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Crossover Update 
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Delegate Peace Highlights District Focused Legislative Successes at Session's "Half-time" 2016
Del. Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) reports on several legislative successes at what is officially termed, "Crossover." At this mid-point of the legislative session, several items on Del. Peace's legislative agenda passed the House and will now be heard by the Senate of Virginia.
Pam Cross comes to share her personal story
House Bill 1312, which passed unanimously on February 16th, creates a special license plate in memory and honor of the late Hanover educator Meg Menzies.  Peace's bill will direct DMV to issue license plates for supporters of Meg's Miles, raising awareness of safety of runners.  Menzies was tragically killed while running on Route 54 with her husband, an Ashland police officer.  "This legislation and subsequent plate will generate more awareness of drunk and distracted driving as well as honor Meg's memory," said Peace. 
"Not just as an accomplished athlete, but as a devoted mother, sister, daughter and wife, in her short life of 34 years Meg was able to make a tremendous impact to people all over the Richmond region as a mentor for fellow athletes, and others for good will. This license plate is meant to provoke conversation and a sense of community whether it be runners, walkers, families, people of faith and anyone wanting to make a difference in the world around them," expressed Ryan Hudson, who helped organize special plate initiative.    
On behalf of Virginia's state recognized tribes in King William County and others across the Commonwealth, Del. Peace introduced House Bill 814.  HB 814 is a measure to authorize the Secretary of the Commonwealth, as liaison to these tribes, to establish a Virginia Indian advisory board to assist him in reviewing applications seeking recognition as a Virginia Indian tribe and to make recommendations to the Secretary, the Governor, and the General Assembly on such applications and other matters relating to recognition. The bill sets out the membership and powers and duties of any Virginia Indian advisory board established by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Speaking to passage of the bill, Stephen Adkins, Chief of the Chickahominy Tribe, "HB 814 provides a much needed, credible process for according state recognition to Indian groups seeking recognition as Virginia Indian Tribes.  As described in HB 814, an advisory council, which includes scholars/experts in subject matter required to distinguish between Indian groups and Indian tribes, will vet documentation and provide objective feedback to inform the legislature's decision regarding granting state recognition to Indian Groups."
"As Chief of the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe, I think House Bill 814 is the only proper way to deal with recognition issues with Tribes and Tribal Groups of Virginia.  A Virginia Indian Advisory Board is the only logical way to review these requests and make educated recommendations to the General Assembly," stated Frank Adams, Chief of the Upper Mattaponi Tribe. 
Eli's Law, introduced as House Bill 682 patroned by Peace, was incorporated into House Bill 177 and passed by a vote of 99-0.  Eli's Law will require those who commit malicious bodily injury or aggravated malicious bodily injury against a child under 13 years of age to be placed on the Virginia Sex Offenders & Crimes Against Minors registry.  Placement of offenders on the register alerts parents and businesses to take extra precautions to ensure that children are not placed in dangerous situations. 
Speaking in committee, Peace commented, "I think that common sense tells you that if you're going to take an infant child and bash its brain in then you're going to be pretty likely to commit some other type of crime later. I think public notice is the minimum that we would expect in certain circumstances such as that."
Talking about the passage of Eli's Law, a Mechanicsville constituent, and the child's mother, stated, "My son, nearly lost his life to abuse in 2010. I went to Delegate Peace after noticing there was no law that requires those who nearly kill children, to be placed on the Crimes Against Minors registry. [Peace] took this very seriously and he created legislation known as Eli's Law. I thank him for seeking to protect our most valuable resource, our children. I thank Chris, for all he is doing for our families, our community and most of all, our children."
Another important Peace measure passed unanimously, House Bill 668 provides that a court shall consider the circumstances and factors that contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, specifically including any ground for divorce, in determining the nature, amount, and duration of a spousal support award.  This legislative idea was brought to Peace by a constituent who was a victim of domestic violence.  She pressed charges on her assaulter who was subsequently convicted and incarcerated.  When she divorced her assaulter while he was incarcerated, the judge awarded him spousal support.  Peace felt that no victim should be compelled to pay their attacker and took steps to prevent this from happening in the future with this common sense legislation.  "To allow otherwise is truly insult to injury," said Peace.    
Melissa and Sarah Ball visited this week
Also passing at Crossover, by a vote of 97-2, House Bill 675 will allow Auxiliary Grant (AG) beneficiaries to live in supportive housing closer to communities in which they reside.  This bill will allow individuals with disabilities and/or specialized housing needs a broader choice of housing options to 
meet their needs.  An AG is an income supplement for individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and certain other aged, blind, or disabled individuals who reside in a licensed assisted living facility (ALF) or an approved adult foster care (AFC) home.
"Virginians deserve access to quality, affordable healthcare, and this measure will increase portability and choice in this vulnerable population primarily those with mental illness," said Delegate Chris Peace, yet far too often, local communities are denied increased access to basic services." 
At the beginning of the 2016 session, Delegate Peace joined several other senior Republican members of the Virginia House of Delegates to introduce legislation to reform Virginia's Certificate of Public Need (COPN) laws.  Policies spanned from full repeal to various other significant reforms to COPN, to create a more free-market healthcare system, improve access to quality and affordable care for patients while controlling costs. COPN measures passed and will now be heard by the Senate.  Peace is the chief co-patron of House Bills 193 and 350. 
House of Delegates to present conservative, responsible budget proposal
~ The budget will deposit $605 million to the rainy day fund, allocate excess revenues to reduce the size of the bond package ~
The Virginia House of Delegates Committee on Appropriations will present a conservative, responsible budget proposal for the 2016-2018 biennium, Chairman S. Chris Jones said on the floor of the House of Delegates Thursday. Jones outlined the core elements of the House proposal in a speech to members. The House budget will be unveiled Sunday at 1 p.m. in House Room D.
"The Appropriations Committee stayed busy during the first half of the 2016 session preparing the House budget proposal," said Jones (R-Suffolk). "As it always is, the House budget will be conservative and responsible. Our first priorities are to structurally balance the budget without Washington-style gimmicks and make responsible decisions that put Virginia on solid financial footing. The House will take prudent and cautious steps to safeguard taxpayers and protect our prestigious triple-A bond rating."
The House budget will build on its longstanding commitment to conservative budgeting by:
  • Depositing $605 million in the state's rainy day fund, restoring the fund to 90 percent of its previous balance. By the end of the biennium, the fund will be at $845 million.
  • Fully funding the state's annual contribution to the Virginia Retirement System, two years ahead of schedule. The House of Delegates first proposed fully funding VRS in November, before the Governor's budget proposal was released.
  • Accelerating the $189.5 million repayment to the VRS for the contribution rate deferral in 2010. This is six years ahead of schedule.
  • Eliminating the Accelerated Sales Tax on over 90% of businesses by the end of FY 2018.
  • Proposing a bond package of $1.5 billion, which is nearly 40% smaller than the $2.4 billion package originally proposed by the Governor.
  • Allocating excess revenues to reduce the amount of money borrowed for the bond package. Under the House proposal, if revenues exceed the modified forecast, that money will be used to pay down the balance of the bond package. Any revenues in excess of the original forecast will be allocated in accordance with the Constitution, state law and other budget requirements. 
Buddy Thompson came to the Capitol
"The wisdom of the House's conservative and cautious approach to state budgeting has been proven time and time again," said House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). "Our conservative budget amendments in 2015 led to the largest single-year revenue surplus in the history of the Commonwealth. We have maintained our Triple-A bond rating as other states and the federal government are being downgraded. I thank Chairman Jones and the entire House Appropriations Committee for their hard work and I look forward to seeing the entire budget on Sunday."
"As a conservative, I believe government should exercise careful discretion when spending precious taxpayer resources. This is a philosophy that my colleagues and I on the Appropriations Committee put into practice every year," said Appropriations Committee Vice-Chairman R. Steven Landes (R-Augusta). ""This budget will be consistent with the conservative budgets the House has always produced."
Delegate Peace Urges Constituents to Use IRS Free File for Free Online Tax Prep & E-Filing

Taxpayers Making $62,000 or Less Can Visit to Prepare and E-File Federal Tax Returns for Free; Basic E-Filing Services Available to All

Del. Peace encourages constituents to visit and take advantage of free tax preparation and e-filing service available through the IRS Free File program. Powered by The Free File Alliance, a coalition of 13 industry-leading tax software companies partnered with the IRS, the Free File program provides free access to the industry's most innovative and secure tax software. 

Every taxpayer with a 2015 Adjusted Gross Income of $62,000 or less may visit to prepare, complete and e-file their federal tax returns at no cost. Free state return options are also available. In addition, Free File provides basic online e-filing services, called Free File Fillable Forms, to all taxpayers regardless of income. Free File can also be used to e-file an extension for free.

Free File also helps taxpayers with the new health care requirements. Using Free File, most taxpayers will simply have to check a box to report health care coverage for the entire year.

"The IRS Free File program makes doing your taxes simple, fast and free," said Peace. "While there is a Free File option for everyone, I especially encourage taxpayers making $62,000 or less to take advantage of the comprehensive, step-by-step tax help Free File offers."

"The Free File program has provided almost $1.4 billion in free tax software over the last 13 years," said Tim Hugo, executive director of the Free File Alliance. "Free File is the one place where taxpayers can choose from a variety of the industry's most innovative and secure tax software. It's all free, and it's all online at"

Free File Alliance member companies have continually worked with the IRS to strengthen the Free File program, and taxpayers have consistently reported that it is user-friendly and efficient. Responding to a 2009 IRS survey, 96 percent of users said they found Free File easy to use, while 98 percent said they would recommend the program to others.

About the Free File Alliance

The Free File Alliance, a coalition of 13 industry-leading tax software companies, has partnered with the IRS since 2003 to help low and middle-income Americans prepare, complete and e-file their federal tax returns online. The Free File Alliance is committed to giving 70 percent of taxpayers free access to the industry's top online tax preparation software. More than 46 million returns have been filed through Free File since its inception. For more information, visit  

Virginia Delegate Chris Peace Recognizes debra of America   

State Lawmaker leads passage of a House Resolution commending debra of America for its service to the rare disease community
(February 17, 2016) -- Today, Brett Kopelan, Executive Director of debra of America, issued the following statement upon unanimous passage of an Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) Awareness House Resolution (House Resolution No. 127) introduced by Delegate Chris Peace of the Virginia General Assembly.

"We thank Delegate Peace and the other co-patrons for leading this important effort of promoting EB awareness in the Commonwealth of Virginia. His work to draw attention to Virginians about EB's dire effects upon those living with and caring for all Virginians impacted by EB in the Commonwealth are to be commended. This Resolution is a positive step for raising needed awareness towards the development of a cure or treatment to overcome this devastating disease. debra of America is honored to receive the House of Delegate's recognition as a leader in the fight to cure the worst disease you've never heard of."

Virginia House of Delegates, Christopher K. Peace issued the following statement:

"I am delighted to offer this resolution commending debra of America for their efforts to increase awareness of and support to individuals with Epidermolysis Bullosa, a rare, genetic connective tissue disorder characterized by extremely fragile skin. As the father of a son with EB, I applaud debra of America for providing much needed support of our children and their parents."

House Resolution No. 127 calls attention to the history of debra of America's work to support families impacted by EB through funding research and providing services. It also draws attention to burdens associated with this rare disease that impacts approximately 25,000 Americans and one in every 20,000 children born in the United States. A copy of House Resolution can be found here.

About debra of America: Founded in 1980, debra of America is a non-profit organization which provides comprehensive support to those with Epidermolysis Bullosa. It is the only national organization in the United States to offer free Programs and Services to affected individuals and their caregivers and fund research for an EB cure and treatment. EB is a rare, genetic connective tissue disorder characterized by extremely fragile skin and the development of recurrent, painful blisters, open sores, disfiguring scars, disabling musculoskeletal deformities, internal complications, and shortened life-span. Research indicates that one in every 20,000 children in the U.S. are born with the disease. There is currently no known EB cure or treatment. For more information, visit.  

About the Virginia General Assembly: The Virginia General Assembly is the oldest, continuous law-making body in the New World. According to its website, it dates from the establishment of the House of Burgesses at Jamestown in 1619. It is a legislative body comprised of elected representatives who serve in a part-time capacity in the House of Delegates and State Senate. Delegate Christopher "Chris" Peace has served as a Delegate from the 97th House District since 2006 representing New Kent County and parts of Hanover and King William Counties in Virginia.

Social Media:
Facebook/Twitter: @debraofamerica, Hashtag: #EBawareness

Pastor Buddy Thompson, Life Church of Mechanicsville, offers invocation
Pastor Buddy Thompson, Life Church of Mechanicsville, offers invocation
I have had many visitors from home this week at the General Assembly. I was delighted to receive a visit from New Kent resident Andrew Garcia.  

Also visiting were Dr. Tony Valentino, Sharon Taylor, Gloria Hatchel, Laura Todd, John Hinkle, III of Mechanicsville.  

As always, I look forward to more smiling faces from home next week.  If you are planning a visit during session, stop by and visit.  I am in Room 820 of the General Assembly Building.

TEENPACT students from across the Commonwealth came to pray at the Capitol

Atlee High exchange students visited this week. Nice to see them.
Contact Me
My office takes the responsibility of serving seriously. My staff is available during the week to assist you with your concerns; I am also readily available. I encourage you to contact us. Please continue to contact me whenever you have concerns or issues of importance to our community and the Commonwealth.
 I may be reached at
General Assembly Building
Room Number 820
Phone: 804-698-1097
Fax; 804-698-6797
Mailing Address:
PO Box 819
Mechanicsville, VA 23111