Third Term 2014-2015

21st Century Education Improvements

With technology evolving and teaching methods advancing, Virginia has a duty to make sure that our public school systems keep up with this progress. This means updating our education methods to maintain their high standards. Since entering office in 2009, Delegate Surovell has been a perennial advocate for education reform and ensuring that every child has the best education so they may be successful in the future.

This past year, Delegate Surovell introduced legislation to allow school systems to waive Standards of Learning Tests for children who passes AP/IB exams. The legislation was rolled into House Bill 1675 which gave localities more flexibility to waive tests. To allow for students to opt out of unnecessary SOL testing if they completed and passed the requirements.

Additionally, Delegate Surovell introduced legislation that would require the Board of Education to include information about the dangers of exchanging sexual explicit images in age appropriate family life education (FLE) courses. Even though House Bill 2337 did not pass, Delegate Surovell wrote to Dr. Steven R. Staples, Superintendent of Public Instruction, asking him to implement this requirement into the FLE curriculum due to the large number of high profile incidents in Virginia. Dr. Steven Staples agreed to implement this into the FLE curriculum.

Justice Reform

As a practicing lawyer, Delegate Surovell looks to improve Virginia's legal system to ensure that everyone has treated fairly under the law.

This past term, he chief-patroned and fought to pass TWO bills House Bill 2015 and House Bill 2016.

House Bill 2015 provides modifications to Virginia's bankruptcy exemptions. It exempts child and spousal support arrearages from judgment debtors collections, and also exempts tax refunds attributable to the Earned Income Tax Credit and Child Tax Credit from the creditor process.

House Bill 2016 simplifies the legal proceeding allowing the fiduciary to take sole legal action of a deceased person if the individual passes away during the litigation. This bill also provides that when an administrator is appointed solely to prosecute or defend a personal injury or wrongful death actions, the administrator is qualified to prosecute both types of actions.

Lastly, Delegate Surovell and Delegate Manoli Loupassi co-patroned House Bill 1764 protects individuals with criminal history from extortion. The legislation specifies that a person who disseminates, publishes, or maintains or causes to be disseminated. published or maintained the criminal history record information of an individual who is the subject of that information for the actual damages or $500, whichever is greater. 

Ensuring Transparency

Government accountability begins with transparency. This past session, Delegate Surovell led the fight to kill Senate Bill 1393 which proposed to exempt information relating to the identity of the people compounding the drugs, the identities or people or companies manufacturing or supplying the materials used to make the drugs products, name of the ingredients used and the result of the execution from FOIA. Delegate Surovell led the fight against this legislation on the floor of the House of Delegates where it was one of only a handful of bills that failed on the floor.

Ensuring Transparency Protecting Virginia Evidentiary Practices

In 2015, the Supreme Court of Virginia decided Hyundai Motor Company v. Duncan which signaled that the Court might be willing to apply time-consuming and costly federal Daubert-style evidentiary restrictions to expert witnesses in civil cases. Delegate Surovell partners with several Republican members to amend related pending legislation to clarify that Virginia's unique expert witness standards were still effect absent legislative action.

Hybrid Tax Repeal

Surovell & Ebbin Deliver Hybrid Tax Repeal PetitionsIn 2013, the General Assembly enacted a comprehensive transportation funding law which included a $100 annual tax on hybrid vehicles.  Delegate Surovell partnered with Senator Adam Ebbin to lead a grassroots effort that collected over 7,000 signatures demanding the repeal of the tax.  Governor McDonnell heeded the call and proposed an amendment lowering the tax to $64.  In the 2014 Session, the tax was repealed outright by a bipartisan coalition where only 10 of 140 legislators voted against repeal. In 2014, hybrid owners who prepaid their 2014 taxes were given a refund.

Virginia Ethics Reform

Governor McDonnell's abuses of Virginia's ethics laws highlighted many flaws in Virginia's ethics laws.  Delegate Surovell introduced five separate pieces of legislation.  Delegate Surovell's introduced HB246 prohibiting the Governor or Attorney General from soliciting, accept or receive any tangible gift from person, organization, or business that is a party to such lawsuit.  This was directed at criminalizing Attorney General Cuccinelli's behavior of soliciting gifts from Johnnie Williams while he had pending tax litigation with the Commonwealth.  The original House legislation passed the chamber 98-1 with only Delegate Surovell voting "no."  This provision was added at Delegate Surovell insistence.

Delegate Surovell also introduced HB247 prohibiting the solicitation or exchange of gifts by any person who is seeking an Governor's Opportunity Fund grant. This legislation was copied, introduced and passed by Delegate Lemunyon, and vetoed by Governor McAuliffe.  It will likely return in the 2014 session.

Avoiding Double Dipping

Delegate Surovell introduce legislation to prohibit Clerks from collecting a second filing fee obtaining a confessed judgment if a court set aside the judgment and required the filing of a full legal action.  After Delegate Surovell highlighted this practice and introduced HB249, the Supreme Court announced that it was directly all Clerk's in the state to cease the practice and follow state law.

Clarifying Business Control at Death Rules

In 2012, one of Delegate Surovell's consistuents pointed out that Virginia Law had unfairly impacted a constituent whose husband had died.  The law allowed any person who appeared at the Virginia Real Estate Board to tax control of an entire brokerage even if they were not designated in the business owner's will to be the person to control the business of the estate.  Delegate Surovell introduced legislation to grant a preference to the individual named in the business owner's will.  It was referred to the Virginia Housing Commission, approved, and passed into has as HB 251 in 2014.

Prohibiting Use of Public Employees

In September, 2012, the Washington Post reported that Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio was being investigated for using his government staff to engage in political activities.  In 2013, a special grand jury was convened and was led by Arlington Commonwealth's Attorney Theophani "Theo" Stamos.  The Grand Jury issued a report that although Delgaudio's behavior was inappropriate, it was not illegal because state law prohibitions only applied to full-time employees but not part-time employees, and recommended changes to state law.  Delegate Surovell introduced HB 252 which paralleled the grand jury's recommendation.  The legislation was tabled, but an identical bill, HB 420, introduced after Delegate Surovell's bill was passed unanimously by the House and signed into law.

Increased Sunshine on Criminal Investigations

In 2013, Delegate Surovell experienced problems in Prince William County subpoenaing records that were between one and twenty years old from a dozen different criminal investigations against a drug addicted father in a child custody case.  In litigating the matter, the opposing attorney's argued that Virginia's Freedom of Information Act provided a basis to refuse to produce the records.  Delegate Surovell successfully argued the motion, but introduced HB380 so that no litigant would have to argue that point again.  It was passed into law and this statute was cited by the Fairfax County Circuit Court in litigation regarding the shooting of John Geer in rejecting the Fairfax County Police's argument that their records should remain shielded.

Security_Freeze_Signing_3_Scott_SurovellProtecting Children From Identity Theft

Identity theft is a growing problem.  Many people do not realize that identity theives often steal the identity of children because their information is not as closely monitored as adults.  After Delegate Surovell received four credit card solicitations for his 11 and 13 year-old daughters, he introduced HB 934 modeled on legislation passed the previous year in Maryland.  This bill allowed parents to place a security freeze on their children's credit through age 16.  This means that it cannot be accessed by finance companies for credit soliciations or to validate an exiting account.   Identical legislation was also introduced by Delegate Eileen Filler-Corn which was passed into law.

Increased Sunshine on the State Corporation Commission

The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) regulates all corporations in Virginia.  This also means that it approves the cost of electricity, water, gas, and telephone rates.  It also approves reserves set for companies that insure Virginian's life, health, automobiles, and homes which determine rates.  They also regulate most banks, car title lenders, consumer finance companies, franchises, and other businesses. 

In 2011, the Supreme Court of Virginia decided that the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) did not apply to the SCC in the case of Christian v. SCC.  Delegate Surovell did not agree with this decision and in 2013 introduced HB 2321 to make clear that FOIA applied to the SCC.  This legislation was referred to the Virginia FOIA Commission who held five years on the legislation during 2013.  Ultimately, the Commission deadlocked on whether to approved revised legislation on a 6-6-2 vote.  These efforts were covered extensively in the press:

Shedding Sunshine on the Secret World of Regulation in Virginia, Mt. Vernon Gazette (Aug. 22, 2013)
Virginia Panel Rejects Efforts to Open Records of Regulatory Agency, WAMU (Aug. 20, 2013)

Battle for Transparency at State Corporation Commission Moves Online, Mt. Vernon Gazette (Sept. 5, 2013)

Bill Would Require FOIA Disclosures for SCC, Virginia Lawyers Weekly (Sept. 17, 2013)
Today's Top Opinion: Open It Up, Richmond Times Dispatch (Nov. 4, 2014)
Editorial: Sunshine at the SCC, Roanoke Times (Dec. 19, 2013)

In 2014, Delegate Surovell introduced HB 937 to apply FOIA to the SCC with some limited exceptions.  While Delegate Surovell's bill failed, an SCC sponsored measured, SB 119 sponsored by Senator Watkins, passed which officially opened up additional categories of records to public scrutiny.  This legislation would not have occurred without Delegate Surovell's advocacy. 

Fair Jury Service for Active Duty Military 

Marine_Corps__Coast_GuardWhile reviewed the jury service statutes, Delegate Surovell noted that the Virginia law that excluded active duty military from jury service did not include either the Marine Corps of the Coast Guard.  He introduced HB938.  The legislation was copied and introduced by a freshman Republican delegate and enacted into law by Governor McAuliffe.

Enhancing Public Safety

As part of Delegate Surovell's law practice, he became aware of the hundreds of hours that 911 call center employees spend in courts authenticating 911 calls in all types of cases including domestic violence, violent crimes, car accidents, or other civil matters.  Often their is no dispute about what is contained on the tape, but one part seeks to prevent the other party from admitting it because the 911 operator is not in Court.  Delegate Surovell introduced HB 1248 to allow 911 call recordings to be admitted into evidence without a live witness if certain facts are set forth in a certification accompanying the recording.  The legislation was supported by the Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys and passed both bodies with only two dissenting votes. 

Budget Accountability for Outside Spending

As part of the crisis involving Governor McDonnell's criminal investigation, taxpayers were forced to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on outside counsel to represent state employees subject to questioning.  Delegate Surovell was outraged by the rates charges and the amounts spent and introduced a budget amendment to require the Attorney General to annually report to the General Assembly regarding outside spending.  This budget amendment was included in the final state budget and has produced its first report so that legislators can have a better understanding of these expenditures in order to get them under control. 

Securing Judgeships for Fairfax County

Scott Surovell Fairfax Bar Association President's AwardIn 1993, Fairfax County had a population of 866,095 and was allocated a fifteen Circuit Court Judge.  In 2006, Fairfax County had a population of 1.002 million and was allocated an eleventh General District Court Judge. In 2009, Fairfax County was stripped of both of these new judgeships, plus an additional Circuit Court position - even though today it has 1.131 million residents today - 265,000 more than 1993 (a 30% increase) and 129,000 more than 2005 (a 13% increase).  These shortages are causing increased delays in Fairfax County's Courts for civil disputes delaying our residents the same access to justice that others have around the Commonwealth.  Delegate Surovell introduced a budget amendment to fully fund all of Fairfax County's Judgeships.  As a result of Delegate Surovell's efforts, the General Assembly restored one Circuit Court position.  Fairfax County remains one Circuit Court and one General District Court position short.  Delegate Surovell received the President's Award from the Fairfax Bar Association as a result of his efforts.  

Preventing Homeowners Associations Power Grabs

In the 2014 Session, the homeowners' association industry introduced legislation that would allow community boards to bypass members and authorize themselves the power to levy fines without homeowners without requesting fining authority from homeowners.  Delegate Surovell saw this as a massive change in Virginia homeowners association law and a direct assault on a Fairfax County Circuit Court decision arising out of the Mt. Vernon area that was featured in the Washington Post.

Fairfax Homeowners Group Humbled by Court Battle with Residents, Washington Post (Feb. 9, 2013)

Delegate Surovell led the charge against the legislation - initially failing - but ultimately prevailing after the legislation was amended by the State Senate.  The coalition opposing the legislation was a mixture of progressive, conservative, and generally property rights oriented legislators who were alarmed at the effort to grow the power of associations through legislation instead of seeking consent from property owners in communities. 

Second Term 2012-2013

Funding A Vision for U.S. 1

The improvement of U.S. 1 has been under discussion for over 30 years.  At the beginning of the session, Delegate Surovell met with Deputy Secretary of Transportation David Tyrer to discuss the Governor's transportation proposal and he advised that the Secretary was making $2.5 million available for the required study to begin to fund the next series of improvements to U.S. 1.  Senator Puller and and Delegate Surovell introduced House and Senate Budget Amendments.  Language funding the U.S. 1 Transit Study was included in the final budget.  This study will determine whether U.S. 1 should incorporate a Yellow Line extension, a trolley, bus rapid transit, a combination of modes, or no transit at all.  More information can be located on Delegate Surovell's Improving U.S. 1 Page.

Texting While Driving

In 2011,Delegate Surovell represented the family of a young man who was killed by a driver who stuck him at 50 miles per hour without braking.  He had clearly been texting while driving.  The defendant was acquitted at trial because Virginia texting while driving law was a "secondary offense" and preempted reckless driving convictions. 

In December, 2012, Delegate Surovell partnered with Republican Delegate Ben Cline and other legislators to propose legislation to join 39 other states and make texting while driving a primary offense.  Distracted driving is a growing problem and texting while driving has been studied and shown to be of a nature and quality that is far more dangerous than other distractions.

After the 2012 Session, Delegate Surovell received an award from Drive Smart Virginia for his advocacy efforts. 

Promoting Renewable Energy

Scott Surovell Sierra Club Solar AwardSolar thermal energy systems or solar hot water systems recoup their investments faster than any other green energy devices on the market.  Delegate Surovell introduced legislation that added renewable solar energy to Virginia's Renewable Energy Portfolio Standard so that individuals and businesses who install these systems can sell green energy credits on the free market to generate additional returns on these investments. 

Delegate Surovell also partnered with Republican Delegate Randy Minchew as Chief Cosponsor of legislation to allow multiple electricity customers in rural areas to collectively net meter their energy bills against renewable energy sources such as windmills or animal waste energy generators.  Moving forward, Delegate Surovell hopes to extend this concept to the suburban environment so multiple families could purchase energy from solar systems near their homes.

Streamlining Voter Registration

Delegate Surovell also introduced legislation to allow online voter registration address changes and served as Chief Copatron of Republican Delegate David Ramadan's legislation to allow online voter registration which passed and effectively accomplishes the same objective.  This will save taxpayers significant dollars by reducing paperwork, hassle and errors.

Helping Recoveries by Victims of Drunk Driving

In Virginia, a drunk driver faces statutory punitives damages if their breath alcohol concentration is over 0.15% or 0.15g/210L of breath, or if they drive under circumstances that they know are likely to cause injury.  However, due to various legislative changes, it has become easier to prove breath alcohol concentrations in criminal cases, but not civil cases.  My legislation made the evidentiary requirements in civil cases equal to criminal cases so that victims do not have to pay an expert witness to come to court unless the Defendant asserts there is a legitimate dispute as to their actual level of intoxication.

Protecting Consumers from Unlicensed Contractors

Delegate Surovell represented an individual who had a lien placed on his home by an unlicensed contractor.  Delegate Surovell successfully passed legislation requiring all mechanics liens to carry the contractors' license number so that consumers will not be further victimized by unscrupulous predators.

Mental Health on College Campuses

After the Virginia Tech Massacre, the Virginia College Mental Health Study's #1 recommendation was that community colleges implement systems to ensure that students in mental health distress receive some type of referral for treatment.  Delegate Surovell partnered with Senator George Barker to pass legislation requiring Virginia community colleges to implement this require to ensure that young people in distress receive therapy.

Protecting Fairfax County's Judicial System

In 2013, due to existing budget language, Fairfax County had two judicial vacancies.  Retirements meant that two additional vacancies were likely.  Judicial vacancies can cause significant delays in the processing of cases which can have sever effects on people's lives and businesses.  Delegate Surovell sponsored a budget amendment to fund both of Fairfax County's two 2013 judicial vacancies.  At the conclusion of the budget process, one position was funded.  Governor McDonnell proposed funding the other position.  Ultimately, no further positions were lost in 2013.

Protecting Affordable Housing

In March 2010, Virginia was notified that it was receiving a $59 million cash payment from the National Mortgage Foreclosure Settlement with the nation's four largest banks.  The consent decree required the monies to be spent on:

"supplementing the amounts paid to state homeowners under the Borrower Payment Fund, funding for housing counselors, state and local foreclosure assistance hotlines, state and local foreclosure mediation programs, legal assistance, housing remediation and anti-blight projects, funding for training and staffing of financial fraud or consumer protection enforcement efforts, and civil penalties."  

Instead, Virginia budget appropriators attempted to put the money into the General Fund and appropriate it to water quality projects in other parts of the state.  Delegate Surovell proposed several budget amendments and gave several floor speeches spotlighting this practice.  Ultimately, budget negotiators agreed to allocate $7 million of the settlement to the Virginia Housing Trust Fund as requested in Delegate Surovell's amendment.  This was the first money ever appropriated to the Virginia Housing Trust Fund and will provide extra assistance to people displaced by foreclosures and homelessness.

Green Jobs in Virginia

In 2007, the General Assembly adopted Virginia Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) which allowed regulated utilities to earn higher fees for electricity if they created a certain percentage of their electricity from renewable sources.  Under the RPS, certain types of energy are granted different amounts of credit - solar and wind get double credit because of their cost.

In the 2012 Session, certain agricultural industries attempted to allow electricity generated from animal waste the same credit as solar and wind, plus there was no requirement that the electricity be generated in Virginia.  Delegate Surovell proposed a floor amendment to the legislation striking the language from the bill which passed 51-45-2.  A compromise was ultimately struck that only gave enhanced credit to an animal waste electricity generating facility if it is located in Virginia. 

Clarifying Virginia Law

In 2010, Virginia adopted the Model Power of Attorney Act.  Certain provisions of the act were unclear as to their application in Virginia Family Law proceedings.  Delegate Surovell's legislation made clear that an individuals power of attorney is automatically terminated if they file a proceeding for child custody, visitation, support, or separate maintenance against the individual granting the Power of Attorney.

Virginia Law was also unclear as to how interest is calculated on appeals to the Supreme Court of Virginia.  The resulting uncertainty can create thousands of dollars of difference and unnecessary litigation.   Delegate Surovell's legislation set clear start and end dates for interest that can be awarded on appeal.

Protecting Our Water Quality

In the 2012-2013 budget cycle, Governor McDonnell proposed eliminating Virginia's membership in the Interstate Commission on the Potomac River (ICPRB).  The ICPRB is an interstate compact of all states with Potomac River drainage that manages water storage facilities to ensure water flow during the summer to minimize interstate water conflict, monitors water quality and promotes various projects such as restoration of Virginia's shad population.  Delegate Surovell introduced a budget amendment to fund Virginia's ICPRB dues and worked in a bipartisan fashion with numerous legislators to ensure that legislation withdrawing from the compact did not pass.  While Virginia's dues are still in arrears, the Commonwealth is still a member.

First Term 2010-2011

U.S. 1 Transit Study

US1The Route 1 Centerline Study published in November, 2009 noted that no new improvements for U.S. 1 could be planned incorporating any transit elements unless a transit study was completed.  Delegate Surovell and Senator Toddy Puller worked with the McDonnell Administration's Department of Rail and Public Transit to move a resolution through the General Assembly to authorize a new transit study and fund it using $3 million of state funds.  This is the first step in the process of improving U.S. 1. 

U.S. 1 Historic Designation

During the 2009 Session, legislation was introduced designating a small portion of U.S. 1 in Chesterfield County as "Historic Route 1" as part of that County's revitalization project focusing on historic assets along Route 1.  Delegate Surovell approached the sponsor on the floor regarding an amendment to the bill.  Ultimately, Delegate Surovell organized a bipartisan coaltion of 30 legislators whose districts bordered U.S. 1 who signed a letter asking Governor McDonnell to amend the legislation.  Governor McDonnell accepted this request, amended the legislation and the amendment was approved unanimously by the General Assembly.  Today, "Historic Route 1" signs are going up along Route 1 and Delegate Surovell is organizing further cooperation between localities regarding Route 1 revitalization strategies.

Protecting Metro Maintenance Funding

In 2007, Congressman Tom Davis organized a bipartisan agreement to fund $300 million per year towards Metro's $6 billion maintenance backlog by matching $50 million annual contributions from Virginia, Maryland and the District of Columbia with $150 million of federal monies.  In 2011, Congress voted to defund this obligation.  Delegate Surovell organized a bipartisan coalition of twenty-four legislators who signed a letter asking Virginia's congressional delegation to honor its committment to match Virginia's contribution.  Delegate Surovell also spoke out on the floor of the House.  The monies were restored. 

Protecting Fairfax County School Funding

Shortly after being elected in 2009, Governor Kaine introduced a Virginia Budget that did not rebenchmark education funding criteria.  While this saved the state several million dollars, it cost Fairfax County approximately $50 milllion of school funding.  Delegate Surovell wrote op ed articles, worked with numerous parent-teacher organizations in Mount Vernon and around Fairfax County, and lobbied Governor McDonnell to reverse this decision which he did approximately thirty-days after his inauguration.  

Fair Business Practices

As part of his legal practice, Delegate Surovell had noted that foreign corporations frequently transact business in Virginia without paying proper fees to the state.  This costs taxpayers millions of dollars.  Upon further research, he also discovered out-of-state companies outbidding Virginia companies on procurements without licensing to do business in Virginia.  During the 2009 Session, Delegate Surovell introduced and passed legislation that requires state and local governments to verify foreign corporations have in-fact qualified to transact business in the Commonwealth of Virginia before accepting a bid on any procurement.  This levels the playing field for Virginia companies and nets taxpayers millions of dollars.

Civil & Criminal Justice Reforms

As part of his legal practice, Delegate Surovell also became aware of two loopholes in Virginia Law.  First, the Virginia Law did not expressly authorize local Commonwealth Attorneys to prosecute civil refusal infractions connected to driving while intoxicated charges.  The lack of authority had resulted in some dropped charges.  Second, Virginia's statute criminalizing passing a school bus was missing the word "at" causing it to read that a driver was required to stop a school bus instead of stop at the school bus.  This had resulted in dismissals and a rising incidence of dismissed charges.  Delegate Surovell introduced legislation to eliminate both loopholes.  Both bills became law.

Delegate Surovell also became aware of inconsistencies in Virginia Law regarding the statute of limitations for prosecuting unlicensed contractors under Virginia law and Fairfax County's Code of Ordinances.  State Law provided that the statute of limitations did not begin to run until a consumer discovered that a contractor was licensed, while state law said that a violation of Fairfax County's Code of Ordinances began to run whether it was discovered or not.  This resulted in unlicensed prosecutors avoiding prosecution.  Delegate Surovell drafted legislation which was subsequently carried by Delegate Mark Keam and passed into law in 2011.

Delegate Surovell is also a proponent of using technology to streamline government functions and save money.  In 2010, he introduced legislation to authorize electronic audio recording of all court proceedings in Virginia as is the practice in Maryland, the District of Columbia and some federal proceedings.  After the legislation stalled in Committee, Delegate Surovell asked Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli if additional legal authority were necessary for Virginia's Courts to install recording systems and charge litigants for recordings.  He issued an Attorney General's Opinion finding that existing legal authority was sufficient.  As of 2011, the Fairfax County Circuit Court is in the process of installing one of the first recording systems in Virginia. 

Many other jurisdictions and court systems have also moved to the electronic filing of court papers.  This saves time, money, paper, and manpower.  Delegate Surovell worked with Fairfax County Clerk John Frey to introduce legislation to enable Fairfax County to move to electronic filing.  Delegate Surovell's legislation was incorporated into other legislation which was passed in 2010. 

Promoting New Industries & Protecting Consumers

Promoting green industries are a critical part of our economic recovery strategy.  One new industry is energy auditing.  This involves professionals surveying homes and businesses for energy efficiency.  This involves checking for gas leaks, air leaks, checking insulation, and checking the building envelope.  Audits are normally concluded with a list of suggested repairs.  Virginia already regulates home inspectors.  Delegate Surovell worked with the home energy auditor industry to create legislation authorizing the Board of Contracting to license home energy auditors in Virginia.  Delegate Surovell ultimately worked with Republican Senator Frank Wagner from Virginia Beach who incorporated Delegate Surovell's legislation onto a Senate bill that was passed in 2011.  Licensing will bring standards and professionalism to the industry which and will protect consumers from incompetent, unfair or deceptive practices. 

Another new industry is the computer forensics field.  Some private investigators believes that computer forensics constitutes the work of private investigators.  The America Bar Association recommended that the field of computer forensics be excempted from private investigator licensing because it is an entirely different field that involves entirely different concerns.  Delegate Surovell drafted legislation to create this exception and it was carried by Delegate Mark Keam and passed into law in 2011.

Rationalizing Tax Penalties

Every pack of cigarettes in Virginia is required to have a tax stamp affixed to the cigarette packet.  Cigarette stamp tax fraud is a serious problem and the General Assembly passed legislation beefing up penalties in the mid-2000's.  However, most discoveries of tax stamp discrepancies do not relate to fraud but manufacturing or shipping errors.  For example, a warehouse might ship a palet of cigarettes stamped for North Carolina to Virginia or might miss a run of boxes resulting in ten boxes missing stamps.  The Department of Taxation previously dealt with inadvertent violations with reasonable compromises.    The new penalties adopted resulted in such massive fines that were out-of-portion to the taxes involved that nearly every violation was resulting in appeals causing significant administrative delays.  Delegate Surovell introduced and passed legislation supported by businesses that provided for a system that provided penalties for inadvertent errors and significant sanctions for criminal tax evasion.