Greetings from Richmond on this beautiful February morning!
I reflect upon my work in the General Assembly and am in constant appreciation of the honor of serving you in the oldest representative body in the western hemisphere. Since we cap our time as citizen-legislators to 60 days in even numbered (“long session”) years, legislation moves at a rapid rate in our General Assembly. To craft a good piece of legislation and then shepherd that bill toward a floor vote and positive outcome is what you elected me to do, and I am happy to share with you some of the highlights from last week:
Government Reform Agenda
Structuring any organizati on or operation, including government, in a way that is efficient but does not overlook anything essential, and that is innovative without being wasteful, is a monumental task.
An ongoing effort in Richmond is the development and implementation of common-sense reforms to increase efficiency and eliminate government waste. Vital bills, like the government reorganization plan (HB1291) proposed by the McDonnell administration, are estimated to save the Commonwealth $2 million dollars annually.
On Wednesday, the house passed a bill I introduced (HB 917) that will give regulatory boards in the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation the capacity to determine when they will call meetings, rather than mandating regular meetings when there are no business items. Simple, efficiency-oriented measures like HB 917 can contribute to substantial savings for taxpayers. For example, I was amazed that, until passage of this bill, monthly meetings at taxpayer expense were required for the Professional Boxing, Wrestling, and Martial Arts Advisory Board.
One of my greatest responsibilities is to support the counties and towns of the 10th District. Part of that effort is to ensure that each locality is able to govern as freely as is possible, without the weight of mandates, especially those that are unfunded.
I am honored to represent three counties (Frederick, Clarke,and Loudoun) and three towns (Middleburg, Boyce, and Leesburg). Listening to the thoughts, concerns, and views of the governing bodies of these six localities is a key part of my job.
I am pleased to sponsor many of the legislative priorities of the 10th District counties and towns. A number of them saw significant advancement in the General Assembly over the past week, including:
- Charter Amendments for the town of Boyce (HB 1288), Middleburg (HB 904), and Leesburg (HB 906) all made their way through the Committee on Counties, Cities, and Towns and will be heard before the full House this coming week.
- Making Solid Waste Management Plans optional (HB913). This is the removal of an unfunded mandate that says a governing body must submit and follow a Solid Waste Management Plan. If a locality does decide it wants a Solid Waste Management Plan, it does not remove that authority.
- A cash proffer flexing bill (HB 910) that allows localities to expend collected cash proffer monies toward other needed, conforming capital projects where the functional purpose behind the original cash proffer no longer exists.
One of the most important means to ensure continued economic growth in the Northern Virginia region is an effective transportation system.
My House Joint Resolution (HJ131) calling for the study of a bridge over the Potomac River between I-495 and US 15 Point of Rocks Bridge has moved out of a Rules subcommittee and will be heard by the full committee today. In a radio interview with WTOP last week, Governor McDonnell noted the need for cooperative planning with Maryland toward consideration of an additional Potomac River crossing.
Last week I met many constituents in Richmond, including school administrators and school board officials on education-related issues, and leaders from the transportation, banking, public utilities, and housing sectors. As Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of Scouting, stated:
“If you make listening and observation your occupation, you will gain much more than you can by talk.”
This quote rings very true for me as I continue my work as your delegate. If I am not in session or committee meetings, please know my door is open to visit and hear what is important to you, the citizens throughout the 10th district and Northern Virginia.
Recently, I had the opportunity to sit down with Woody Evans of Cable Reports and discuss the 2012 General Assembly Session. To view, click here.
As always, my staff and I are here in Richmond to serve you. We want to hear what you think about the legislation pending before the House, or if there’s anything we can do to help you in dealing with a state government agency. My office can be reached at. 804.698.1010 or via email at DelRMinchew@house.virginia.gov. You can also keep up with me on Facebook . Just click ‘like!’
Keep up with all the bills before the legislature on the Virginia Legislative Information System website.
Your voice in Richmond,
Virginia House of Delegates, 10th District
DelRMinchew@house.virginia.gov | Richmond Office: 804.698.1010 | District Mailing Address: PO Box 385 Leesburg, VA 20178