Friday, February 14, 2014

Session 2014: Legislative Update for February 14th

February 7, 2014
Events in the Virginia Senate

Crossover Day came and went last Tuesday with a lighter workload than I have ever seen, due to the stalwart leadership of the Republican committee chairmen earlier in the session!


The winter storm that arrived Wednesday left many offices short-staffed. I'm very grateful for staff who stayed later on Wednesday to finish up some tasks, experiencing long and treacherous commutes home - and whom worked collaboratively from home and from the office to make sure our communications were tracked and kept up to date. My very special thanks goes to Ashley, Felicia, Sarah, James, Dina, and Brenda. They're awesome!


Over the past week, the Senate considered and voted on numerous items as we finished up our own business - while also handling a good number of House bills. One of the most important issues we've addressed is the availability of mental health beds, the knowledge of bed availability, and the time period and means of involuntary detention of a person who may be a danger to their self and/or others. The subcommittee I created to address did their work well, and SB 260 has been passed and sent to the House. This will not be the end of this issue, as there is certainly more work to be done.


Another important issue is one of ethics. The Senates recommendations are found in SB 649, which establishes the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council. It incorporated numerous bills during its time in the Senate, and is intended to help provide oversight on how Virginia's elected legislature can improve transparency. I was proud to vote in favor of the measure.


The morning after Crossover, two of my bills were up in a House committee; one reported unanimously, and the other was passed by for the day while we work on some language to address a recently revealed issue. The Senate Education and Health committee also heard its first full docket of solely House bills yesterday morning. The votes were all unanimous, as nothing controversial was brought forward. In each of the standing committees, there appears to be a strategy to not hear substantive House bills until Democrats get a commitment from the House to expand Medicaid in some way. This tactic may prevent us from adjourning as scheduled, in March.
Special Thanks
We are blessed in Chesterfield, Amelia, and Colonial Heights with some great folks serving in our locally-elected constitutional offices, on school boards, and in local legislative governing bodies. Their jobs are not easy, and they should not be taken for granted. It's been my privilege to work with them and their offices, receiving their input, and operating in harmony with our common interest of serving you.

We Want to Hear from You!


If you have any questions or comments on any matter that may be before me, please do not hesitate to contact my office. I can best represent you by hearing from you and gaining an understanding of what is on your mind. Thank you for the privilege of service.




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Chesterfield Special Elections on March 18th


Remember that there are two offices being filled in Chesterfield County via Special Election, on March 18th - Midlothian District School Board, and county-wide for the Sheriff's office.

Sheriff Karl Leonard is in the well-deserved position of being unopposed, after receiving the strong support of the Chesterfield County GOP nomination. Please be sure to vote in support of his service and candidacy. And, Midlothian residents, be sure to give voice in selecting your School Board representative.


If you are unsure where you need to go to vote, please visit the State Board of Elections and find your polling location!

Visitors This Week

While the threat of the winter storm encouraged some folks to stay home, we still had numerous guests and visitors this past week. Over the last few days, our office was pleased to meet with representatives from: 
Chesterfield Classic Equestrian 4-H, Southside Electric Cooperatives, John Tyler Community College, Southside Virginia Association of Realtors, and the Farm Bureau of Virginia.

Senator Martin also had the opportunity to go meet and speak with students participating in the second TeenPact Leadership Schools Virginia Class. 

Our thanks to the constituents, groups, and drop-in visitors that came by the office this week and took time to let us know what was on their mind! Photos from certain group visits can be viewed on our Facebook page

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