March 4: Making Progress
We are nearing the end of Session, which means intense negotiations are on-going regarding the final budget. I am pleased that the Senate budget includes funding for my fostering futures and kinship care initiatives, which help vulnerable children and their families receive the care and support they need. I am hopeful that these initiatives will make it into the final budget.
This week the Governor signed two of my bills into law. SB 328 requires that nurses aides be trained in observational and reporting techniques and SB 136 requires the SCC to hold hearings, if required by local governing bodies, in the area where electrical transmission lines will be placed. Both initiatives will become effective on July 1, 2016.
My bill SB 137 would require registrar offices to use official emails when contacting absentee voters. This bill passed both the House and Senate and awaits the Governor’s signature. Special thanks to Sue Rosenberg for suggesting the idea behind this bill and for finding ways to improve our voting process.
A bill I co-patroned with Senator Carrico will soon be on the Governor’s desk that would allow jurisdictions to mail summons to offenders who pass school buses when the flashing stop signs are displayed. Current law requires that summons be hand delivered. Some differences still need to be ironed out between the House and Senate versions and I will participate as a Senate conferee to conform the bills.
Public Hearings on I-66
As part of a bipartisan effort to ease congestion for commuters, another eastbound lane will be added to I-66 from the Beltway to Ballston. Tolling will now allow single occupant vehicles on I-66 during rush hour times and two person vehicles will continue to ride for free. By 2020, only three person vehicles will be allowed on I-66 during rush hour restrictions without paying the toll.
Because the I-66 compromise entails significant changes to the Northern Virginia area, VDOT has scheduled several public hearings on March 7, 8 and 9. The hearings will provide the opportunity to view project displays, watch a formal presentation, and provide public comment. You can find information about the hearings below or on my website. All hearing times are 6-8 p.m.
Monday, March 7, 2016
Washington-Lee High School Cafeteria
1301 N. Stafford Street, Arlington, VA 22201
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
Eagle Ridge Middle School Cafeteria
42901 Waxpool Road, Ashburn, VA 20148
Wednesday, March 9, 2016
Visit Transform66.org to view a live stream beginning at 6:30 p.m.
VDOT Northern Virginia District Office
4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030
K-12 and Rethinking High School Education in Virginia
A key part of the Governor’s educational initiative would allow students to gain greater workforce experience in high school. During the last two years of high school, students would have the option of pursuing technical or trade skills or more educational courses. This high school redesign program would provide students with the flexibility to gain credit for workplace experience, such as internships, while developing valuable technical skills that may further their employment opportunities. I strongly support the Governor’s effort. In fact, I have submitted budget language for several years that would allow high school students to pursue an Associate's Degree while still in high school.
Next Saturday March 12th will be Sine Die - the adjournment of the General Assembly. I am proud of my successes to make our Commonwealth a safer and more welcoming place to live. From improving gun control and curbing domestic violence to improving educational opportunities for TANF recipients, we have made progress. Stay tuned for an update on the adopted budget.