Thursday, January 28, 2016

HOT Lanes and Tolling Fairness

This weekend, I was working on our family budget for 2016 and I was going through my spending from last year.  I noticed that between January and April 15, I had no charges on my EZ Pass account.

However, when I got back from Richmond and started campaigning, I spent a lot of time up and down I-95 to knock doors and attend events in Woodbridge, Dumfries and Stafford County.  Between April 13 and the end of the year, I had spent $1,137.07 on tolls. 

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Interview on Cable Reports with Delegate Torian

Last week, I was also honored to sit for an interview with Woody Evans on Cable Reports along with Prince William Delegate Luke Torian. 

During the interview we were able to discuss our legislative agenda including my legislation to create tolling fairness, extend the Blue Line to Lorton, Woodbridge, Potomac Mills and Dumfries, reform predatory lending, and promote transparency in Virginia government.

Thank you to Comcast Cable and Cable Reports for having me on again!

Monday, January 25, 2016

Weekly Column: Week #2: Reigning in Predatory Towing, Equality for Women, and Budget Requests

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice and The Potomac-Stafford Local in the week of January 25, 2016.
Week #2: Reigning in Predatory Towing, Equality for Women, and Budget Requests 
Aside from the snowstorm of the century, this week brought the start of consideration of legislation and initial work on our state budget. 
Four of my bills were acted on this week.  First, earlier this year, Congress passed the Surface Transportation Board Reauthorization Act of 2015.  Congressman Don Beyer successfully included an amendment that confirmed state and local governments’ authority to regulate towing which had been in doubt. 

Sunday, January 24, 2016

Interview on This Week in Richmond

This past week, I was honored to be invited by David Bailey to sit on This Week in Richmond which airs on Public Television along with State Senator Jeremy McPike from Prince William County.

We covered what is expected this session, highlights of our legislative agenda, our new committees, and our new districts.  I discussed my legislation on removing collateral consequences, coal ash, commuter fairness, and other issues.

Thanks to David Bailey and This Week in Richmond for having us! 

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Major Storm and Rescheduled Town Hall Information

***UPDATE Sunday, 1/24/16 5:00 P.M.***

VDOT advises that they are now moving into cleaning up the 16,000 neighborhood streets in Northern Virginia that are impacted.

Here's a video from VDOT on how to properly clear your driveway to avoid having to shovel a second time.

***UPDATE Sunday, 1/24/16 3:00 P.M.***
We just got off a telephone conference with the Governor's staff who is the Emergency Command Center.
  • Virginia is still in response operations. 
  • All snow moved out as of midnight.  No snow accumulation is projected for next 72 hours.  Temperature is rising.  There is a limited spotty icing forecast. 
  • Please stay off the roads for another day or two unless you absolutely have to get out.
  • Please be careful outside.  EMT's will be very busy with broken arms, wrist, legs, etc. in this kind of weather.
  • There have been five fatalities relating to the storm.  Some from crashes and some exertion related heart attacks.
  • VDOT is still reporting 900 roadways impacted. 
  • Dulles and National Airports are still closed to flights.  Richmond Airport is opening today. 
  • All Amtrak service is closed.  There's limited service going north to Boston.
  • D.C. Metro remains closed.
  • Power companies are reporting only 738 customers out of power.  We are well below average and were very fortunate with this storm.
  • State Police have responded to 6,800 incidents since this started.  1,400 traffic accidents and 2,000 disabled vehicles.
  • National Guard is out on 29 active missions.  They will probably be active through Tuesday. 
  • Down to 30 local states of emergency. 
  • Over a dozen localities hit record-high snow falls and we might be eligible for a Presidential Disaster Declaration.
  • There have been 25 confirmed structural collapses around the state including the Redskins practice bubble in Ashburn and most serious is an apartment in Prince William County that displaced 55 people, and an elderly home in Fairfax County.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Weekly Column: My Committees and Legislative Agenda Part II

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice and The Potomac-Stafford Local in the week of January 17, 2016.
My Committees and Legislative Agenda Part II
Last week, the 2016 General Assembly gaveled into action and I became your State Senator for Virginia’s 36th District.
New Committees
The Rules Committee assigned me to three committees. (1)  The Local Government Committee considers legislation addressing land use, zoning and local government.  (2) The Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee has jurisdiction over the safety net programs, prisons, alcoholic beverage regulation and childcare.  (3) The General Laws and Technology Committee examines bills affecting homeowners associations, gambling, professional occupation regulation, procurement and the Freedom of Information Act.  Each of these has jurisdiction over issues  critical to the quality of life in our area. 

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Weekly Column: My 2016 Legislative Agenda: Part I

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice and The Potomac-Stafford Local in the week of December 29, 2015.
My 2016 Legislative Agenda: Part I
On January 13, 2016, I take my oath of office as your state senator.  I am planning on introducing approximately forty bills and about a dozen budget amendments in our sixty day session.

Predatory Lending
Predatory lending is a major problem in the U.S. 1 Corridor.  Car title lenders have been abusing this loophole by charging rates over 200% by recharacterizing car title loans as separately regulated car title loans.   To reign in car title lender bait and switch tactics, I am proposing to limit interest rates on consumer finance loans at 36%.  I have also introduced legislation to prohibit car title lenders from using subsidiaries from using the open end credit loophole to also evade consumer protections.