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Legislative Update Week 7

Dear Friend,
This week, the Senate and House of Delegates both passed their versions of the 2-year state budget. The Senate version of the budget includes a 2% pay raise for teachers while not introducing any new taxes or tax rate increases. The Senate budget is $3 billion less than what Governor McAuliffe proposed and does not adopt ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion scheme. During the debate on the floor, I spoke against and voted “no” on economic development incentive payments, which allow the government to pick winners and losers in the marketplace. I don’t believe we should use taxpayer dollars to fund corporate welfare. Instead we should look at eliminating the corporate income tax, personal income tax and capital gains tax so that all businesses are treated more equitably. The Senate and House will go to conference to work out the differences in each other’s budgets next week.
Yesterday, my bill, SB 616, which was rolled in to SB 610, to restore concealed weapons permit reciprocity with other states, was signed by the Governor at a bill signing ceremony at the Governor’s Mansion. I joined members of the General Assembly, law enforcement officials and domestic violence prevention advocates in lauding the passage of this legislative package which includes protections for women who have protective orders against their partners, while also protecting our citizens’ 2nd Amendment rights.
In the Education and Health Committee, we passed out of committee by a slim margin a bill by Delegate David LaRock to provide Education Savings Accounts to parents of children with special needs. I am a co-patron of this school choice legislation, which provides funds to parents of children with special needs to pay for tuition, transportation and other educational expenses. The bill will now be considered by the Senate Finance Committee.
After several days of very bumpy rides into work due to the potholes on the Powhite Parkway, I contacted VDOT this week to see what was being done about them. Here’s what I found out: 1) VDOT tried to fix them with a “cold patch” but that is coming apart 2) this week, they are patching with “aqua fault” (which is a product made in Charlottesville, VA) and 3) the longer term plan is to strip down to the concrete and put on a new layer of asphalt. VDOT already has a contract to do this, but it cannot be done until the weather is consistently above 40 degrees, and there is an issue with materials as most asphalt plants are closed for the winter. There is one asphalt plant that is opening this week for VDOT to move forward with addressing these potholes. Thank you VDOT for working to give us all a smoother ride to work very soon!
Finally, on Friday, I had the honor of introducing Savannah Lane, who is Miss Virginia 2015, on the Senate floor for her to receive a commending resolution that was passed by both the Senate and the House of Delegates. Savannah is a Midlothian resident and a student at the University of Virginia, and has a platform called POP, the Power of Performance. I am looking forward to serving with her on some upcoming service projects and love that she wants to run for Congress some day!
As we enter the final two weeks of session, I encourage you to contact me at 698-7511 to share your thoughts or concerns about legislation.
Best regards,
Amanda



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