As a result of the recent storms, the Governor has declared a state of emergency in the Commonwealth, resulting in a coordinated state effort to respond to storm and severe high temperature hazards. High temperatures are a true health risk. Individuals in need of cool shelter should check: http://virginiaderecho.tumblr.com/ for a list of available locations. Road blockages and broken traffic lights have also created dangerous highway conditions. If road blockages remain a hazard in your area, you may contact 1-800-FOR-ROAD. Unfortunately, thousands of households remain without power, including mine, and there seems to be no end in sight. For information on power restoration, customers should call Dominion at 866-366-4357, NOVEC at 888-335-0500, Rappahannock at 800-552-3904 or SVEC at 540-434-2200.
As you may know, we recently concluded the final work of the 2012 Legislative Session, ending more than five straight months of effort that included consideration of almost 3,000 bills and passage of the budget. The budget and a large number of the bills that passed this session go into effect this week. My legislation that is now the law includes:
SB 431 makes it a felony with a mandatory minimum of 20 years imprisonment to knowingly defraud a senior citizen or incapacitated person of their financial assets.
SB 444 exempts any gain made under federal rehabilitation tax credits from being double taxed in Virginia.
SB 450 states that health insurers who cover IV chemotherapy must also provide coverage for an orally administered anti-cancer medication.
SB 451 implements new rules to make it easier to police medical fraud under the Virginia Fraud Against Taxpayers Act.
SB 445 provides Circuit Courts jurisdiction to modify protective orders.
Other changes in the law that go into effect this week are:
SB 678 consolidates and streamlines over 50 government agencies.
SB 273 amends criminalization of synthetic marijuana to add newly identified chemical combinations.
SB 369 mandates that insurers must state in their policies whether fire insurance covers earthquakes.
SB 436 imposes mandatory minimum life sentence for certain sex crimes against children.
SB 378 requires individuals convicted of a DUI to install an ignition interlock on the vehicle they drive after the first offense and requires installation in every vehicle registered to them after a second offense.
SB 159 requires a three year mandatory minimum sentence for dealing or manufacturing drugs a second or subsequent time.
SB 239 expands the list of individuals required to report suspected child abuse/neglect to include associates or employees of a public organization responsible for care of children and persons employed by a public or private college or university.
SB 254 increases the ratio of claims agents with the Department of Veterans Services to the number of veterans in the Commonwealth.
SB 527 creates a preference in state hiring for members of the National Guard.
SB 344 creates a new tax credit for small businesses that will provide grants covering 10% of certain investments in growth and job creation.
SB 368 extends for two years the Major Business Facility Job Tax Credit, which is available to companies creating at least fifty new jobs.
SB 242 prohibits state and local contracts from requiring union Project Labor Agreements.
SB 323 eliminates one handgun a month restriction, conforming Virginia with forty-eight other states which have no arbitrary time limits on gun purchases.
SB 563 permits Clerks of Court to issue concealed handgun permits by mail and prohibits request of any information from an applicant that is not contained on the concealed handgun permit form.
SB 128 develops the Governor’s Agriculture and Forestry Industries Development Fund to provide economic development grants aimed at agricultural and forestry operations.
SB 413 creates incentives for businesses producing renewable energy.
SB 131 provides a tax credit for corporations that offer scholarships to low-income families for K through 12 students attending private schools.
SB 440 eases restrictions on charter schools in Virginia.
SB 489 streamlines diploma requirements in secondary education by creating 3 categories instead of 7.
SB 514 mandates the state board of education credit students with gaining industry certifications on their diplomas.
I am very proud of the work we accomplished and honored to report that for legislative efforts this year, I was named the 2012 Legislator of the Year by the Commissioners of the Revenue Association of Virginia and a Legislative Hero by the Virginia League of Conservation Voters.
As always, I take your thoughts and opinions seriously and hope that you will contact our office any time that you have questions or concerns. You may reach me at 540-662-4551 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. I wish you a very happy and safe 4th of July week!