We were able to make progress on a number of issues important to our Commonwealth during the 2019 legislative session, and I want to share with you a highlight of the General Assembly’s work.
I have enjoyed being back in the 42nd District and joining many community events, including Eagle Scout Courts of Honor and neighborhood meetings. As always, you can reach me via email at DelKTran@house.virginia.gov or by phone at (703) 828-7173.
2019 Legislative Highlights
I made progress on six bills this year to increase access to health care, strengthen public schools, protect our environment, and create a more welcoming Virginia. You can read more about my bills and legislative agenda in my previous newsletter.
Tax policy: Addressing the impact of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) was one of the most urgent issues we faced. We agreed on a $1 billion tax relief package that addresses many concerns raised to me by constituents. I voted for this legislation because it provides relief to those most affected by the TCJA changes, includes savings for future investments, balances our state budget, and maintains our AAA bond rating. You can find my full statement on the tax compromise here.
Budget highlights: We proposed amendments to the biennial budget that took into account additional revenue and our Constitutional requirement to balance our budget. Strengthening our public schools, making college more affordable, and increasing mental health services are some top priorities for my constituents, and I am glad that the budget amendments include key investments in these areas: a 5% pay raise for our hardworking teachers over the biennium; a college tuition freeze and additional financial aid for students; and increased funding for school counselors, mental health services, and the Virginia’s Housing Trust Fund.
This year on the House floor, I fought for funding for the Virginia Preschool Initiative Plus program which provides quality early childhood education to vulnerable children across Virginia, including many families in the 42nd District. I am happy that the budget amendments include funding for this program as well.
Redistricting: Making sure that every voice is heard and counted equally at the ballot box is a top priority for me. We reached an agreement on a constitutional amendment that would make historic changes to the redistricting process in the Commonwealth by involving non-elected Virginians and increasing transparency and public input. The compromise passed with strong bipartisan support and must pass next session as well before going to voters as a referendum.
Health Care Coverage for Autism Spectrum Disorder: We eliminated the age cap on insurance coverage for individuals who have a diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder. Expanding access to health care is important to the families in the 42nd District, and I am proud to co-sponsor this legislation.
Coal Ash Removal: Dominion Energy will be required to clean up coal ash sites located in Virginia by recycling the ash or storing it in lined landfills. It is important to protect our waterways for our health and the environment, and I am glad we were able to address this issue.
Equal Rights Amendment: The ERA has strong bipartisan support in the General Assembly and 81% of Virginians support ratifying the ERA. However, while the ERA passed the Senate, it failed in the House of Delegates. I will continue to work to advance women’s equality.
Common-sense Gun Safety Policies: About 30 bills, including one that I sponsored, were introduced this session to address gun violence in our community, but they were all defeated on a party line basis. I remain committed to making progress on common-sense gun safety reforms.
Minimum Wage: The minimum wage in Virginia is $7.25 and was last increased in 2009. We need to ensure that working Virginians are able to thrive, and raising the minimum wage is an important step. Unfortunately, we were not able to make progress on this issue at this time.
LGBTQ Protections: I supported legislation to end discrimination in housing and the workplace against LGBTQ Virginians. While this issue had bipartisan support in the House of Delegates, this bill failed.