few days, the Senate approved the repeal of the Hybrid Tax.  A vote by the full house comes later this week.  The Hybrid Tax was passed as a very small part of last year’s transportation legislation.  Senator Adam Ebbin and I led a petition drive that collected over 7,500 signatures demanding repeal.  Governor McAuliffe supports repeal and it appears that this will move through with little opposition.  I am pleased that common sense has carried the day.

I have also continued to work on continued funding for the process of reinventing U.S. 1.  At our Northern Virginia delegation meeting, I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the new Commissioner of the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) is Charles Kilpatrick.  Mr. Kilpatrick is a 1983 graduate of Mt. Vernon High School and also attended Walt Whitman Intermediate School and Washington Mill Elementary after growing up off Old Mill Road.  I had a great conversation with him this week and he is very aware of U.S. 1’s challenges.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Marriage Equality Hearing Tomorrow!

In the wake of the Windsor decision, I posted an article on this blog about the history of gay marriage discrimination in Virginia.

Part of this was because the media continues to report that the Marshall-Newman Amendment passed in 2006 banned gay marriage in Virginia.  That is not correct. The ban dates to 1975 and is contained in the Code of Virginia.  The Marshall-Newman Amendment reaffirms the ban and constitutionalizes it.  Removing the language from the Constitution of Virginia will not legalize gay marriage in Virginia without removing it from the Code - it will only make it possible.

Last year, I introduced legislation to repeal the Marshall-Newman Amendment.  It died in subcommittee on a party-line vote.

This year, the leadership of the House of Delegates has announced that they are not going to provide hearings for any first reference constitutional amendments (amendments that have not been passed in prior sessions).  However, I introduced legislation (HB 939) to remove both (1) the prohibition on same sex marriage and (2) the prohibition on recognition of out-of-state gay marriages or civil unions from the Code of Virginia.

The legislation will be heard Monday, January 19, 2014 after the floor session in the Courts of Justice Civil Subcommittee.

There are many reasons to support gay marriage in Virginia and I have created an infographic at the below highlighting the five of the best reasons (click to enlarge).

Delegate Scott Surovell's Top Five Reasons to Support Marriage Equality
If you would like to spread the word, go to my official Facebook Page and share the image around Facebook to build support before the hearing!

You can also email the members of the Courts of Justice Civil Subcommittee whose information can be found here:

Preliminary 2014 Constituent Survey Results!

Nearly 200 responses are in electronically with about 500 about to drop in from the mail.  Here are some of the preliminary results.  Click on the button below for your voice to be heard!

The 22308 and 22309 zip codes dominates the responses so far as usual:
  • 32% live in 22309 (Mt. Vernon/Woodlawn/Janna Lee)
  • 30% live in 22308 (Fort Hunt)
  • 20% live in 22306 (Sherwood/Hybla Valley)
  • 9% live in 22307 (Bellehaven/Hollin Hills)
  • 2% in 22315 (Hayfield)
  • 16% lives in other zip codes (22315, 22303, 22060, 22042)
Here's some results from prior surveys:
Find out preliminary results for this survey below the flip!    

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The Retirement of Congressman Jim Moran

January 15, 2014

Statement of Delegate Scott Surovell on the Retirement of Congressman Jim Moran 

The retirement of Congressman Jim Moran is a huge loss to Virginia.  Congressman Moran has been a passionate advocate for improving the quality of life of Northern Virginians since his election in 1990 over Republican Congressman Stan Parris in what was then a swing congressional seat.

Many credited his 1990 election as turning on the emerging issue of women's reproductive rights.  Since that time, Congressman Moran has been a steadfast supporter of women's rights to make their own healthcare decisions and determine their own economic futures.  

Our federal workforce has no fiercer advocate.  Congressman Moran has been a solid bullwark against attempts to use federal workforce salaries as a piggy bank for other budget priorities and attempts to demonize federal workers who work every day to do the work of the United States of America.   

The Mt. Vernon Bike Trail, George Washington Memorial Parkway and Dyke Marsh are better places and will continue to be our community's crown jewels due to Congressman Moran's stewardship including a $25 million grant that Congressman Moran just secured to restore wetlands.  

Fort Belvoir and the U.S. 1 Corridor have lost a champion.  The $180 million grant Congressman Moran secured to improve U.S. 1 will start construction in a few months.  After the I-95 HOT Lanes, it will be the largest road construction project in Northern Virginia, will benefit millions of people for decades, facilitate access to Fort Belvoir, improve South County and Mount Vernon's quality of life, and create thousands of jobs for decades to come.   

Finally, Congressman Moran has also been a strong advocate for progressive values.  He truly understands the consequences of growing income disparities, the lack of investment in our social safety net, and the policy distortions further facilitated by Citizens United case.  Over the last twenty years, Congressman Moran has remained unbowed in his call for social justice.  

In his first term in 1991, Congressman Moran gave me one of my first jobs as a intern, and I have counted on him as a mentor and supporter of my own efforts since I first ran for office in 2009.  Above all I count on him as a friend.  

With Congressman Moran's retirement, Northern Virginia has lost one of its champions.  We will all miss him.  

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Weekly Column: 2014 Session Focuses on Ethics, Medicaid and U.S. 1

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice and Patch in the week of January 12, 2014.
2014 Session Focuses on Ethics, Medicaid and U.S. 1
On January 8, 2014 ,the 2014 General Assembly Session was gavelled into session and I took my third oath of office. 
The biggest issues on the horizon right now are ethics reform and the expansion of Medicaid.  Governor McDonnell’s problems over the last twelve months have shown a spotlight on Virginia’s inadequate gift, disclosure, and campaign finance law. 
Two months ago, I wrote a column with six changes that are critical including reporting gifts and transactions between special interests and elected officials’ family members and businesses, caps on gifts to elected officials including local government officials, campaign contributions limits, disclosure of all activity during twelve month periods, restrictions on spending campaign money on personal expenses, and creating an independent ethics commission with audit and enforcement powers.