Thanks to everyone who attended my first Town Hall
meeting or filled out my 2006 constituent survey.
now have over 400 responses. By the end of the
week I hope to post the results on the website.
One of the hardest things to get used to in the
General Assembly is that a subcommittee, usually
consisting of between 5 and 9 people, has the power
to kill a bill without a recorded vote. While this can
be used to help clear dockets, it can also be used to
keep important legislation from ever being debated in
the public eye. I experienced this first hand in
Subcommittee #2 of the Committee on Militia, Police,
and Public Safety. Up until last year, the City of
Fairfax and Fairfax County could use photo
to enforce red lights. In its first year, this program
resulted in a 40% decrease in red-light running in
Fairfax County. Unfortunately, the General Assembly
failed to reauthorize the legislation, and the cameras
were taken off-line.
This year I introduced House Bill 961 to reauthorize
the use of photo monitoring. Similar bills were
introduced by Delegate Purkey of Virginia Beach and
Delegate McQuigg of Prince William. Last Thursday
morning, with four members of the subcommittee in
attendance, all three bills were defeated by a 3 to 1
vote. Four individuals, with no recorded vote,
decided the fate of bills that affect hundreds of
thousands of people. So much for representative
With that said, many bills do make it to the House
floor. Today, the House passed measures that will
allow school supplies to be purchased tax free for
three days in August (HB532), completely restructure
the way that cable television is regulated (HB1404),
and provide the Commissioner of Agriculture and
Consumer Services the authority to adopt regulations
to prevent avian influenza (HB982). Later this week,
the House will consider proposals to rescind Virginia?s
motorcycle helmet laws (HB1400) and a bill trying to
deal with residential overcrowding (HB308).
On Wednesday, the Committee on Agriculture,
Chesapeake, and Natural Resources (of which I am a
member) will debate the Clean Smokestacks Act
(HB1055). This bill, which has already passed the
Senate, seeks to reduce mercury pollution from
power plants by going above minimum levels set by
the federal EPA.
Finally, as a former little league and soccer coach
myself, I feel obligated to report on the final
disposition of HB1368, the ?Home Serenity and
Tranquility Act.? I received over a hundred emails
regarding this bill, which would have limited activities
on sports fields to between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
from Monday through Saturday, and would have
prohibited use on Sundays unless the surrounding
homeowners provided unanimous written consent. I
am pleased to say that this bill has died in
committee. So, play ball!
You can track these bills and more at
. Please don?t hesitate to
email or call me to express your view point. Hearing
all sides of an issue might make my job tougher, but
it definitely makes the process stronger.
P.S. - This weekend I had the honor of attending my
son Alex?s Pinewood Derby (Cub Scout Pack 41).
Congratulations to all the scouts for some excellent
(and creative) work. I also had the privilege of
attending the Girl Scout Snowflake Ball with my
daughter Josette. Although it is easy to get focused
on the General Assembly, these are the things that
our community is really all about!