We are now one week away from the scheduled end of our 45-day legislative session. This week was a productive week for the House of Delegates. We are finishing committee work, reviewing amendments from the Senate, and continuing to work on the budget. As we wind down our General Assembly session, I want to update you on a few important areas of interest.
Once bills pass both the House and Senate, they are enrolled and communicated to the Governor. Five of the bills I have introduced this session have now been enrolled and are in the process of being sent to the Governor for his signature. This includes a bill creating a work group to explore policies for the removal of barriers to treatment of substance-exposed infants and legislation extending the sunset on the gas severance tax.
The remaining bills continue to find favor as they progress through the Senate. Having been reported from the Senate committee, legislation creating the Coalfields Expressway Authority is now scheduled for a vote on the Senate floor. The Authority would work to improve the transportation into, from, within, and through Southwest Virginia, assist in regional economic development, and generally enhance highway safety in the affected localities through development of a proposed Coalfields Expressway.
The Commonwealth is home to approximately 800,000 veterans and 150,000 active-duty military members and their families. Republicans in the House of Delegates are leading the effort to provide our veterans with the care they deserve, access to affordable education, and good job opportunities.
As a proud member of the Military and Veterans caucus, we have worked on several bi-partisan bills that are successfully progressing through the legislation process. This legislation includes:
• HB 2206, carried by Del Cox, is the number 1 priority of the Joint Leadership Council. The bill redefines the goals of the Virginia Veteran and Family Support Program, formerly Wounded Warrior, to help veterans and their families navigate the complex web of healthcare services available to them.
• HB 1721, carried by Del. Rich Anderson, permits Community Colleges to charge reduce tuition to activity duty members enrolled in training that leads to a Military Occupational Specialty.
• HJ 562, carried by Del. Jason Miyares, is a constitutional amendment that would provide a property tax exemption for the principal residence of the surviving spouse of a disabled veteran.
• HB 1582, carried by Del. Jeff Campbell, allows a person between 18 and 21 years of age to apply for a concealed handgun permit if he is on activity military duty.
I was also pleased to deliver this week’s Republican address and discuss the solutions we have offered on key issues in the Commonwealth, including the opioid epidemic and the state budget. You can watch that address by clicking here.
Whether in the district or Richmond, my door is always open. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions, comments or concerns. While we are in session, you can reach me in my Richmond office at (804) 698-1004. You can also stay up-to-date by visiting my Facebook and Twitter pages as well as my website (www.toddpillion.com). It is an honor to represent you in the House of Delegates. Thank you for your continued support.