2014 Legislative Agenda Print
Untitled document

Ethics Reform

  • HB 245: Banning Economic Ties With Appointees (Chief Patron): On July 18, 2013, The Richmond Times-Dispatch reported that Governor McDonnell had rented his $800,000 Henrico County home to the state health commissioner who he appointed, an obvious conflict of interest that could impact his decisions if he needed to replace the commissioner.  This bill prevents the Governor from having special contracts with appointed Secretary or agency heads while they are serving in office. 

  • HB 246: No Gifts or Contributions During Litigation (Chief Patron)The Washington Post and other newspapers reported that Jonnie Williams provided gifts to Governor McDonnell and Attorney General Ken Cuccinnelli at the same time his company was in litigation with the Commonwealth of Virginia over a tax dispute.  HB246 prohibits acceptance by the Governor or Attorney General of campaign contributions or gifts worth more than $50 from parties who are in ongoing litigation with the Commonwealth and also prohibits litigants from making such contributions and gifts.

  • HB 247: Ensuring Level Field for Governor’s Opportunity Fund Grants (Chief Patron): In April, 2010, Northrup Grumman announced that it was moving its corporate headquarters to Northern Virginia in part, after it received $3 million in incentives from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund.  Similar deals were announced with Hilton Worldwide ($1 million) and SAIC ($1.5 million).  Northrup Grumman has donated over $100,000 to statewide candidates since 2009, Hilton Worldwide over $90,000 since 2009, and SAIC over $25,000.

    On average, Governor’s Opportunity Fund grant recipients since 2009 who had histories of contributing to statewide candidates received grants twice as large as entities that did not contribute (Contact Delegate Surovell’s Office to request data).

    This legislation prohibits the Governor, his campaign committee or any associated political action committees from soliciting or accepting contributions or gifts greater than $50 from corporations seeking loans or grants from the Governor’s Development Opportunity Fund.  
  • HB 248: Assuring Equity in Charges for Special Counsel (Chief Patron): In response to the Richmond Times-Dispatch report that Gov. McDonnell and Attorney General Cuccinelli billed taxpayers at least $570,000 and counting in attorney’s fees defending their corrupt activities. This bill would cap outside attorneys fees at $1,235, the fee for a court-appointed attorney defending someone charged with a felony punishable by over 20 years in jail.

  • HB 252: Preventing Use of Public Assets in Political Activities (Chief Patron): This bill limits the use of public assets for private or personal purposes unrelated to official duties or any other legitimate government interest. This is in response to Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene Delgaudio who was accused by a former staff aide of using his county office to benefit his political campaign.  In that case, the Grand Jury empanelled to consider criminal charges against Supervisor Delgaudio issued a report specifically recommending that § 18.2-112 be amended to prohibit part-time government employees from misusing state assets in addition to full-time employees.

 

Transportation Reform

  • HB 379: Changes to the Commonwealth Transportation Board (Chief Patron): The Commonwealth Transportation Board is very unbalanced and based on 1930s Congressional districts heavily skewed to favor low-population areas. This bill changes the composition of the Commonwealth Transportation Board to match congressional district lines. This would double Northern Virginia’s representation and allow it to become equal to the rest of Virginia’s population.
  • HB 4: Repeal the Hybrid Tax (Chief Patron): The hybrid tax punishes Virginians who choose to do the right thing and is out of touch with the fiscal realities of driving. Because it discourages people from making fuel-efficient purchases, I have introduced legislation to repeal annual license tax on hybrid vehicles enacted last year. It also provides tax refunds for people who register their vehicle on or after July 1, 2014.

Civil Rights & Consumer Protection

  • HJ 11:  Repeal Gay Marriage Ban (First Reference) (Chief Patron): Repeals the Marshall-Newman Amendment passed in 2006 which banned gay marriage in the Constitution of Virginia.

  • HB 939: Repeal Gay Marriage Ban Code of Virginia (Chief Patron): Repeals the statute banning gay marriage in the Code of Virginia. This does not affect the Virginia Constitution.

  • HJ 12: Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment (Chief patron): Ratifies the Equal Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution that was proposed by Congress in 1972.

  • HB 979: Predatory Loan Reform (Chief Patron): The U.S. 1 corridor has 10% of Fairfax County’s population and over 30% of its licensed car title lenders. Our proximity to the District of Columbia and Maryland (and a casino very soon) – who have tight restrictions on these businesses – creates even more demand. While Fairfax County has always had the authority to limit pawnbrokers and currently limits them to one per supervisor district, the county has no zoning authority to limit others. This bill would allow localities to limit the number of payday lenders in their district similar to their current ability to limit pawnshops by local ordinance.
  • HB 934: Credit Freeze for Minors (Chief Patron): Provides for a security freeze on the credit reports of minors age 16 and under. If a freeze is established, it prohibits a credit-reporting agency from releasing information on that minor. This legislation also ensures that credit card companies cannot offer credit cards to minors with frozen credit security.
  • HB: 327: Law Enforcement Officers Procedural Guarantees (Chief Patron): Adds Department of Corrections officers to the list of law-enforcement officers and grants them the right of due process when accused of wrongdoing.


Alternative Energy

  • HB 1061: Renewable Portfolio Standard Program (Chief Patron): Allows energy net metering systems and the State Corporation Commission to establish a market-based renewable energy-trading program.

  • HB 1158: Establishing Community Solar Gardens (Chief Patron): Authorizes the establishment of community solar gardens that residents may subscribe to and receive credits on their utility  bills from energy generated at the solar facility in proportion to the size of their subscription. 

 

21st Century Education Reform

  • HB 936: Electronic textbooks; prohibits school board (Chief Patron): Prohibits a school system from offering students an electronic textbook for use outside a school until a school system can ensure that every student in the locality has access to a personal computing device and broadband internet service in their residence.

Gun Safety

  • HB 964: No Guns for Terrorists (Chief Patron): Makes it a crime to purchase or sell a firearm when it is bought with the intention to commit, conspire to commit, or aid and abet in the commission of an act of terrorism. It also prohibits anybody on the FBI’s terrorist watch list from obtaining a concealed handgun permit.


Government Transparency

  • HB 380: FOIA Disclosures (Chief Patron) Nothing in FOIA would have any bearing upon disclosures required by court order or subpoena.

  • HB 937: SCC Included in FOIA Disclosures (Chief Patron): The State Corporation Commission handles hundreds-of-millions of dollars of taxpayer money every year and oversees billions of dollars in industry. However, the SCC is exempt from making FOIA disclosures, leaving Virginian’s in the dark about what this powerful state entity is doing. This bill would require they reveal information subject to FOIA requests, overturning Christian v. SCC.
Judicial Reform
  • HB 942: Prohibits Use of Electric Chair (Chief Patron): This bill would eliminate the electric chair as a method of execution in Virginia. Virginia is an outlier that continues to cling to 19th Century technology in the 21st century. Electrocution is time-consuming, burdensome and expensive to keep employees trained on a rarely used method of execution since Virginia adopted lethal injection in1994. Since then, only eight people have been electrocuted.

  • HB 1260: Sexting between Minors (Chief Patron): Currently when minors are caught exchanging sexually graphic images, the only available charges are felony possession and distribution of child pornography. If they are found guilty, teens face a lifetime on the child predator registry. This is a senseless law. This bill reduces the charge for sexting between minors to a misdemeanor provided it is not malicious, giving the justice system better options when dealing with juveniles. 
     
  • HB 940: Repeals Adultery as a Criminal Offense (Chief Patron): This bill would remove adultery or fornication from the list of criminal misdemeanors and reclassify it as a civil offense subject to a $250 fine. This would prevent people accused of adultery from having to plead the 5th amendment rather than admit to a criminal offense.
  • HB 941: Smuggler’s Trap Vehicle Ban (Chief Patron): This law was requested by the Virginia Fraternal Order of Police. It is identical to the North Carolina law and will help curb the trafficking of illegal drugs, tobacco, alcohol and humans. Furthermore, it will show smugglers that if they travel they go through Virginia, they will lose their vehicle of income. My bill makes it illegal to own, buy, sell or create secret compartments in vehicles  for the purpose of concealing a controlled substance or contraband.

  • HB 938: Active Military Jury Duty Exemption (Chief Patron): Adds out-of-state residents that are active duty Marines and Coast Guard members to the list of military exempt from jury duty in Virginia. Currently, the list overlooks Marines and Coast Guard members and includes only the Army, Air Force and Navy.

  • HB 250: Child Custody or Visitation Petition (Chief Patron): Right now, petitioners to the court with multiple children for child custody or visitation are overburdened with paperwork and charged attorneys fees because they must file separate petitions for each child. This bill streamlines the process for petitioning for child custody by allowing individuals to file a single case for multiple children instead of multiple petitions per child reducing costs for taxpayers and paperwork.
  • HB 980: Absentee Voter Street Addresses (Chief Patron): Currently, when absentee voters ship their ballots or ballot requests via non-USPS mail delivery service, they cannot ship to PO boxes. This would provide that instructions for completing and returning absentee ballots and applications for absentee ballots include a street address for the offices of the general registrar and electoral board that is capable of receiving mail by commercial delivery service.

  • HB 945: License Restrictions for First-Time DUI Offenders (Chief Patron): Eliminates the required driving restrictions for first-time offenders with a BAC under .15 and instead requires them to install an ignition interlock device to drive to their desired destination.

  • HB 944: Drug-Related DUI Reform (Chief Patron): Eliminates the requirement that drug-related DUI offenders install an ignition interlock system, which detects alcohol only and is cost prohibitive.  

  • HB 943: Ignition Interlock Installation Grace Period (Chief Patron): Allows for the court to provide a grace period to install an ignition interlock for up to 30 days at the judge’s discretion. This prevents people from being charged for a crime when they are waiting for their installation appointment.

  • HB: 378: Improper Driving Jury Discretion (Chief Patron): This bill would give juries the same power that judges have in non-jury trials to find a person charged with reckless driving guilty of improper driving if the degree of culpability is slight. Improper driving is a traffic infraction.

  • HB 244: Grand Larceny Threshold Increase (Chief Patron): Currently, the threshold for felony grand larceny is $200. That threshold is among the lowest in the country and has not been updated since 1983. This bill would increase the grand larceny threshold to $500. This would help reduce the overburdened court system, and would reduce felony convictions for minors, saving taxpayer resources.

  • HB 249: Setting aside judgment confessed (Chief Patron): This bill prevents the courts from charging an extra fee when defendants confess to a crime.

  • HB 251: Procedure Following Death or Disability of a Real Estate Broker (Chief Patron): This was approved by the housing commission and would allow the Real Estate Board to approve persons designated by a broker name an individual to conclude their business in the event of the broker’s death or disability.

  • HB 984: Bond Appeal Protections (Chief Patron): Currently, the Appellate Courts and General District Courts retread old bond discussions regarding bond appeals and overturn appellate court decisions. This prevents district courts from altering a bond amount set by an appellate court, which is a higher court.

  • HB 982: Expungement of Police and Court Records (Chief Patron): This bill would allow the Commonwealth and Petitioner to agree to waive their right to a hearing on a petition for expungement of police and court records. This would allow the petition to be handled administratively rather than judicially when both sides are in agreement

  • HB 1248: Allows authentic 911 Recordings to be admissible as evidence in court (Chief Patron): Currently, not all 911 recordings are admissible in court. This bill would allow the court to hear recordings when they are authentic or authenticated copies. It also provides for a certificate including the date and time and incoming phone number of the call.
     

Preserving Virginia History

  • HB 1198: School Buildings and the National Register of Historic Places and Virginia Landmarks (Chief Patron): This bill requires local school boards to maintain an inventory of all school buildings over 50 years old and consult with the Department of Historic Resources to determine if each building is eligible for to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places and/or the Virginia Landmarks Register.

Budget Amendments

  • Attorney General Special Counsel: The Attorney General’s office is able to hire and spend as much money on outside counsel as they like. This amendment provides for a list of what outside counsel was hired and how much they billed the Commonwealth.

  • Court Mediation Programs: Provides $750,000 annually to fund mediation programs that save taxpayers money and prevents people being forced to pay for expensive litigation in court.

  • Custody and visitation petitions: Provides $315,000 to the court system to change integrate their digital record system with Delegate Surovell’s legislation allowing parents with multiple children to file one custody or visitation petition rather than several. The courts requested this same amount in their fiscal impact statement.

  • Funding for Judges in Fairfax County: Provides salaries for two circuit court judges and one district court judge in Fairfax County that need to be approved for the newly appointed judges. The positions have already been approved, but they need funding. This amendment would keep dockets moving quickly, allowing petitioners to spend less time in court and reduce the strain on our overburdened court system.

  • Route 1 Transit Study Implementation: Provides $4 million for phase two of the Route 1 transit study, which includes preliminary engineering and an environmental impact analysis.

  • Part-Time Veterans Court Docket Monitor: Counties are authorized to create special court dockets for veterans in the court system. This amendment provides $36,000 for a part-time employee to track, manage and monitor the docket.

  • School Computers and Broadband: Funds requirement that school systems provide computers and broadband access for students when that school offers electronic textbooks.