|Dear Friends and Neighbors,|
Most importantly, thank you to all of our service men and women who selflessly gave their lives for our freedom. We also remember the families who have lost their loved ones. We are grateful, full of pride, and we will never forget.
Over the past few months, I have enjoyed getting out to civic and home owners association meetings across the 37th District to talk about the recent General Assembly session and to gather feedback on what we did right, and what we could be doing better. Please don't hesitate to give me a call if you are interested in having me attend one of your meetings.
While the General Assembly wrapped up the regular session on March 14th, our work goes on in the form of various commissions and task forces. For the past several years I have sat on the State Water Commission and the Joint Commission on Health Care. This year the Speaker of the House also appointed me to serve on the Housing Commission - which deals with housing affordability, housing and environmental standards, HOA rules and regulations, and landlord/tenant relations.
Joint Commission on Health Care
This past Wednesday was our first meeting of the year for the Joint Health Care Commission. All I can say is that we have our hands full! Among the presenters was Virginia's newly appointed Secretary of Health and Human Services, William A. Hazel. Probably the biggest task ahead is how to make sense of state roles and responsibilities under the new federal health care initiative. While Secretary Hazel noted that Virginia continues to challenge the constitutionality of the federal insurance mandate, the Governor is also moving forward under the assumption that the challenge could fail. This double-track approach is important to ensure that Virginia can deal with a wide range of policy and funding issues in a timely manner, including those associated with workforce development to ensure that services are available to those eligible for newly expanded benefits.
For those who are interested, the following is a summary of additional issues that will be discussed by the Joint Health Care Commission this year:
· Funding for cancer research;
· Alternatives for treating and housing individuals with chronic health care needs;
· Options for providing catastrophic health insurance coverage;
· Services for individuals with autism spectrum disorder;
· Indigent health care services;
· The effectiveness of Virginia's HIV prevention and treatment programs;
· Lyme disease and protection for doctors who prescribe long-term antibiotic therapy; and,
· The effectiveness of mental health services at public and private colleges and universities.
For more information, as well as a great overview of the federal health care reform legislation, visit http://jchc.virginia.gov.
Governor's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring
Another important commission that will greatly impact our work over the next year is the Governor's Commission on Government Reform and Restructuring. While we should always be looking at ways to make government more effective and efficient - it is particularly important during tough economic times. The commission has been tasked with identifying opportunities for streamlining, consolidating, or eliminating redundant and unnecessary services, regulations, and programs. While Virginia is a well run state, there is certainly room for improvement. For instance, this last year I sponsored a bill (HB208) to eliminate or consolidate a half-dozen outdated school reporting requirements. One of the big issues being discussed is whether Virginia should privatize our Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) system. A preliminary report is due in mid-July and it is likely that the Governor will call a special session later in the year to consider the commission's recommendations - so stay tuned.
Governor's Commission on Higher Education Reform, Innovation, and Investment
And this just in - Governor McDonnell has also announced the formation of a new commission to look at ways to make higher education more affordable and accessible, and also to better link research initiatives at our universities with economic development and job creation. With a son who will be college hunting in the next few years, I know that these issues are very important to Northern Virginians. More information can be found here.
Hurricane Preparedness Tax Free Holiday!
Do you remember how lousy it was to be without power and water in the wake of Hurricane Isabel in 2003? To encourage families to plan for emergencies in the future, the General Assembly passed a tax holiday on emergency supplies such as batteries, flash-lights, self-powered radios, generators, first aid kits, etc. This year's holiday runs through Monday, May 31st. NOAA predicts that this will be a very active hurricane season - with almost two dozen named storms anticipated. For more information, visit www.tax.virginia.gov/salestaxholiday.
I'll be at Patriot Harley-Davidson on Sunday morning to participate in the 12th annual Ride of the Patriots! Hope to see many of you there. Best wishes to everyone for a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.
Delegate, 37th Virginia House District
Delegate David Bulova
9900 Main Street,
Fairfax, VA 22031
Capitol Square, General Assembly Building
Richmond, VA 23219