As events wind down in the last week of the 2017 General Assembly Session, committees are busy finishing up their work, the House and Senate are reviewing each other’s amendments to their own bills, and each chamber is putting legislation into conference to help work out differences between House and Senate amendments.
Additionally, House and Senate Budget conferees are also working hard to reach an agreement on the budget to insure that we will be able to adjourn as scheduled on Saturday, February 25. According to a House of Delegates rule I sponsored, we are required to have 48 hours to review the final budget before we take a final vote.
In addition to this work, I would like to give you a brief update on another important issue we have worked on this Session supporting our veterans.
Virginia as a whole is home to approximately 800,000 veterans and 150,000 active-duty military members and their families. In fact, the 24th House District also has a strong veteran presence. With this in mind, our goal in the General Assembly is to be the most military and veteran friendly state in the nation. Therefore, it is important that we continue the effort to provide our veterans with good job opportunities, the care they deserve, and access to affordable education, and to protect their rights as they fought to protect ours.
To this end, we have passed the following legislation:
- HB 1582, carried by myself and Delegate 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.
- HB 2206, carried by Delegate Kirk Cox, 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 Delegate 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 Delegate 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.
With one week to go, I hope to see more folks from back home visiting the Capitol. While committee work is winding down, the Session begins each day, typically at noon, so please if you plan to visit Richmond, please call or email to set an appointment to ensure that I will be available. If you would like to reach me or need assistance, please contact me at my Richmond office at 804-698-1024 or by email at DelBCline@house.virginia.gov. Additionally, written correspondence can be sent to P.O. Box 406, Richmond, Virginia 23218.