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Legislative Update: Week 2

Dear Friend,
The work of considering bills began at a brisk pace this second week of session, and I testified on one of my bills, Senate Bill 615, before the Courts of Justice Committee on Wednesday.  This bill seeks to allow retiring local law enforcement officers to purchase their weapons at fair market value, as State Police are already permitted to do.  I'm happy to report that this legislation passed unanimously out of committee and is now headed for the Senate floor.

The other bills I have introduced include:

-SB616 - Attempts to reverse the Executive Order by the Attorney General to further restrict our gun rights.  The net effect is that Virginians who travel across state lines wont' have to worry about being thrown in jail if they choose to carry.  Reciprocity would be restored.

-SB677 - Clerks who issue gun permits no longer are required by law to charge a fee for handgun permits.  Makes it optional.

-SJ113 - Term limit bill.  A Constitutional Amendment for members of the General Assembly limiting senators to 3 four-year terms and members of the house to 6 two-year terms.

-SJ120 - To run for governor, you must live in Virginia for at least 8 years

-Campaign finance reform to ban out of state campaign contributions.  We don't need outside dollars influencing our elections.

Also this week, the Senate began the process of vetting Judge Rossie D. Alston, Jr. for the Supreme Court.  Judge Alston would replace Judge Roush, who was appointed by the Governor this past summer without Senate approval, as is required.  I support the separation of powers and for this reason, am supporting Judge Alston.

I also participated in discussions with Senate leadership this week to allow the press back onto the Senate floor during legislative proceedings.  I initially voted for this change because I was familiar with the way press are treated in the US House of Representatives, where the press is not allowed on the floor and sits in the balcony. I was unaware of the long-standing tradition of having the press on the Virginia Senate floor, sitting at desks between senators and the front of the room.  I expressed my desire to to have more discussion about these historical changes.  I am optimistic that we will be able to work out a solution on this issue.  

Earlier this week, I joined with Delegate Mark Levine (D-Alexandria) to hold a press conference announcing the formation of the Virginia Transparency Caucus. While he and I are on the opposite sides of most issues, we do agree that we need a more open and transparent government and that the efforts towards transparency need to start with us.  We have each committed to record committee and subcommittee hearings on our own bills and make them public.  These meetings are not recorded and can often be where bills are amended or even defeated.  We believe our constituents have the right to know what  happens to our bills.  I posted video of my presentation on my bill, SB 615, before the Courts of Justice Committee on my Facebook page this week.

Throughout the week, I very much enjoyed getting to meet with many of my constituents, including those from the Credit Unions and the Virginia Citizens Defense League.  I truly appreciate those who take time to come and make their voices heard at our state capitol.

Thank you for the opportunity to represent Chesterfield County, Amelia County and the City of Colonial Heights in the Virginia State Senate.  If I can be of assistance, please call my Capitol office at (804) 698-7511 or email me at 
Best regards,

Amanda Chase

State Senator
11th District of Virginia

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