Bills, Bills, Bills!
Today marks the end of the second week of the 2019 General Assembly session, and I’m happy to bring you an update in the second edition of the Debra Dispatch.
This past weekend, I attended the Women’s March expo at the Arthur Ashe Center. I met a lot of locally-owned, women-run businesses, and met with constituents who were there to support women’s rights and rally support for the Equal Rights Amendment. I attended this event with Senator Jennifer McClellan, Delegate Jennifer Carroll-Foy, and Henrico Commonwealth’s Attorney, Shannon Taylor.
On Monday, my bill, HB 1693, passed out of the education subcommittee with a vote of 7-1. HB 1693 would direct the Department of Education to develop guidelines for individualized education plan teams to use for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities. This ensures the IEP teams consider age and developmentally appropriate instruction related to self-protection, personal boundaries, respect for personal privacy and sexual health. It will now go before the full Education Committee on Monday morning at 9 am (1/21). Thank you to Brian and Judy for telling your personal story to the committee and to The Arc of Virginia, DisAbility Law Center of Virginia, and Virginia Board for People with Disabilities (VBPD) for voicing their support and lending a hand on the technical aspect of this bill.
House Bill 1726 went up in front of the Privileges and Elections subcommittee on Tuesday. This bill would have authorized the Department of Elections to distribute voter registration application forms to institutions of higher education that participate in the Virginia Tuition Assistance Grant programs. In other words, when a student receives their funding letter and paperwork, they would also receive a blank voter registration form. There was full support from the stakeholders. Unfortunately, this bill was laid on the table and will not move forward.
Wednesday night, I spoke to the Henrico Moms Demand Action group, a leading gun safety organization, with my friend and colleague, Delegate Schuyler VanValkenburg, to discuss best practices when meeting with members of the General Assembly.
Yesterday, I presented House Bill 1692 to the Health Welfare and Institutions subcommittee where it passed and will now go before the Appropriations Committee. This bill is incredibly important for the older adult population in our community as it will allow for a personal needs allowance increase for individuals living in a long-term care facility. This allowance is used to purchase personal needs such as dentures, getting haircuts, birthday cards for grandchildren, socks, undergarments, clothes, and other necessities. These are items that nursing homes do not provide and the current amount of $40 a month is not enough to cover these vital expenses.
I expect that next week the majority of our remaining twelve bills will be heard in subcommittees. I will update my Facebook page when these bills have been placed on dockets.
Late last year I had a few phone calls from constituents who had concerns about speeding on Pemberton Road. I asked VDOT to conduct a speed study and they have gotten back to me with the results. VDOT conducted a speed study in two sections (Broad to Three Chopt, and Three Chopt to Quioccasin). They looked at things like the 85th percentile speed, pavement condition, development and pedestrian activity, traffic volume, and crash and injury rates. VDOT concluded that the average speed was 5-6 miles per hour above the posted speed limit. In their experience, lowering the speed limit would not increase compliance. VDOT will install chevrons at Woodstream Drive to alert drivers of the upcoming curve on that road. VDOT learned that the crash rate was higher than the district average of comparable roads, specifically at the entrance to the Westpark Shopping Center. VDOT has contacted the county traffic engineering department about a proposal to make the entrance to the shopping center a 'right-in/ right-out' which will reduce the number of crashes seen in that area.
The Secretary of the Commonwealth is seeking applications to the nearly 300 boards, councils, and commissions in Virginia. You can search through the list and apply at this link.
Below are some pictures of the constituent groups that I took meetings with throughout the week.
Thank you for reading the Debra Dispatch! I am thrilled to give you an update each and every week on the happenings at the General Assembly. I look forward to keeping you updated. As always, I am here to serve you, so please never hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can call my office at 804-698-1073.