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Focus on Fairfax Newsletter of Delegate David Bulova
January 2007

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I am pleased to announce that I will be hosting a Town Hall meeting on Saturday, January 27th at Fairfax City Hall from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. I hope that you will stop by to hear about what is going on at the General Assembly and provide your feedback. Also, please take a moment to fill out my 2007 survey. Your opinion is very important to me. More information can be found at

We began Session on January 10th with opening ceremonies and the Governor’s State of the Commonwealth speech in Jamestown. It was hard not to think about how blessed we are as a nation as we gathered within the boundaries of the original Jamestown Fort established in 1607. Here, from humble beginnings, the seeds were planted for the ideals we cherish today – freedom of religion, rule of law, and a representative form of government.

Although we have been in Session for only a week, the General Assembly is in full swing. As reported in the papers, the House and Senate Republicans released their transportation plan on Thursday. The major themes – linking growth and development, new transportation funding, and VDOT reforms – are on point. However, the details are critical. I agree with many of the components (including a Northern Virginia-specific plan), while others may be cause for concern (such as $250 million from the General Fund that currently goes to other priorities). At this point I am keeping an open mind and will work diligently to represent the best interests of the 37th District and Virginia. Overall, I am glad that we have a framework to begin deliberations.

On Friday, we considered a change to the House Rules that would require recorded votes in subcommittees. Last year, the rules were changed to allow bills to be killed without a recorded vote. Subcommittees, while a very important part of the legislative process, can be very small (between 5-9 members) and do not typically represent a good cross-section of legislators. As a result, serious issues of accountability and fairness come to play. A resolution was introduced by Delegate Plum of Fairfax to require recorded votes. Regrettably, the bill (HR 48) was defeated 39Y-59N.

While the most controversial issues are yet to make their way through committee, I wanted to provide some insight into just a few of the other issues that we have dealt with in the last week. Most of these aren’t front-page news. But they are interesting in their own right and more typical of the issues we deal with on a daily basis. I hope you enjoy reading about them.

Regulation of Apparel and Buttons in Voting Areas (HB 1769). For as long as I remember, it has been a rule that you must take off political buttons, stickers, hats, etc. when in the actual voting area. The idea is that the campaign ends outside, and that the process of actually voting should be free from distraction. HB 1769 proposes to remove this prohibition. The bill was introduced as a free speech measure and in recognition that most people are courteous enough not to come into the voting area as a walking billboard. The counter argument is that although it may be a minor inconvenience, the rule is meant to protect voters from the small number of people who don’t exercise common-sense. Both sides agreed that consistency was important, since election officers shouldn’t have to be constantly making judgment calls about whether someone has crossed the line. Politics makes odd bedfellows, with me and Delegate McQuigg from Prince William opposing the measure. Although the bill passed unanimously out of committee, there was enough concern on the House Floor to have the measure re-referred back to committee for additional consideration.

Career and Technical Education Requirement in High School (HB 1442). I received a number of emails and calls from constituents on this bill, which would require that two of the elective courses required for a standard diploma be in career and technical education. The issue that this bill is trying to address is very real – Virginia has a shortage of workers in the technical fields. And for those students who are not planning to attend college, having some marketable technical skill upon graduation is a plus. However, because of the requirement, the measure takes away opportunities for concentrating in other areas. It also requires that a student take a sequence of two related technical electives (for instance, Shop I and Shop II), meaning that if you don’t like the first course, you must continue or loose that credit. In the end, it appeared to me that this is an issue best handled by local school boards and guidance councilors who can work to meet individual student needs. Most of the Northern Virginia delegation, including myself, voted against the bill. However, it ultimately passed (72Y-25N) and is now in the Senate for consideration.

Disposition of Inaugural Committee Funds (HB 1977). Most of the inaugural activities when a Governor is elected are funded through private donations. But after the swearing-in, parades, and inaugural ball, what happens to the excess funds? Although inaugural activities are non-partisan, any excess money can currently be given to various campaign committees even if the donors never meant for that to be the case. HB 1977 would limit how excess funds can be dispersed – providing an option for either returning the funds to the donors, or donating the excess to charity. It seems that this is a way to make government a little more open and so I voted for the measure. Unlike the bill described above, I was on the prevailing side of this issue (62Y-32N). It is interesting to note that the vote didn’t break along partisan or even regional lines.

Thanks to everyone who has come to visit me in Richmond and shared their views in emails, letter, and phone calls. I hope to see you next weekend at the Town Hall meeting!


David Bulova

Delegate David Bulova
David Bulova

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Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 310-6752
[email protected]

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Capitol Square, General Assembly Building
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Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 698-1037
[email protected]

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