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2016 Session Kicks Off Today

Jan 13, 2016 << Back to News


As the 2016 legislative session of the General Assembly begins today, I wanted to take a minute to send you an update on my legislative priorities and how you can contact me in Richmond.

This year is a longer, 60-day legislative session as we work to craft the two year state budget.

Regarding the budget, last month Governor McAuliffe unveiled his budget to the General Assembly.  The Governor’s budget proposal is just the first step in a long process.  It is now time for the House to develop our budget.  Our goal is to craft a responsible, conservative budget that strategically invests in the core functions of government while protecting precious taxpayer resources.  We will invest in key priorities, but we must do so in a fiscally prudent manner.  The Governor has, unfortunately, raised expectations and overpromised.  The Governor’s budget includes over $3 billion in new initiatives. He has once again included Medicaid expansion in the budget, which he knows the House has strongly opposed.  That is on top of many other mandatory spending requirements – such as nearly $1 billion in new Medicaid costs and the $400 million in re-benchmarking for K-12 education.  We must be very careful about how much Virginia spends and borrows on behalf of you, the taxpayer.

My own legislation that I have introduced can be found on the Legislative Information System.  One of my goals every session is to improve the Standards of Learning assessments.  This year I am carrying HB71 which provides increased flexibility for school boards regarding the receipt and administration of SOL assessments.  This provides local school boards the tools they need to implement and address SOL tests at the time frame in which they are comfortable.

I have also introduced HB23  which allows for local organizations such as Meals on Wheels to be exempt from fuels tax on vehicles owned by their organization.  This tax relief can assist in providing more meals to more families in need.

As I do every year, I have sent out a Legislative Survey to find out where my constituents stand on a number of important issues set to face the legislature this upcoming session.  You can fill out the survey you receive in the mail and/or complete our electronic version by clicking here.

Also, I would like to take this opportunity to invite you to please join me for a Telephone Town Hall conference to discuss this year’s legislative session on  Thursday, January 21st, at 7:00 pm.  Please call into 855-756-7520 Ext.30940#. Come prepared with any questions you may have and I will answer them live over the line!

You can also watch the opening day activities as The House will gavel in to session today at noon.  You can watch by visiting here. During the opening session we will elect the Speaker of the House and hear from him about the goals of the upcoming session.  You can also see new and returning members of the house as they are sworn in.

Later this evening, you can also watch the Governor’s speech online as well as on your local Public Broadcast Station (PBS).  Make sure you stay tuned immediatly after the speech to watch the Republican response given by Delegate Rob Bell and Senator Frank Ruff.

Finally, I want to encourage you to keep in touch with me and my office during the coming months.  I value your feedback immensly.  I will also be providing Weekly Updates during the 2016 legislative session and will be meeting with constituent groups both during and after session to receive input, provide a report on Session and take questions.

As always, it is an honor and a privilege to be your voice in the House of Delegates, and I look forward to working alongside you in addressing the problems we face as a community and Commonwealth.


Peter Farrell
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