Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Kingtowne/Beluah Corridor Monthly Column: 2018 Session Wrap Up

The following will appear in next month's Kingstonian Magazine and Beulah Corridor monthly magazine.

This year, I had a relatively successful session.  I passed 13-14 pieces of legislation including bills to lower fees for security freezes on credit reports, facilitate child testimony at abuse proceedings, provide juvenile court judges discretion to reduce charges if children rehabilitate, allow courts to withhold for spousal support, providing local government funds for commercial transit corridor utility undergrounding, and education children about the dangers of sexting. 

My bill to raise Virginia’s lowest-in-nation misdemeanor-felony threshold passed after putting the bill in for nine years.  Also, my bill to extend our coal ash study process for twelve months so we can clarify how many billions of dollars the coal ash remediation process will cost before choosing a method.

Importantly for communities like Kingstowne, I also passed a bill prohibiting homeowners associations from withholding documents containing exempt information from their members – instead requiring associations to redact exempt information and providing remaining documents.

This General Assembly also adjourned Sine Die without a budget due to Medicaid.  Accepting federal dollars to expand Medicaid frees up about $250 million per year in Virginia revenue which could be reprogrammed to secondary education, safety net, public safety, and environmental protection.  I will continue to fight for expansion as this discussion continues over the next sixty days.

I also helped shepherd Delegate Rip Sullivan’s bill to legalize BYOB at non-profit Virginia swimming clubs. After July 1, 2018, you can eat a burger and drink a beer at your pool without fear of prosecution.

I supported legislation removing caps on electricity rates that also mandated a ten-fold increase in renewable energy, payment of $450 million of coal ash clean-up costs, and including a significant boost in utility undergrounding.  Given the older infrastructure in the 36th District, I am hopeful that the utility bill will facilitate undergrounding of lines along U.S. 1 and even more in 36th District neighborhoods. I also supported legislation to simplifying the deployment of 5G technology in the Commonwealth.

My legislation to cap consumer finance interest rates at 36% passed the Senate 37-2, before being continued until next year by the House.

I am also hopeful that by the time this goes to print, we will have agreed upon a proper framework to supplement capital funding to Metro and match monies provided by D.C. and Maryland.

It is an honor to serve as your State Senator.  Email me at if you have feedback.

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