delegate bulova banner
Focus on Fairfax
Jan. 27, 2016
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
 
The General Assembly got back to work this Monday after briefly closing for Winter Storm Jonas.  Last week I was thrilled to be visited by a number of folks from back home, including constituents representing the City of Fairfax Electoral Board, the Independent Auto Dealers Association, the Urban League, the National Federation of the Blind, the Hemophilia Foundation, the Virginia Credit Union League, the Humane Society, the Virginia Interfaith Center, and many others!  Visit my Facebook page for pictures.

Survey and Town Hall Meeting
 
If you haven't done so already, please take a few moments to share your thoughts about some of the issues facing this year's General Assembly by filling out my 2016 Constituent Survey.  Your feedback is very important to me.
 
Please mark your calendars for two upcoming events.  On Saturday, February 6th, Senator Chap Petersen and I will be holding our annual Town Hall meeting at the Fairfax City Hall.  We will kick off at 9:00 a.m. with an overview of the session and then open up the floor to questions and comments.
 
Next, I am hosting my third Constituent Day at the General Assembly on Monday, February 15th.  Everyone is welcome, including children.  We will gather at the General Assembly Building between 9:30 and 10:00 a.m.  The day will include a tour of the Capitol and watching the House floor session from the Gallery.  My wife Gretchen will then take everyone on a guided tour of the Governor's Mansion.  To RSVP or for more information, email me at info@davidbulova.com.

2016 Legislative Agenda
 
This year I have introduced 13 bills and three budget amendments.  I have also signed on as a co-patron to numerous other bills.  Below are some highlights. 
 
I-66 Tolls
 
I have introduced three bills, each dealing with a different aspect of I-66.  At least 10 bills have been introduced in the House, with several more being introduced in the Senate.  My first bill, HB407, would prohibit conversion of the entire length of I-66 from HOV-2 to HOV-3 prior to 2020.  In 2020, all interstate HOV lanes in the DC metropolitan area are scheduled to convert to HOV-3 to comply with the federal Clean Air Act.  While I would like to see HOV-2 continue after 2020, at the very least I don't want them prematurely converted simply for the purpose of tolling. 
 
The next two bills deal with the circumstances under which tolling could take place on I-66.  My HB916 provides that no toll can be collected on any component of I-66 currently in existence.  After discussions with the Secretary of Transportation, though, it is clear that separate lanes inside the Beltway (with appropriate shoulders and barriers) would require considerable expansion of the I-66 footprint.  However, simply widening I-66 eastbound from the Dulles Connector to Ballston (which is a major choke-point) is very feasible.  As my back-up bill, HB1374 provides that any tolling inside the Beltway must be coincident with widening of this stretch.  The current VDOT plan would wait five years until even considering widening.
 
That brings me to some final points.  I am a strong proponent that we must not only widen roads, but also provide commuters with multi-modal options.  The question is how to pay for these services recognizing that we Northern Virginians already pay more in taxes for transportation.  I realize that tolls may be inevitable when talking about I-66 outside of the Beltway given the magnitude of the cost.  However, I asked our Secretary of Transportation how much it would cost to simply widen the bottleneck on I-66 from the Dulles Connector to Ballston.  The answer?  About $122 million.  To put that into perspective, widening Stringfellow Road from Route 50 to Fair Lakes Boulevard only cost half this much.  Perhaps the better solution is to skip the tolls and simply widen the road.

Standards of Learning
 
Over the past few sessions the General Assembly has focused its attention on reforming our SOL tests.  I strongly support this effort, recognizing that we need to be deliberative as we shift from high-stakes, end-of-the-year tests in favor of more meaningful assessments.  One of the areas where I believe we can make faster progress is with so-called "student-selected" verified credits.  This is a requirement that one of a student's electives needs to have an SOL test associated with it.  This creates a situation where students are forced to take an elective that otherwise might not make sense because not all electives are associated with an SOL.  Further, this is strictly a state requirement, so there are no federal issues involved.  My HB1365 directs the Board of Education to eliminate these student-selected verified credits unless the overall number of verified credits have been reduced as part of a larger comprehensive reform.
 
HOA Declarations
 
Today, most people who move into a new residential development are required to be part of an HOA.  An HOA's declarations act in much the same way as a town charter.  However, unlike a town charter, the General Assembly has very little control over them after they are adopted.  Poorly crafted declarations can cause long lasting problems that are difficult to solve.  In response, I introduced a bill last year to require the Common Interest Community Board to develop "best practices" for use by developers when crafting declarations.  The Board has completed their work and these practices are now online.  The question then became, how do we ensure that these practices are utilized?  This year I have introduced HB521, which requires a developer to certify that they have read the best practices when submitting a declaration as part of the development process.  This will hopefully ensure that the practices are used, while giving developers the flexibility to account for different types of development.

Sediment Trading
 
OK, this one is technical, but has the potential to help local governments save money while meeting new requirements to restore the Chesapeake Bay.  Localities like Fairfax County and the City of Fairfax must meet specific reductions in nutrient and sediment pollution by the year 2025.  Because this can be tough to achieve in an urban environment, Virginia adopted a program for nutrient trading that allows a locality to purchase credits elsewhere in a watershed.  However, these credits were not available for sediment.  Working closely with the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, the Department of Environmental Quality, and the Virginia Municipal Stormwater Association, we came up with legislation to expand credits to sediment.  I am pleased that HB438 passed out of committee unanimously.
 
Keeping Local Fines Local
 
Finally, I have introduced a budget amendment to make sure that local traffic fines stay here locally.  Starting in 2012, the General Assembly put language in the budget to take a portion of local fines when local fines exceed 50 percent of combined state and local collections.  This action was taken in response to a few bad actors - in particular a scheme by the City of Hopewell Sheriff's Office ticketing speeders in speed traps on the interstate that runs through the City.  However, the budget language caught up several other localities, including the City of Fairfax.  Now, the City must submit its local collections to the State Treasury, and then the State Treasurer writes a check back minus funds retained by the state.  Indiscriminately confiscating local money is unfair and I was glad to submit a budget amendment at the City's request.
 
Other Legislation
 
Click here to see my entire legislative agenda, including legislation on human trafficking (HB554 and HB1084) and to establish a permanent mechanism to assist localities with funding for stormwater quality (HB1085). As always, I appreciate any suggestions for future legislation!
 
Please make sure you fill out the survey and mark your calendars for the Town Hall meeting and Constituent Day!
Sincerely,

david's signature
David Bulova
Delegate, 37th Virginia House District
2010 David Bulova
Paid for and authorized by Friends of David Bulova
Websolutions by Questox
 
Delegate David Bulova
del. david bulova

Fairfax Office
9900 Main Street,
Plaza 102
Fairfax, VA 22031
(703) 310-6752

Richmond Office
(During General
 Assembly Session)
Capitol Square, General Assembly Building
Room 402
Richmond, VA 23219
(804) 698-1037
Quick Links