Monday, February 15, 2016

Week 4 - Tolls, Dyslexia and Guns


Blast Header w pic.jpg

2016-02-02 10.31.48.jpg
2016-02-02 10.42.18.jpg

It has been another hectic week in Richmond as we work our way through over 2,000 pieces of legislation.  During this 60-day session, my office receives a little over 10,000 emails, thousands of phone calls and visitors. According to an article in the Washington Post, the stress seems to be getting to some legislators as the pressure mounts, which is making for an interesting week.

I-66 Tolls
Like many of you, I have heard that negotiations are taking place to allow the Governor to keep his tolls on I-66 if he agrees to widen a four-mile stretch earlier than scheduled. While I support the widening of I-66, I vehemently oppose the tolls. I was the first and only senator to co-patron HB1, which banned tolls on I-66.  I voted against the tolls twice in NVTC meetings.

Today, I was one of 11 Senators who voted against SB60 , which authorizes tolls into Prince William County, because Virginia has all the transportation funding it needs because of the large transportation tax increase forced upon citizens in 2012. These extravagant tolls will hurt commuters.  This bill passed despite my opposition and is headed to the House for a vote.  To contact your delegate about this bill you can send them a message at: 

Dyslexia Bill
Senate Bill 759, my bill that seeks to improve how our public schools help students with dyslexia was continued until next year in committee.  However, it started the conversation about dyslexia in Richmond that I hope made an impact.   


Sanctuary Cities Bill
My legislation that holds Sanctuary Cities liable for the crimes committed by illegal immigrants being harbored there caused a lengthy debate on the Senate floor.  It passed the full Senate by a vote of 21 to 19 and has gone over to the House for a vote.

Bill Protecting Pastors From Being Forced to Violate Their Faith
I co-sponsored SB41 which protects clergy from being required to marry gay couples or being forced to provide services.  The bill has passed the Senate. 

Charter School Bill
I voted for a Charter School Bill and it passed the Senate.  I applauded the fact that it will only give the State Board the power of appeal with a maximum of five appeals per year.  This preserves local control by limiting the authority of the State Board.

Prince William Power Line Bill
A great deal of attention has been focused on pushing for the hybrid route for the Dominion Power Lines in Prince William County.  I am chief co-patron of HB283 that requires the SCC to hold at least one hearing in the area that would be affected by construction of an electrical transmission line of 138 kV or more, upon the request of the governing body of any county or municipality through which the line is proposed to be built. Currently the SCC is required to conduct a hearing in the affected area if requested by 20 or more interested parties. The measure also provides that the affected localities are given the same protections whenever a significantly different route is deemed desirable by the SCC.  This bill comes up for a vote in the House this week.

Justice for Children
My SB248 passed the Senate unanimously.  It provides that if a parent of a minor refuses to consent to test a rape kit performed on a minor, the minor may consent to it being tested.

Reciprocity Bill
This year we have had to work overtime to protect our Second Amendment rights.  As you may know, my Constitutional Carry bill failed to pass the Senate by one vote.  However, I co-sponsored a bill with Sen. Reeves that authorizes concealed carry permit holders from any state to carry concealed in Virginia. The bill passed with bipartisan support by a vote of 27 to 13. 


We are approaching crossover and legislation is moving fast.  Despite the hectic pace, it is always nice to get a visit from folks in the 13th Senate District.  We enjoyed a visit from Supervisor Geary Higgins and people from Americans for Prosperity, among others.  

I also had the honor of welcoming Pastor David Barton from Heritage Baptist Church who traveled to Richmond to give the invocation at the opening of the Virginia Senate.

If you are visiting Virginia's historic Capitol between now and March 12th, please remember to stop by my office and say hello.  We're in office 311 of the General Assembly Building.  If you have any issues of particular concern to you, I welcome your comments at or a letter to Senate of Virginia, P.O. Box 396, Richmond VA 23218 or you can call us at 804-698-7513.

Warm Regards,

Richard H. Black
Senator of Virginia, 13th District


Thank you to everyone who helped us go over 10,000 Twitter followers this weekend!  
Follow us on  Twitter and Facebook to keep up with events in Richmond, and
please don't hesitate to contact us at 



No comments:

Post a Comment