Feb 19, 2018
Greetings from Richmond: Week 6
We started the week off with the longest day of the session: On February 12, we gavelled in at 10 am and debated more than 100 bills and voted on about 50 throughout the day, finishing after 7 pm. We successfully finished considering all of the bills that originated in the House of Delegates and met the “crossover” deadline! Now, the House of Delegates is only considering legislation that originated in and passed the Senate.
I want to thank everyone who has reached out to my office and connected via email, phone calls, and office visits to inform me about the issues that are important to you. Please continue to let me know if you have any questions or concerns about legislative matters, need assistance with a state agency, or have recommendations for commendations. You can email me at DelKTran@house.virginia.gov or call me at 804-698-1042.
I presented HB 1061 to the Senate Rehabilitation and Social Services Committee, where it unanimously passed on a 15-0 vote. This bill updates the Virginia code so that it uses accurate and inclusive terminology regarding the Department for the Blind and Visually Impaired’s (DBVI) staff, programs and services. This bill will now be voted on by the full Senate.
I had introduced HB 1062 to update the statute of limitations for misdemeanor sexual offenses. Currently, if a minor is the victim of a misdemeanor sexual offense like attempted rape, they have until 19 to report the incident. We need to allow survivors to have more time to heal and come forward, and for law enforcement to be able to pursue perpetrators. Unfortunately, the bill was not given a hearing and is dead this session. I appreciated the support we received from the Virginia Association of Commonwealth's Attorneys, Virginia Fraternal Order of Police, and the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance.
Lastly, thank you to everyone who responded to my survey soliciting your input regarding HB 1558, also known as “The Rate Freeze Bill.” I voted against the bill. I kept a couple priorities in mind when making my decision: 1) making sure customers receive fair return for any overcharges; 2) ensuring that public utilities cannot “double dip” by making customers pay multiple times for infrastructure projects; 3) protecting customers by returning oversight of public electrical utilities to the State Corporation Commission; 4) growing renewable energy in Virginia; and 5) modernizing the electrical grid infrastructure. We passed an amendment that would have addressed the “double dip” issue. However, while the legislation would make strides in promoting renewable energy, it still has far to go in making sure that the SCC has a strong oversight role, one of the concerns raised by constituents.
This week, my staff and I met with constituents and members of St. Bernadette Church, the Coalition of Asian Pacific Americans of Virginia, Asian American Society of Central Virginia, Patient Services Inc., and more. We discussed many issues including: Medicaid expansion, ensuring a welcoming and inclusive Virginia for all, providing supportive services for working families, access to reproductive healthcare for women, and protecting the right to free speech in the Commonwealth.
This weekend, I participated in two Town Halls - one with fellow General Assembly members representing the Braddock magisterial district and one with Senator Scott Surovell. I want to thank everyone who attended. We had lively discussions about the legislative session and concerns about commonsense solutions to end gun violence, increasing access to healthcare, and repealing the Dominion rate freeze.
The Politics Hour with Kojo Nnamdi and Tom Sherwood
Last Friday, Delegate Vivian Watts (D-Fairfax) and I were guests on The Politics Hour with Kojo Nnamdi and Tom Sherwood. Delegate Watts is the longest serving woman in the House of Delegates, and it is an honor to serve with her. We shared our experience of governing when the House is split 51-49, building diverse coalitions to support our bills, standing for our progressive values, fighting sexual harassment in the workplace, and the influence of the #MeToo movement on our national politics. You can hear our conversation here.