Today marks the beginning of the second half of this year's 60-day legislative session. Crossover--the date by which each chamber must complete work on its own legislation--is fast approaching. Throughout the past week, many of my colleagues spent late nights in committee meetings, working diligently to complete work on House bills. Fortunately, most of my meetings were held during morning hours. Nevertheless, I, too, endured a few marathon meetings. In one Education Committee meeting, we considered 46 bills over 3 1/2 hours! Following are updates on a number of issues that we addressed during recent days.
In my week three newsletter, I shared details about legislation authorizing a constitutional amendment giving the Board of Education the authority to establish charter schools in Virginia. I am excited to share that the legislation passed the House earlier today.
All children in Virginia deserve access to a quality education, regardless of their zip code or their family income. Public charter schools encourage parental involvement and can be especially equipped to meet the unique needs of all children. Studies show that public charter schools help to close the achievement gap, giving children in minority and underserved communities the opportunity to succeed. I am proud to support expanding public charter schools in Virginia.
Ensuring access to quality affordable healthcare is a top priority during this legislative session. I frequently hear from constituents who are facing soaring healthcare costs as a result of Obamacare mandates. I remain committed to opposing Obamacare's costly Medicaid expansion. Instead of expanding an expensive and flawed entitlement program, I support reforms to increase access and reduce healthcare costs for Virginians.
These bills secure the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens and take reasonable steps to make our communities safer. Restoring reciprocity for concealed carry permit holders was a top legislative priority this session, and I am pleased that we reached an agreement to not only restore, but also expand reciprocity.
Transparency in government
During this session, I introduced House Bill 334, legislation authorizing the courts to invalidate actions taken at public meetings for which proper notice was not given. In other words, if a public body (school board, city council, board of supervisors, planning commission, etc.) fails to provide the required notice of a meeting, the decisions made at that meeting can be invalidated. This legislation protects citizens by ensuring that public bodies are operating in a truly transparent fashion.
Unfortunately, there were some technical issues with my legislation. I plan to address these concerns and introduce the bill again during the 2017 legislative session. Stay tuned!
General Assembly visitors
Although I was rarely in my office this week due to committee meetings, my aide and I did catch up with members or representatives of the following:
James City County Board of Supervisors
Virginia Maritime Association
Thank you to Abigail Lee for stopping by my office for a visit!
Thank you to all who have taken the time to call or email with questions and comments on legislation. I value your input, and I ask that you continue making me aware of your legislative priorities. I may be reached by email at DelBPogge@house.virginia.gov or by phone at 804-698-1096. If you visit Richmond prior to March 12, please stop by my office, Room 403 in the General Assembly Building.
Stay warm this weekend!
Delegate Brenda Pogge
Paid for and Authorized by Brenda Pogge for Delegate
Brenda Pogge for Delegate, P.O. Box 196, Norge, VA 23127