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COMSTOCK FOR DELEGATE BLOG

The Comstock Connection 2/17/2014
Monday, February 17, 2014


Delegate Banner 

Crossover Edition  





In This Issue
Legislation Introduced
Other Legislative Updates
Visitors To The Capitol
Eagle Scout Court of Honor Ceremonies
Young Women's Leadership Program
Governor's Inauguration
VFRW Luncheon
Human Trafficking Press Conference
Korean American Day
VDOT Launches New Northern Virginia Commuter Tools on 511
Report A Road Problem With VDOT
"Just Ask" Human Trafficking Prevention Effort
CLIPUS Foundation
Contact Me
District Mailing Address:
PO Box 6156
McLean, VA 22106
  
District Office:
1356 Beverly Road
Suite 250
McLean, Virginia 22101
  
February 17, 2014

Dear Friends,

 

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 Technology Committee.

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.

Status: 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 1044Bank 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 retirement plan.

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.

Status: 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.   

I 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  

On 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 Committee.

As 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        

Every 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.

I'm supportive of a budget amendment this year that would provide additional funds to support Thomas Jefferson in their academic endeavors. 
 




Thanks 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 work!

I had the pleasure of meeting with Ms. Dotti Metcalf-Lindenburger, a NASA astronaut, on Wednesday, February 5th. 

Dotti 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

I 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 Initiative.

I 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.

Human 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

I 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

The enhancements 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

The 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 organizations.

"Just 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
 

CLIPUS Foundation is a nonprofit organization started with a vision, "for all children to have the necessary school supplies to cultivate their education and future."  

CLIPUS 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.

They are 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 contact@clipusfoundation.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 delbcomstock@house.virginia.gov or by phone at 703-772-7168. Please don't hesitate to contact me about issues that concern you.

  Sincerely, 

Signature
Delegate Barbara Comstock








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