COMSTOCK FOR DELEGATE BLOG
The Comstock Connection 2/17/2014
Monday, February 17, 2014
District Mailing Address:
PO Box 6156
McLean, VA 22106
1356 Beverly Road
McLean, Virginia 22101
Last week was Crossover here at the General Assembly, the
deadline by which all action must be completed on legislation in its
house of origin. The House of Delegates has completed its work on bills
and resolutions introduced in the House and those that passed have been
communicated to the Senate. The Virginia legislature is
scheduled for 60 days this year and is expected to adjourn on Saturday,
March 8th. I continue to serve on the Commerce and Labor and
Transportation Committees and as Chairwoman of the Science and
My legislation passed in the House this year includes:
HB 1, Domestic and Sexual Violence Fund: A bill to create a Domestic and Sexual Violence Fund that would consolidate and streamline the resources for victims.
Status: Passed the House on 2/11/14 by a vote of 99-0 and has been referred to the Senate Appropriations Committee.
HB 82, Following Too Closely: A bill to improve bicycle safety on Northern Virginia roadways.
Status: Passed the House on 1/28/14 by a vote of 68-28 and has been referred to the Senate Transportation Committee.
HB 387, Pulse Oximetry Screenings for Newborns: A
bill to provide pulse oximetry screenings of newborns in every
hospital to test newborn infants for critical congenital heart defects.
Passed the House on 1/28/14 by a vote of 98-0 and the Senate on 2/10/14
by a vote of 40-0. It has been sent to the Governor to sign.
HB 994, Overall Human Trafficking Statute:
An overview bill to establish a section of the Code of Virginia related
to defining human trafficking and human trafficking offenses.
Status: Passed the House on 2/7/14 by a vote of 97-0 and referred to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee.
HB 1044, Bank Directors To Own Stock:
A bill to allow bank directors to be the sole owner of shares of stock
held through a brokerage account, living trust, profit-sharing plan or
Status: Passed the House on 1/22/14 by a vote of 97-0 and has been referred to the Senate Commerce and Labor Committee.
HB 1155, Asset Forfeiture; human trafficking:
A bill to increase penalties to individuals convicted of crimes related
to human trafficking. Such individuals would be subject to forfeit
certain assets that were used in committing these crimes.
Incorporated into HB660 which passed the House on 2/11/14 by a vote of
92-7 and has been referred to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee.
HB 1174, Firearms police officer training standard: A bill to ensure that auxiliary police officers are offered substantial firearms training.
Status: Passed the House on 1/29/14 by a vote of 99-0 and has been referred to the Senate Courts of Justice Committee.
also introduced bills this Session related to providing more in-state
college spots for Virginia students, allowing localities to determine
the school start-date for public schools and creating an online
financial literacy course available for students who attend public high
schools in Virginia.
Other Legislative Updates
Repealing The Hybrid Car Tax
Thursday, January 23rd, the House of Delegates passed legislation that
would repeal the $64 hybrid vehicle tax that was included in the 2013
transportation package. HB 975, which passed with wide bipartisan
support by a vote of 89-9, has been referred to the Senate Finance
the chief co-patron of HB 975, I'm pleased to see progress on the
effort to repeal the Hybrid Tax. This was an issue on which an
overwhelming number of constituents expressed frustration over, and for
good reason. Hybrid drivers pay gas taxes. They have to fill up their
car at the gas station just like others on the roads. It is unfair to
impose a double tax on them. We should be encouraging people to
purchase and drive hybrids - not punishing them.
Legislation To Add East Sea To Textbooks
On Thursday, February 6th, Delegate Tim Hugo's bill HB 11
passed the House of Delegates with overwhelming support by a vote of 81-15. HB 11
would require that all future textbooks, purchased after July 1, 2014,
and approved by the Virginia Board of Education, must note that the Sea
of Japan is also referred to as the East Sea.
As the co-patron of HB 11, I know this is an important issue for the entire Korean American community. HB 11
ensures that Virginia's geography classes and textbooks recognize that
there are disputes regarding the correct name of this body of water, as
currently taught in the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL). This
bill requires that both names are used when identifying the body of
water between Korea and Japan; the 'East Sea' and the 'Sea of Japan.
|Visitors To The Capitol
session we have a variety of visitors to the Capitol who meet with us
to discuss issues and legislation of interest to them.
Some of my favorite visitors (shown right), came to the Capitol to represent Canine Companions!
I was delighted to visit
with Marv Murray at the Capitol on January 13th. Marv is a constituent
from Falcons Landing Military Retirement Community in Potomac Falls.
We had the opportunity to discuss his support of legislation pertaining
to Virginia's military veterans.
It was great to meet Mary Catherine, a Senate Page for the 2014
General Assembly Session. Mary Catherine is a freshman at Oakton High
School in Vienna where my husband, Chip, is an Assistant Principal.
I enjoyed visiting with Grace Becker, Ankit Goyal, Joey and Katie
Valery from Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology
during their Student Lobby Day on February 3rd.
of a budget amendment this year that would provide additional funds to
support Thomas Jefferson in their academic endeavors.
to Joan Dreux of McLean who is volunteering in our office as an intern
this General Assembly Session. We appreciate all your help and hard
I had the pleasure of meeting with Ms. Dotti Metcalf-Lindenburger, a NASA astronaut, on Wednesday, February 5th.
was selected by NASA as a Mission Specialist in May 2004. In February
2006, she completed Astronaut Candidate Training, which included
scientific and technical briefings, intensive instruction in shuttle
and International Space Station systems, physiological training, T-38
flight training and water and wilderness survival training.
In 2010, she served as a Mission Specialist on the crew of STS-131 and logged more than 362 hours in space.
I enjoyed seeing students from Radford University and Mary Campbell for their Student Lobby Day on Wednesday, February 5th.
I also had a nice visit with students from Virginia Tech for their student lobby day on Thursday, February 6th.
Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremonies
I was pleased to join the Eagle Scout ceremonies for Robert Fisher and Nicholas Bielamowicz on Saturday, January 25th.
Congratulations to the Fisher and Bielamowicz families on their sons' accomplishments.
Delegate Comstock's Young Women's Leadership Program Visits The Capitol
It was wonderful to
visit with several members of our Young Women's Leadership Program at
the State Capitol on Monday, January 20th. Participants and their
families had the opportunity to sit in and observe the House Science and
Technology Committee as well as observe the legislature in Session.
Great to see each of you!
| Governor-Elect McAuliffe's Inauguration
attended Governor-Elect Terry McAuliffe's Inauguration ceremony on
Saturday, January 11th as a member of the Inaugural Committee. Past
Governors George Allen, Tim Kaine and Bob McDonnell joined us in the
pouring rain to watch Governor McAuliffe be sworn in as the 72nd
Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia. It was great to run into
Congressman Robert Hurt (VA-5) at the ceremony as well (pictured left).
| Virginia Federation of Republican Women Luncheon
On Thursday, January 9th,
I had the pleasure of speaking at the Virginia Federation of
Republican Women's luncheon at the Marriott in downtown Richmond. Women
in red filled the room. It was great to visit with many friends from throughout the Commonwealth and Northern Virginia.
Human Trafficking Press Conference
On Thursday, January 16th, I had the opportunity to participate in a
Human Trafficking Press Conference hosted by the Richmond Justice
have worked on a bipartisan basis with my colleagues at the General
Assembly over the past four years to pass legislation which aim to crack
down on this heinous crime.
trafficking, the exploitation of people for profit, is a hidden crime
that is happening all across the state, even in our own neighborhoods.
In order to make an impact on this crime, we must work to identify this
crime for what it is and work to curb the demand of this $32 billion
industry. My bills, HB994 and HB1155, will continue our efforts to
combat human trafficking in the Commonwealth.
| Korean American Day
had the pleasure of joining many of my colleagues for the 9th Annual
Celebration of Korean American Day which was held on Tuesday, January
14th at the Annandale Campus of Northern Virginia Community College.
This festive event is a great and informative tradition for all
involved. Congratulations to this year's honorees: Simon Lee, Michael
Yang, and Sarah Paiji.
VDOT Launches New Northern Virginia Commuter Tools on 511
Commuters on I-395 and I-95 now have a new web
tool designed to make their daily trips a little easier. The Virginia
Department of Transportation (VDOT) has launched the new features for
commuters on its 511 mobile app and website at http://www.511virginia.org/nova.
Users can click the direct link or the "Northern Va. I-95/395" tab from the main page to see:
- Current travel times in HOV lanes vs. regular lanes
- Park-and-ride locations, number of spaces and by what time a lot is typically full
- Schedules and bus stops for PRTC buses
- Real-time travel information for VRE routes
- Whether the HOV lanes are open to traffic or closed
are part of VDOT's program to ease congestion during construction of
the 95 Express Lanes. The new web tool is Virginia's first integrated
corridor management (ICM) initiative - technologies used to enhance
multi-modal transportation operations in the I-95/395 corridor.
Report A Road Problem With VDOT
To report a road problem with VDOT, please use VDOT's online work request service. Through VDOT's system, they are able to provide you with such services as:
- Filling potholes
- Drainage culvert cleaning and repair
- Guardrail repair
- Street sign replacement
- Traffic lights
- Removal of debris from roadways, and shoulder repairs.
You may also visit 511Virginia.org to access the latest road conditions.
"Just Ask" Human Trafficking Prevention Effort
community wide "Just Ask" Human Trafficking Prevention Effort kick-off
took place on Friday, January 11th, in Fairfax. The "Just Ask" campaign
is a combination effort from Fairfax County Police Department, Fairfax
County Public Schools, and local faith-based and community
Ask" is a grassroots community effort to spread awareness of the
techniques that traffickers use to spot and recruit their teen victims.
The effort also stresses that these teens who are caught up in human
trafficking are being manipulated and trapped in this dangerous
lifestyle. Thanks to "Just Ask" and local law enforcement for all their
efforts in combating human trafficking in our area.
CLIPUS Foundation: Distributing School Supplies To Children In Need
Foundation is a nonprofit organization started with a vision, "for all
children to have the necessary school supplies to cultivate their
education and future."
Foundation was founded in 2013 by a group of passionate high school
students. They have more than 20 members, all of whom students attending
The Madeira School, Langley High School, and Thomas Jefferson High
School of Science and Technology. The CLIPUS Foundation believes that
today's lower school education contributes greatly to tomorrow's higher
education. With the lack of essential school supplies, many children are
losing opportunities to perform their best and succeed in school,
therefore diminishing future opportunities for higher education and
professional careers. CLIPUS's goal is to help provide young children
with the best education possible.
currently running 3 diverse programs, each designed to raise the
proceeds necessary for purchasing new backpacks and supplies. Through
these programs, they also aim to help improve the environment by
collecting and recycling toners and office supplies. They are also
partnered with other charity organizations and commercial companies such
as Adventure Theater (www.adventuretheatre-mtc.org
) and Fitzgerald Commercial Movers (www.fitzmovers.com
Please visit www.clipusfoundation.org for more information or contact the CLIPUS Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org!
I try to be accessible to my constituents in as many ways as possible. For more information, please visit my website, www.delegatecomstock.com, where you can read my blog for up-to-date information on Virginia, or follow me on Facebook or Twitter. You can reach me by email at email@example.com or by phone at 703-772-7168. Please don't hesitate to contact me about issues that concern you.
Delegate Barbara Comstock