Newman News from the Capitol Week 4 February 5, 2018
When most people hear the word “Senate,” they think of the United States Senate, a
legislative body known for moving very slowly. Judging from this year’s session, the Senate of
Virginia is very different from the Senate in Washington.
My fellow senators and I have already passed over 200 bills during this year’s session.
Having completed work on more than half of the bills submitted by our members, we are in the
midst of the Senate’s most productive General Assembly session in anyone’s memory.
Even though the General Assembly will ultimately approve hundreds of bills, and send
them on to Governor Northam for his consideration, you won’t likely hear the details of all of
them described in local media accounts. As is the case with most sessions, the attention of the
media is drawn towards “high profile” legislation.
In the world of covering government, “high profile” has become a synonym for
“partisan.” If you’re watching the six o’clock news and hear about an issue we’re discussing at
the Capitol, the odds are pretty good the report will be about a bill on which Democrats and
Republicans do not agree.
In reality, a small percentage of the legislation that is passed each session falls into that
category. While in the Senate of Virginia many bills that are passed win approval without
opposition because of the time we spend to get the policy right.
With the Senate completing its work expeditiously, there was action on several of my
bills this week. My bill SB 969 will make sure our children have a solid background in the
traditions of American and Virginia history. Next, my bill, SB 368 provides incoming teachers
who are preparing to be reading specialists additional training in dyslexia. I also pressed for SB
965 that would remove the provisions of a bill passed four years that resulted in electric bills
being higher than they should have been.
The Pocahontas Building, our “temporary” home, was filled with visitors from across
Virginia this week, including several from home. We enjoyed meeting students from Lynchburg
College and Liberty University. We also welcomed Mayor Joan Foster. Vice-Mayor Treney
Tweedy, Councilmembers Mary Jane Dolan and Sterling Wilder.
There’s only one week to go before crossover, the legislative halfway mark of the
session. With a new month upon us, we are also getting closer to the point in the session where
we approve Virginia’s two-year budget.
If you’re paying a visit to Virginia’s historic Capitol before we adjourn on March 10,
please make it a point to stop by our offices. You can also contact us by writing us at
District23@senate.virginia.gov or calling our office at (804) 698-7523.
Thanks for taking the time to keep up with the latest news from Richmond. I’ll be back
next week with more.