Greetings from Richmond! This past Wednesday the 2022 General Assembly roared to life. That evening, Governor Northam provided his State of the Commonwealth address, where I was thrilled to get a shout out for my work on increasing opportunities for outdoor recreation. And, on Saturday, Glenn Youngkin will be sworn in as the 74th Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. While hard to believe, I have now been around long enough to be part of the escort ceremony – so look for pictures on of me in an English morning suit!
In addition to a new administration, the House is now back under Republican leadership. I am pleased to have been re-appointed to the committees on Appropriations, General Laws, and Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources. Sadly, the shift means that I will no longer be serving on Education. I will continue to be a strong advocate for public education through my bills and budget amendments!
2022 Budget Priorities
Many of my priorities are already in the proposed budget. While the outgoing Governor introduces the budget, the General Assembly can amend it in any way it likes. There is an old saying “The Governor proposes, the General Assembly disposes.” My goal is to make sure we “dispose” as little as possible!
There are a lot of important investments in the budget. This includes funding for a 10% pay raise for teachers, mental health, services for people with disabilities, water quality, school construction/modernization, affordable housing, and higher education – just to name a few. Click here for a great overview of the 2022 budget. While we go into session with a healthy surplus, it is important to ensure that our budget remains structurally balanced – that is, not committing to long-term programs with short-term funding. I am also mindful that many of our essential state services haven’t yet recovered from drastic cuts we made during the 2008 Great Recession. Ensuring that we meet our existing commitments needs to be a priority.
While there is a lot to love, I have filed several budget amendments! Here are two that I want to highlight:
My Legislative Agenda
Thank you to the many constituents who have written about their legislative priorities or have suggest bills. This year I have introduced over 20 bills. Click here for the full list of bills. See below for highlights.
So far, 1,170 bills have been filed - with more on the way! While there are lots of good bills, I am also tracking bills that give me great cause for concern. One example is a suite of bills that would roll back progress on improving access to the ballot box -- including making it harder to vote absentee. See here and here. More to come in future updates.
I love hearing from constituents during session! Click here if you are interested in looking through all bills filed to-date by category. It is an honor to serve you!