By State Senator Jill Vogel (R, VA-27)
Letter to Constituents
Last week marked the halfway point of 2017’s legislative session. This deadline, known as “crossover,” is when the Senate must have acted on Senate bills and report those that have passed to the House.
The Senate will consider House bills. Our last bill passed by the Senate was our budget. It was culmination of months of work and it passed unanimously.
The Senate plan addressed compensation very differently than the plan announced by Governor McAuliffe. By prioritizing spending and finding savings, we were able to replace the Governor’s proposed bonuses with actual salary increases. We avoided any cuts to public education while finding money to increase salaries for State Police, sheriffs’ deputies, teachers, and many other state employees.
Last Tuesday we celebrated the passage of SJ 295, my Regulatory Rollback Amendment, which allows the General Assembly to roll back outdated or burdensome regulations with a joint vote of the Senate and the House.
After the bill passed, the Washington Post declared, “GOP legislature moves to wrest regulatory power from Va. governor.”
I introduced this amendment because of the economic challenges Virginia faces in competing with other states for new jobs and investment. Strengthening our checks and balances and providing additional regulatory transparency will help right-size Virginia’s regulatory scope by maintaining the core regulations we need while easing the burdens imposed by rules which are outdated or overly broad.
Under the weight of excessive regulation, Virginia’s economic competitiveness has fallen from 5th to 13th and our economic growth to 48th in the nation. In 2016, Virginia’s labor force participation rate was at a ten year low.
Other bills passed by the Senate which drew attention include the establishment of the Virginia Tax Amnesty Program, a local option for lifetime licensing of dogs and cats, and a bill to hold sanctuary cities financially liable for harboring criminal illegal aliens.
As another week begins, 16 of my 25 bills and amendments remain alive and pending before the House. Six of these are on track for votes from the full House this week and I look forward to their passage. The remaining ten are being heard in committees.
My six bills expected to face House floor votes in the coming week include:
SB 1296 – Meals Tax Restrictions – Prohibits localities from resurrecting a meals tax referendum in the three years following defeat and requires localities to honestly disclose the full proposed tax rate in the ballot question.
SB 1299 – Concealed Carry for Crime Victims – Allows law-abiding crime victims covered by a protective order to carry a concealed weapon while waiting for a carry permit to be approved.
SB 1304 – Municipal Elections – Expands local control over the timing of municipal elections.
SB 1305 – Court Costs for the Indigent – Requires courts apply existing guidelines for indigency when considering civil court fee waivers for the poor.
SB 1546 – Fighting Opioid Abuse – Permanently bans a number of dangerous synthetic opioids with no medical use.
SJ 295 – Regulatory Rollback Amendment – Allows the General Assembly to roll back outdated or burdensome regulations with a joint vote of the Senate and House.
Please consider visiting our office in room 309 of the General Assembly Building while we are still in session. Also, feel free to contact us if you have questions or concerns. Our office number is 804-698-7527 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.