How Much Have We Lost?

Monday, February 27, 2017

Weekly Column: 2017 General Assembly Session In the Books!

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice, and the Potomac and Stafford Locals in the week of February 27, 2017.
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.

Monday, February 20, 2017

2017 Fairfax County Town Hall Videos and Recap

On February 11, I had approximately 200 Fairfax County residents attend my Mount Vernon Town Hall held at the Walt Whitman Middle School and my Lee District Town Hall held at Hayfield Elementary School, both in Alexandria. I was joined by Senator Adam Ebbin and Delegate Paul Krizek in Mount Vernon.  In Lee District, I was joined by Senator George Barker, Delegate Mark Sickles, Delegate Krizek, and Delegate Vivian Watts.

At these events, I spoke in detail on my legislative goals, the status of my introduced legislation and answered questions from attendees.
Senator Surovell at Hayfield Elementary


Some of the topics of discussion were:

Supporting our Immigrant Communities
Coal Ash/Water Quality Issues
LGBTQ Rights
Environmental Concerns
Public Education Funding 
                                Mental Health Funding

There was excellent turnout and good question from the attendees.

If you were in able to attend, check out videos of the town halls below! You will be able to learn about my legislative agenda in-depth, the 2017 General Assembly legislative session, and hear your community's questions!

Mount Vernon:

Lee District:






Weekly Column: Coal Ash Bill Passes, Computers and Predatory Lending to be Studied

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice, and the Potomac and Stafford Locals in the week of February 20, 2017.
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.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Weekly Column: Senate Budget, Town Halls and AirBnB

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice, and the Potomac and Stafford Locals in the week of February 13, 2017.
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.

Monday, February 6, 2017

Weekly Column: Progress On Water Quality & 2% Teacher Pay Raise Proposed

The following is my column that will appear in the Mt. Vernon Gazette, Springfield Gazette, The Mt. Vernon Voice, and the Potomac and Stafford Locals in the week of February 6, 2017.
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.

Saturday, February 4, 2017

2017 Puller Institute Fellows

When I moved across the hall in the State Capitol from the House of Delegates to the Senate. One of the things, I was most proud to bring with me was my practice of bringing a group of high school students from my district to Richmond each session to learn how their state government works.

The Puller Institute, named for my predecessor in the 36th District, Toddy Puller, and the Amundson Institute that I had as a Delegate, have always been very successful.  The 2017 Puller Institute was no exception.

This year's Puller Institute Fellows were:
  • Jacob Raman (West Potomac HS)
  • Amanda Ghiloni (West Potomac HS)
  • Celia Lane (West Potomac HS)
  • Mark Weil (West Potomac HS)
  • Mary Peterson (West Potomac HS)
  • Malcom Johnson (Forest Park HS)
  • Ian Peverall (Mount Vernon HS)
  • Kiley Finnerin (Mountain View HS).

Thursday, February 2, 2017

2017 Prince William County Town Hall Videos and Recap

This past weekend, I had over 100 Prince William County residents attend my Northern Prince William County Town Hall held at the Occoquan Town Hall and my Southern Prince William County Town Hall at Forest Park High School in Montclair.

Senator Surovell at Occoquan Town Hall
During this time, I spoke in depth about my legislative priorities, my proposed legislation and answered questions.

Some of the topics discussed were:

Hands Free Driving
Medicaid Expansion
The State Budget
Firearm Violence Prevention Legislation
Environmental Concerns
Transportation Funding
Public Education Funding 
Green Energy

We saw excellent attendance and good questions.

If you were unable to make these town halls, check out my videos that recorded both events. You will be able to learn about my legislative agenda in-depth, the 2017 General Assembly legislative session, and hear your community's questions!

Check out videos of the town halls below!



Northern Prince William County:


Southern Prince William County:














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