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Focus on Fairfax Newsletter of Delegate David Bulova
January 2008

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

Anyone reading the Washington Post on Friday knows that this week was a little more rancorous than usual. While Floor debates can be full of passion and fiery speeches, and while there are real issues at stake, the important thing is to not lose sight of why we are down here – which is to do the work of the people.

I am pleased to report that my first bill of the Session passed the House this Friday with my family in the gallery to witness the occasion. The bill (HB388) standardizes how Virginia negotiates easements on State-owned property in order to avoid duplication of effort and to ensure that the Commonwealth is fairly compensated. A common example is when a cable television company wants to run a line through public property. Under the existing Code, each agency has its own process. Not only does this create inconsistency, but often a deal negotiated at one level of government must be renegotiated when it reaches a higher level. My bill requires the establishment of comprehensive guidelines to make the process more consistent – a win-win situation for everyone involved.

Thanks to everyone who took the time to provide feedback on the HPV vaccination issue. I received several dozen responses to my request for input. The thoughtfulness of the replies simply reaffirms why I love our community and this job. Although there were good arguments on both sides, the overwhelming sentiment was to delay mandatory implementation, which is how I ultimately voted. One of the concerns was to make sure that those with limited incomes could afford to get vaccinated if they chose to do so voluntarily. This concern is addressed in the Governor’s budget, which contains funding for the vaccine for those with limited incomes.

One of the sometimes frustrating aspects of this job is when a bill you are carrying is misinterpreted or misrepresented. Unfortunately, this happened with one of my bills this week. An important issue that the General Assembly addressed last year was eminent domain reform. I was pleased to vote for landmark property rights legislation in 2007 that greatly narrowed when a local government can exercise eminent domain. This year, at the request of the City of Fairfax, I introduced a bill to clarify an unintended consequence of last year’s bill. The problem that the City discovered is that the more narrow definition of public use not only applies to eminent domain, but also to the purchase of property from a willing seller (which is located in a different section of the Code of Virginia). So, in good faith, I set out to correct the oversight (HB387). Unfortunately, Senator Ken Cuccinelli mistook the effort as an attempt to “utterly destroy” the bill we passed last year and sent out a statement to that affect.

Although I wish that the Senator had contacted me first, I wanted to make sure that you know I have no intention of reversing the progress made last year. In fact, I have been working with several property rights groups and the Virginia Farm Bureau to strengthen the language in my bill to make sure that it does not affect eminent domain.

You never know what is going to happen from one minute to the next in the General Assembly, but it is never dull. This weekend I am heading down to the Colonial Capitol in Williamsburg where we are holding a commemorative Session of the General Assembly. This is a 70-year-old tradition, done once every four years, to renew the Assembly’s “inspiration and to strengthen its resolve to perpetuate the fundamental principles of free governments.”

Finally, don’t forget to stop by for my Town Hall meeting on February 2nd at the Fairfax City Hall. Joining me will be Senator Chap Petersen, who I also know has had many adventures on the Senate side.


David Bulova

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Delegate David Bulova

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Richmond, VA 23219
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