Friday, March 30, 2018

FOIA Council - April 4, 2018 meeting agenda

Dear Members and Interested Parties:

The suggested agenda for the meeting of the FOIA Council scheduled for 1:00 PM on Wednesday, April 4, 2018 in House Room 3 of the Capitol Building is attached to this message.  If you have any questions or need additional information, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Alan Gernhardt, Executive Director and Senior Attorney
Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council

900 East Main St., 10th Floor

Richmond, Virginia 23219

(804) 698-1810 

1-866-448-4100 (toll free)

The staff of the Freedom of Information Advisory Council is authorized to issue advisory opinions. Please be advised that any staff advisory opinion delivered by e-mail is based solely upon the facts and information presented in your attached e-mail inquiry.

To unsubscribe from the FOIA-NOTICE list, click the following link:

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

General Assembly 2018 Summary

Is this email not displaying correctly? View this email in a browser

Dear Friend —

Well, the 2018 Session of the Virginia General Assembly has adjourned sine die.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that we have finished our work for the year.  A little matter of the $120 billion state budget needs to be resolved before we can officially wrap up our work for the year.

In this email I want to update you on some of my work during this Session.  In my next email I will update you on some of the other major issues that were debated, and will give you more information on the state of the budget negotiations as we head into overtime.

My priorities in Richmond continue to be education, transportation and public safety.  This year on the education front, I continued the battle to drop a lifeline to families and children in a handful of localities with failing school systems.  In these areas we really need to increase access to charter schools.  Unfortunately, that reform effort fell short again this year, again facing opposition from the VEA and others in the education establishment.

In the higher education arena, I am deeply concerned by the rapidly rising amount of student debt and the increasing default rate.  This year, I introduced SB 568, which overwhelmingly passed, that will require colleges and universities to annually provide to each student a disclosure, listing their total student loan amount, the principle and interest that will be due over the term of the loan, and the monthly repayment amounts.  I think it is important for financial aid offices to do more than simply facilitate more and more loans.  They should also make sure that the students understand the extent of their repayment obligations and factor that into their academic planning so that they can develop a strategy for repayment of those loans. 

On other fronts, I have continued to work with victims’ rights advocates to make sure that crime victims receive restitution that is due to them.  Currently, there is over $200 million in unpaid restitution obligations and little is being done to help crime victims recover those court ordered payments.  Working together with Delegate Rob Bell (R-Albemarle) and with bipartisan cooperation from Senator Janet Howell (D - Reston) and the Northam administration, we secured passage of groundbreaking restitution legislation this year that will help crime victims actually receive restitution payments that are due to them.  

We also passed legislation requiring DNA samples from persons convicted of certain misdemeanors that the Virginia State Crime Commission determined are predictive of future violent felonious behavior.  Legislation like this would have given law enforcement the means to have prevented the murders of two young coeds in Charlottesville over the past few years. You can read more about the DNA bills here and here.

Finally, working with the entire General Assembly delegation along the Interstate 81 corridor, with the Secretary of Transportation, Shannon Valentine and with my co-patron Senator Bill Carrico (R-Grayson), I introduced legislation calling on the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Commonwealth Transportation Board to study necessary improvements to Interstate 81 and how to pay for them.  The bill specifically calls for VDOT to examine tolling heavy trucks that now constitute a huge percentage of traffic on the interstate.  The legislation recognizes the large number of commuters who rely on the interstate to get to and from work from tolls and the importance of protecting them from the burden of tolls.  It also asks VDOT to make sure that any tolls that may be imposed on heavy trucks will not have an adverse economic impact on business, agriculture and commerce in the Shenandoah Valley. The study will be completed by January 2019.  

I will follow this email with two additional reports in the coming days to discuss other major developments during Session and the status of budget negotiations and the Medicaid debate. We head back to Richmond on April 11 as Governor Northam has called a Special Session to work on the budget.  The failure to reach a budget agreement during the regular Session was not entirely unexpected.  In four of the five previous years when the General Assembly adjourned without a budget agreement, the differences between the House and Senate plans was not just how money was spent, but how much money was spent.  This year, there is an enormous gap – over $3 billion – between what the House and Senate budgets spend.

The underlying issue, whether or not to implement Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion, has created a gulf between the two spending plans.  The Senate plan is based on money the state has, while the House’s plan is dependent upon federal funding from a program the Trump Administration has pledged to end.

My fellow Republican colleagues in the Senate did everything possible to keep the session going to try to reach an agreement.  First, we voted to extend the session by 30 days, as permitted by the Constitution of Virginia.  But, we needed two-thirds of the senators to vote for that extension and none of the Democrats would agree to an extension.  Then, we voted to extend the session for just three days.  Again, Democrat senators voted “no.”

It is too soon to tell whether this process will take days, weeks, or months.  The two most recent budget impasses that were based on large disagreements on revenues and spending lasted until June.  I am confident that this divide will be bridged.  I will continue to stand in support of a conservative budget that does not increase taxes.

The reconvened, or “Veto” session will be April 18 in Richmond. Although the special and veto session will require special trips back to the Capitol, we will be back at home in the district most of the time from now on.  You can still email us at or call us at (540) 437-1451.

It is a distinct honor to serve the citizens of the Shenandoah Valley in the Senate.  I am grateful for your friendship and confidence and I thank you for allowing me to represent you.     

Best regards,

Mark Obenshain


You are receiving this email because you signed up with
us at or at a political function.

Paid for by Friends of Mark Obenshain

Not interested? Unsubscribe | Update profile | Impressed? Tell-A-Friend
Friends of Mark Obenshain | P.O. Box 555 | Harrisonburg, VA 22803


 Sales Tax Increase For The Historic Triangle!

I just spoke on WNIS

re:  SB 942.        More calls will be made tomorrow.   Toni Macrini was very favorable of my opinion! And he read the entire bill on the radio. (Attached below)  Articles have been is the WY Daily, the Va. Gazette, The Daily Press!  Watch and support your local Yorktown Crier also.  

Pogge said the tax increase "represents taxation without representation, which is ironic for that to happen in Williamsburg."

"Instead of tourists paying the tax, the population at large pays the bulk of this tax," Pogge said. "It's a $25 million tax coming out of the pockets of my constituents every time they pass a cash register."

**FYI: Delegate Mike Mullins (Democrat) sent a letter yesterday saying he voted AGAINST SB 942 due to the calls he received. It does make a difference!!  Gordon Helsel voted FOR it, as did David Yancey, and three people didn't even vote on it:  Margaret Ransone, Emily Brewer, and Tim Hugo. 

 Please call the Governor's Office (804) 786-2211, and respectfully ask him to vote AGAINST SB 942.  Short, sweet, and to the point.  See attached for more info.

Call the delegates:

Gordon Helsel  804-698-1091

(Remember Helsel voted for this bill!)

Mike Mullin   804-698-1093

Brenda Pogge  804-698-1096. 

Avalaible here : A listing of all the votes in this house:

This bill was submitted by Tommy Norment and is to tax York County residents 1% for Williamsburg Tourism.  Even if you live in Newport News, Hampton, Virginia Beach, or the surrounding area, it is important that You call!  Should this pass, what is to stop our government from taxing You and your City/County too?? 

A major area of concern is the lack of public discussion. There was plenty of discussion about a proposed sales tax bill in the months leading up to its appearance in the General Assembly. That discussion didn't take place in public.  "Instead, the sales tax bill materialized in private meetings and correspondence between government officials, according to emails obtained by The Virginia Gazette through the Freedom of Information Act."

This sales tax bill will give the State taxing authority, not only the right to tax an individual locality but the right to distribute it and to tell them how to spend it. Any Locality can now go to the state and ask for an increase instead of working within the confines of their budget and "avoid" raising real estate taxes. Delegate Pogge said this bill will make the localities within the Historic Triangle have the highest sales tax rate in the state of Virginia. 

The Governor has until April 9 to veto or amend the bill.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Candidate Meet & Greet this Sunday afternoon

MEET and GREET an awesome candidate!

Delegate Nick Freitas 
Candidate for GOP Nomination for US Senate

Sunday, March 11
2 - 5 PM 

Middlesex Shooting Sports Club
1860 Twiggs Ferry Road
Hartfield, VA

Bring your family!  Bring your friends! 
          • Free!
          • Casual, Informal Setting!
          • Light Refreshments!
          • Ample Parking!
          • Handicap Parking and Accessibility!
Ticket (not necessary, but helpful for planning:)

Watch the speech that has the nation buzzing about Nick: