Delegate Chris Head – Weekly General Assembly Update
After our first full week of the General Assembly session, I’m happy to report on the progress of many key priorities including supporting our veterans, making college more affordable, and a budget that funds the core functions of government without raising taxes.
Making College More Affordable
It’s becoming increasingly difficult to save for and pay for college, with Virginia students now borrowing more than $1 billion every year to pay for school. In his State of the Union Address, President Obama outlined a tax scheme that includes targeting 529 college savings accounts for taxation, which would make it even more difficult to save. I’m supporting legislation that makes college more affordable by capping expensive athletic fees and making it easier for small schools to cut wasteful spending, both of which I’m happy to report passed unanimously out of committee this week. You can read about some of the other bills to hold down college costs at CBS6 at http://wtvr.com/2015/01/19/panel-oks-bills-aimed-at-college-affordability/ Also of great interest is HB1692, a bill I am co-patroning with Delegate Nick Rush that would offer discounted ‘flat rate’ tuition for certain degrees.
While many think of it as an issue in remote parts of the world, sex trafficking is a growing problem in Virginia. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, an estimated 100,000 children are trafficked for commercial sex every year and human trafficking is the second fastest growing criminal industry. I’m supporting legislation this year that would give prosecutors additional tools to combat sex trafficking in Virginia. NBC29 reported this week on our efforts.
Virginia is home to more than 780,000 veterans. In our area alone, there are over 19,000 veterans, and there is a critical need for more veterans care centers in Virginia to support them. As Del. Chris Stolle noted, “Maine has a bed in a veterans care center for every 200 veterans in the state. Virginia has a bed for every 2,000 veterans.” I’m pleased to report that legislation to fund new care centers in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads advanced from committee this week. These two new 230-bed centers would not only provide valuable services to veterans in Northern Virginia and Hampton Roads, but they would also allow the existing centers in Richmond and Salem to better meet the need in those regions.
To date I have submitted 15 pieces of legislation. To follow and track my legislation you may go here: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?151+mbr+H237C
Links of Interest:
Delegate Tim Hugo delivers the weekly Virginia Republican Address: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vV1MiOZhTCw
House & Senate leaders highlight legislation to combat human trafficking – http://www.vahousegop.com/2015/01/house-and-senate-leaders-highlight-human-trafficking-legislation/
WATCH: Del. Michael Webert discussing Obama’s college savings tax on the House floor – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMtXPHkWAko
House leaders criticize President Obama’s plan to tax college savings — http://www.vahousegop.com/2015/01/house-republican-leaders-criticize-president-obamas-plan-to-tax-college-savings/
Bills to make college more affordable advance from House committee — http://www.vahousegop.com/2015/01/bills-to-make-college-more-affordable-advance-from-house-committee/
WATCH: Press Conference on 2015 House Agenda – http://www.vahousegop.com/2015/01/watch-house-gop-outlines-2015-agenda/
House leaders highlight 2015 agenda – http://www.vahousegop.com/2015/01/house-gop-highlights-2015-agenda/
Website and Survey
We have recently revamped our website. As another reminder, please take a look and if you have not done so already complete our legislative survey. It is critical that I know what is important to you and your family
In addition you can contact with me via Facebook
As always, my staff and I are here in Richmond to serve you. We want to hear what you think about the legislation pending before the House, or if there’s anything we can do to help you in dealing with a state government agency. My office can be reached by phone at (804) 698-1017 or by email at Delchead@house.virginia.gov. If you are planning to visit Richmond during Session, I encourage you to visit me in Room 408.
Thank you again for allowing me to serve as your Delegate.