Next Tuesday, February 16th, is "Crossover", the deadline for the House of Delegates and Senate to complete their work in this bicameral legislature. As such, the pace of committee meetings reviewing proposed legislation increases dramatically as Crossover beckons and the most difficult legislation, that has been "passed by" on numerous occasions, finally comes to votes in both houses.
I serve on four committees, including the General Assembly’s busiest committee, the Courts of Justice Committee, which is assigned more bills than any other committee. Within that committee, I serve on the Civil Subcommittee, chair the Ethics Subcommittee, and serve on the Judicial Panel that interviews and recommends judges for appointment. Along with Courts of Justice, I serve on the Transportation Committee and the Privileges and Elections Committee. Also, this year, I was appointed to a fourth committee, namely the General Laws Committee, that, true to its name, hears an incredibly wide array of bills dealing with many areas of the law. As a result, my meeting schedule runs from early morning to late in the evening as my four committees work to process the last of the nearly 1,400 bills filed in the House of Delegates this session.
Delegate Minchew chairing the Constitutional Subcommittee
on Privileges & Elections.
Before I discuss my legislative efforts of the week, allow me to introduce our 10th District page, Suzannah Bozarth. Ms. Bozarth is an 8th grade student who was selected as one of 40 pages (of 142 applications) for the 2016 General Assembly session. If you have a child who will be 13-14 years-old and has an interest in Virginia history and government, you may wish to consider this program in future sessions. There is more information on the page program here.
Delegate Minchew and House Page Suzannah Bozarth on the House Floor.
HB 248 - This is a bill I prepared addressing a vexatious problem of financial exploitation of senior citizens, often done by persons who have earned a position of trust with the senior citizen. It provides that upon the filing of an initial report of suspected financial exploitation of an adult OR during an adult protective services investigation of suspected financial exploitation, a referral of the matter shall be made to the local law enforcement agency. This bill, supported by the Northern Virginia Aging Network and many other advocacy groups, passed the House unopposed today 99-0.
As pictured above, I appeared before the General Laws Committee to explain HB 907, a bill to help the Virginia Railway Express (VRE) reduce costs in its procurement processes. As a member of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission, which oversees the VRE, I have been impressed by this commuter railroad that will soon be serving Loudoun County via its forthcoming Haymarket Station. This bill passed the Committee 22-0 and had its second reading in the House today on the uncontested calendar. It should pass the House on Monday.
HB 910 – This legislation clarifies and improves the process by which Virginia taxpayers and businesses can obtain circuit court remedies on assessments they feel are calculated incorrectly. HB 910 levels the playing field in terms of access to data and other information used by assessors in making their calculations. This bill was reported from the Courts of Justice Committee with a unanimous vote of 21-0 and is headed to the House floor this coming Monday.
"My Door is Always Open”
I was honored to accept the 2015 Solar Champion Award presented by the Maryland DC Virginia Solar Energies Industry Association (MDV-SEIA) for my commitment to advancing solar policy in Virginia. This year, I filed two bills to expand opportunities for landowners to generate solar energy on their lands and I look forward to seeing increased cooperation between these renewable power-producing landowners and their serving utilities.
I visited with the Loudoun County and Frederick County School Boards this week, as well as students from the Governor’s Schools of Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology (TJHSST) and Mountain Vista in Middletown, VA. Students from Radford also stopped by to discuss issues facing education.