Del. Scott Surovell, Sen. Adam Ebbin, Sen. Toddy Puller Meet Constituents in Mount Vernon
Members of the Virginia General Assembly returned home to Mount Vernon on Saturday to discuss the latest from Richmond.
Del. Scott Surovell (D-44th) and State Senators Adam Ebbin (D-30th) and Toddy Puller (D-36th) relayed the progress of their bills to constituents on Saturday at the Mount Vernon Governmental Center, and briefly discussed pending legislation before the 2013 session comes to a close Feb. 23.
Surovell has been working to get a statewide ban on texting while driving. "Personally, I don't think the bill goes far enough," he said. "Right now, if the bill carries, you're still allowed to browse the Internet while driving, play music and look at your phone and play 'Angry Birds' while driving. It's also a lot harder to enforce, I think. I think it ought to be hands-free….But at least it's the first step."
For the latest on bills in the 2013 General Assembly session, go to the Richmond Sunlight.
One resident said that potential Medicaid expansion is as important as the transportation issue for the State. "A lot of people do not realize this is a prime opportunity to bring Virginia up to the level that other states are already at. It's a start, and 30,000-40,000 people in Fairfax County would become eligible for Medicaid, and that will improve the costs of their medical care, improve the mental health system and it would affect close to a half million people statewide, and this is our one chance," he said. "If the State legislature succeeds in putting in all of these things to delay implementation, it's between 2014-2016 that we get full money for the whole thing from the federal government."
Puller said that the struggle over the issue lies with the House. "I would encourage anyone to send an email if you know someone on the House Conference Committee," she said. "The governor has not been for the expansion. The House is adamantly against the expansion, and the Senate embraced it in our budget."
Surovell's Bills This Session
|Bill No.||What It Would Do||Status|
|HB 1908||Double Northern Virginia's representation on the board by basing it on current Congressional District boundaries.||Pending in Transportation Committee|
|HB 1909||Streamline rules of evidence to prove blood or breath alcohol in civil action in cases regarding a drunk driving collision.||Pending in Courts of Justice Committee|
|HB 1910||Once an address has been changed through the DMV, that information would be electronically forwarded to the State Board of Elections.||Passed through Privileges and Elections Committee|
|HB 1911||Requires the Judiciary to report the number of law clerks and responsibilities for Circuit Court judges in Virginia.||Pending in Appropriations Committee|
|HB 1912||Streamlines petitioning process to gain child custody in cases with multiple children.||Passed|
|HB 1914||Creates a cause of action for selling or publishing information relating to an expunged criminal offense.||Pending in Courts of Justice Committee|
|HB 1915||Prohibits school systems from using electronic textbooks until all children in the school system have access to a computer and/or broadband internet service.||Pending in Science and Technology Committee|
|HB 1916||Creates a tax credit for solar energy systems, which would equal 35 percent of the installed cost of the system.||Awaiting House vote|
|HB 1917||Allows a utility to claim a renewable energy credit for energy bought from systems located in the Commonwealth.||Awaiting House vote|
|HB 1973||Clarifies the eligiblilty of people to be able to run a real estate brokerage in the event of the death of the broker.||Passed|
|HB 2011||Allows the county to charge a property owner with removal costs if the property is abandoned.||Tabled in Counties, Cities and Towns Committee|
|HB 2321||Subjects the State Corporation Commission to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act||Pending in General Laws Committee|
|HB 2322||Would require Virginia community colleges to designate a mental health point of contact to provide services to students why may have urgent mental health needs.||Pending in Courts of Justice Committee|
|HB 2323||Allows localities to limit the number of title loan businesses, payday lenders or precious metal dealers.||Left in Commerce and Labor Committee|
|HJ 655||Repeals the 2006 Marshall-Newman Amendment, which prohibits the State from giving legal recognition to a same sex relationship.||Left in Privileges and Elections Committee|
|Established a state joint subcommittee to study the feasability of establishing a state renewable energy utility.||Left in Rules Committee|
|HJ 667||Ratifies the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment.||Tabled in Rules Committee|
|HJ 668||Amends the state Constitution to remove the requirement that voters provide their full social security number in order to register to vote.||Incorporated by Privileges and Elections by voice vote|
|HB 1360||Would make it illegal to use cell phone - for any other purpose than a call - while driving.||Incorporated by Courts of Justice Committee by voice vote|
|HB 2090||Adds energy generated by solar hot water systems to the state's renewable energy portfolio.||Left in Commerce and Labor Committee|
|HB 1695||Allows for a group of homeowners to build solar panels on a thir party's property and net the energy against the electricity bill on their own homes.||Passed|
Puller sponsored a number of veterans bills this session.
"Their number one priority this year was to have the ability to electronically return absentee ballots. I joined with Sen. McWaters (Republican from Virginia Beach), and we got a bill, which was sent to the House and it was carried over to next year," she said. "I've forgotten how many thousands of military voters on active duty are serving overseas. They got their ballots and mailed them in and they all came in too late to be counted. And it was like 30,000 of them, maybe more. Veterans groups wanted to electronically return those ballots by the next federal election. Veterans have real problems, and I've gotten several letters from people overseas telling me how tough it is for them to vote."
Puller's Bills This Session
|Bill No.||What It Would Do||Status|
|SB 730||Adds organizations supporting military families to the list of non-profits that are exempt from sales tax.||Left in Finance Committee|
|SB 829||Creates "Virginia Values Veterans" pilot program, which provides incentives for businesses to hire, train and retain veterans.||Passed|
|SB 830||Creates a pilot program for electronic absentee voting for veterans.||Pending in Elections Subcommittee|
|SB 831||Creates a tax credit for businesses to hire returning and disabled vets.||Referred to Appropriations Committee|
|SB 945||Would require certain covered individuals to pay for their health plans in 12 equal alottments a year.||Passed Senate/ Tabled in House|
|SB 947||Restricts ability for health insurers to alter prescription drug coverage.||Incorporated by Commerce and Labor Committee|
|SB 1298||Exempts military license plates from minimum prepaid order requirements that must be made to be available.||Passed Transportation Committee|
|SJ 279||Resolution honoring the life of Col. John Robertson Byers.||Passed|
|SJ 351||Resolution commending the Marine Corps Association's 100th Anniversary.||Passed|
What are both houses doing about the issue of gun control?
"Not much," said Ebbin. "Del. Alfonso Lopez (D-49th) had a bill to prohibit the sale of high capacity magazines. I bought a high capacity magazine at a gun show in Chantilly in December just to see how it went, and, with a colleague, bought a gun without a background check.
"We initially passed the gunshow loophole bill, only to have it reconsidered 10 minutes later and then it came back the next day and it died. I thought that this would be the year that it would happen, but it didn't happen. -Puller
Ebbin - Even on a voluntary basis so that if you were at a gun show and wanted to do a background check, that bill failed in the Senate," said Ebbin.
Ebbin's Bills This Session
|Bill No.||What It Would Do||Status|
|SB 1012||Helps law enforcement track lost or stolen firearms.||Failed in Committee|
|SB 1109||Restricts sales of firearms to those judged mentally incapacitated.||Failed in Committee|
|SB 1232||Requires a criminal background check for all firearms purchases.||Failed in Committee|
|SB 962||Allows 17-year-olds to serve as election officers.||Failed in Committee|
|SB 963||Permits election officers at different precincts to share staff.||Failed in Committee|
|SB 964||Extends polling place hours from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.||Failed in Committee
|SB 967||Eliminated requirement that certain designations be disclosed on absentee ballot applications.||Passed in Senate and House Privileges and Elections Subcommittee|
|SB 968||Says that leaving out a middle name while filling out an absentee ballot form is not grounds for the ballot to be disqualified.||Failed in Committee|
|SB 1233||Allows students approved for deferred action status to qualify for in-state tuition.||Failed in Committee|
|SB 1354||Gathers information on virtual school applications.||Failed in Committee|
|SB 701||Prohibits discrimination in state employment, including on the basis for sexual orientation.||Passed Senate/Defeated in House General Laws Subcommittee|
|SB 966||Provides that assault or battery of a magistrate is an equal offense to assaulting a judge.||Passed Senate Courts and Justice Commitee|
|SB 969||Repeals the plaw against cohabitation between married adults.||Passed Senate Courts and Justice Commitee|
|SB 1273||Vacates records of victims of human trafficking who were forced into prostitution.||Referred to State Crime Commission|
|SB 970||Enacts a five cent fee for throwaway plastic and paper bags.||Failed|
|SB 1102||Fixes a loophole in emissions inspections in regard to the 2008-2009 Ford Prius||Passed Senate and House Transportation Committee|
|SB 871||Requires safety information be given to asbestos workers, and prevents a contractor who lost his license from resuming business.||Passed Senate/Defeated in House General Laws Committee|