Delegate begins weekly report of 2019 session
Published 3:28 pm Saturday, January 12, 2019
by Emily Brewer
The 2019 General Assembly session has officially gaveled in. This year will be a short session (46 days) where legislators will be focused on issues important to you like tax cuts, improving access to higher education and protecting the values that are important to Virginia. Every week during session I will be sending you a newsletter recapping what happened in Richmond that week. There are thousands of bills to be heard and only six weeks to complete our work.
Fighting against Gov. Northam’s $1.2 BILLION middle class tax hike: In December of this past year, Gov. Ralph Northam proposed a budget that will drastically increase taxes being paid by over 600,000 middle-class families. To me, that is unacceptable. Many middle-class families would no longer be able to deduct mortgage interest, property taxes or healthcare expenses on their state taxes.
Several House Republicans have introduced plans to stop Gov. Northam’s tax hike and provide tax relief to middle- and low-income Virginians without costing the state a penny.
As a member of the House Finance Committee, I have the unique opportunity to vote on all legislation regarding taxation in the Commonwealth before it reaches the full House of Delegates. As your delegate, I am committed to standing up against Gov. Northam’s tax increases to make sure more of your money stays in your pocket.
Protecting your Second Amendment Rights: Last week, Gov. Northam proposed legislation that would institute California-style gun control laws in Virginia. A ban on weapons with magazine capacities larger than 10 rounds of ammunition, restricting firearms purchases to one per month, and other policies that limit law abiding citizens ability to exercise their Second Amendment right to bear arms. I serve as a member of the House Militia, Police & Public Safety Committee and, as a staunch supporter of the Second Amendment, I will be fighting to defeat these California-style proposals.
Happy Birthday to The Virginia House of Delegates: On Wednesday, the Virginia House of Delegates gaveled in the 2019 General Assembly Session, reaching a historic milestone of 400 years of uninterrupted lawmaking for the people of Virginia. The House of Delegates, formally the House of Burgesses, is the oldest continuously elected lawmaking body in the New World, established in 1619. I am incredibly humbled and honored by the opportunity to be a part of this historic body. Virginia has long been recognized as the Birthplace of America. Visit americanevolution2019.com to learn more.
Pre-Session Survey: As we start the General Assembly, I encourage you to fill out my 2019 Pre-Session Survey, which is available online at http://brewerforva.com/sessionsurvey/. Your thoughts on important issues will drive my work in Richmond. Please make sure you complete and send in your survey by Wednesday, Jan. 16.
1. House Bill 1730. Unfortunately, there are lots of bad actors in the foster care community and it’s affecting the futures of children in the Commonwealth. HB 1730 requires local Departments of Social Services to freeze the credit of children in the foster care system until they age out or there are extenuating circumstances. This legislation will help protect children in foster care from becoming victims of identity theft and having their credit score ruined before they’ve even had an opportunity to start out.
2. House Bill 1731. Since Virginia is the oldest legislative body in the New World, we have 400 years of laws on the books. Some of those laws are outdated. Currently, local treasurers are required to keep a “well-bound book” for their records. This bill brings local treasurers into the 21 century by replacing the term “well-bound book” with “record,” allowing local treasurers to keep their required records in a digital format.
3. House Bill 1846. Currently, the Department of Motor Vehicles charges a $5 fee for conducting your required transactions “in-person” instead of online. My district is overwhelmingly rural, and there are difficulties when it comes to internet access.
For those who may choose to go to a brick-and-mortar DMV location to conduct their business, they are likely subject to this $5 fee. HB1846 completely removes the $5 fee and could save Virginia taxpayers across the Commonwealth potentially more than $5 million each year.
4. House Bill 2170. We all receive those annoying phone calls from area codes and phone numbers that look like it could be a neighbor calling. What some people may not realize is these are scam calls, fishing for private information. Scammers are using false caller id information to commit serious crimes like identity theft and investment scams. HB 2170 makes it so any person who, with the intent to defraud, mislead, deceive, intimidate, or harass, makes a telephone call or displays false caller id information on the called party’s telephone is guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor.
4. House Bill 2326. During Hurricane Florence, we were reminded of the complexities involved in evacuating the region, as well as the congestion on Routes 460, 10 and 58 we could experience if faced with a large scale weather event. It is imperative that Virginia’s evacuation routes are well maintained and safe for all Virginians. SMART SCALE is the process the Commonwealth Transportation Board uses to determine which road projects should receive funding and should be prioritized. HB 2326 would add “primary evacuation routes” to the list of criteria that the CTB must consider before recommending which road construction projects and the associated funding should be prioritized.
I encourage you to keep in touch with me and my office over the coming months. I value the feedback you provide on a continual basis as it helps me do a better job of representing you. You can email me at DelEBrewer@House.Virginia.Gov or call me at 804-698-1064. You can also join the conversation on our social media pages, Facebook.com/BrewerForVA or Twitter.com/BrewerForVA.
I will continue providing you updates during the 2019 General Assembly Session and will be meeting with constituent groups after session to report on the session and take questions.