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Focus on Fairfax Newsletter of Delegate David Bulova
January 2009

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

I hope that you will join me and Senator Chap Petersen at a Town Hall meeting this Saturday, January 24th from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. at the City of Fairfax Council Chambers, 10455 Armstrong Street. We are looking forward to sharing our progress in Richmond and to answering questions about issues that are important to you.

In the General Assembly, there is the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat – and then there is having bills stuck in subcommittee. This week I experienced all three, two of which were with one bill!

One of the bills I am most excited about authorizes George Mason University to appoint an advisory member from the community to the Board of Visitors (HB 1990). I am enormously proud to have GMU as a neighbor. At the same time, Mason has grown from a school consisting of four buildings and a couple hundred students in the 1960s to over 30,000 students today. In short, not much goes on in the campus that doesn’t affect the community, and vise versa. After working closely with the university, we agreed that a stronger, ongoing, and more strategic partnership is needed between the community and GMU. In particular, we wanted to make sure that the community felt it had a voice in the future of Mason – and likewise, GMU wanted to make sure that it benefited from the insights that a community representative could provide.

The approach is new and also unique to GMU, so it generated considerable debate. The measure passed the House Education Committee 14Y to 6N. Today on the House Floor the bill deadlocked on a tie vote (48-48). Fortunately I will have another chance this next Monday. You can be sure I’ll keep you updated on this one.

In limbo is my HB 2107. An issue that I feel strongly about is making sure that eminent domain is used only when appropriate and absolutely necessary. This year I am carrying a bill to close a loophole regarding the ability of local governments to use “quick take” eminent domain. A quick take is an accelerated eminent domain process used for acquiring a right of way. While this authority is necessary, it is typically reserved for large linear projects such as roads, water systems, and other similar infrastructure where several properties are involved. A glitch in the Code allows for a quick take to be used for any project that otherwise qualifies for the exercise of eminent domain – which was not the intent of the General Assembly. Kudos to Fairfax County for also recognizing the problem and working with me on the legislation.

While all of the parties involved appear to agree that the current language is not appropriate, it opened a new debate over the proper scope of quick take eminent domain. After an hour of testimony and debate in the Civil Subcommittee of the Courts Committee we finally agreed to come back next week for another try.

This week I enjoyed having several constituents come to visit me in Richmond. I was pleased to welcome representatives from the Business and Professional Women of Fairfax, the Sierra Club, the Virginia Bankers Association, the Fairfax City Credit Union, and the Coalition for Virginians with Mental Disabilities, just to name a few. Thanks for coming down!

I look forward to sharing other bills and issues at the Town Hall meeting and in future newsletters. Hope to see you Saturday.


David Bulova

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