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The Comstock Connection January 26th, 2011
Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Comstock Connection
January 26, 2011
Delegate Barbara Comstock

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Dear Friend,
I wanted to take the opportunity to update you on what I am working on in the General Assembly this year.  We are entering our third week of session, working on more than 1,300 introduced bills and resolutions.  Most of these bills are still being debated in committees and subcommittees, however two resolutions I introduced have already been passed. 

Tell Me What You Think 

Please take a few minutes to fill out the 2011 Legislative Survey.  I really appreciate hearing from you on the issues we are focusing on this year.    As always, my staff and I are here to serve you and would love to hear what you think about the legislation pending before the House.  You can also contact my office at 804-698-1034 or [email protected]gov

I would also like to invite you to visit me in Richmond.  We would be happy to arrange for a tour of the Capitol building and I always like to meet with constituents in my office.  You can find me in room 407 of the General Assembly Building.

Great Falls Town Hall Meeting

Please join us for our upcoming Great Falls Town Hall Meeting. 

What:  Great Falls Town Hall Meeting

When: Saturday, January 29, 2011 at 10:00 a.m.

Where:  Great Falls Grange, 9818 Georgetown Pike


I look forward to discussing issues facing the Commonwealth with you on Saturday, January 29.


Chairman of Housing Subcommittee
I was recently appointed Chairman of the General Laws Subcommittee on Housing.  This committee deals with issues related to commercial and residential real estate, apartments, eminent domain and fire and emergency medical services.  Any economic recovery depends upon a thriving real estate market.  I look forward to working on the issues on this committee that are vital to a vibrant and strong community and economy.
1st Housing Subcommittee

Education Efforts
I have introduced a budget amendment that would allow a school district to shift money for one year from pre-school funds to the effort of completing all-day kindergarten in districts that have not yet achieved all day kindergarten in all of their schools.  As you know, our area is one of the areas that is still way behind on having full-day kindergarten in all of our schools.  As a result, our kids are not treated equally and we are essentially paying a kindergarten tax.  This budget amendment would help Fairfax County close the gap and provide all day kindergarten in all of our schools.  This amendment is supported by a number of other Delegates in Fairfax and Loudoun, including Delegates Tom Rust, Jim LeMunyon and Tag Greason who serve on the Education Committee, as well as Dave Albo and Joe May.  I am proud to work with many or our local parents on this issue.

I also introduced a bill that would provide a 3% bonus to our teachers by giving them incentives to find savings in the existing budget to be put towards this bonus.  Last year state employees were able to find savings in their respective budgets that allowed for them to receive a 3% bonus and this is designed to reward teachers in the same way.  This was heard in the education subcommittee last week and full committee on Monday of this week and has now been forwarded to appropriations for their consideration.

I will keep you updated on the progress of these important issues.

Spotlight Bills
HJ 655:
  It was an honor to introduce House Joint Resolution 655, commending Wolf Trap for its 40th Anniversary and its unique contributions as the nation's only National Park for the performing arts.  For over 25 years my family and I have enjoyed Wolf Trap as a vibrant part of our community.  I'm proud to support Wolf Trap and have this national treasure in my district.  Next Monday, January 31, I will be presenting Wolf Trap with the resolution on the floor of the House of Delegates in a special "Center Aisle" presentation.

Wolf Trap

HJ 643:  This year I introduced House Joint Resolution 643, which would designate May, in 2011 and in each succeeding year, as Lyme Disease Awareness Month in Virginia.  Many members of the Fairfax County Delegation to the General Assembly have joined me in supporting this resolution.  I am happy to report that it passed unanimously in the House of Delegates last Friday; it is now being considered by the Senate.


Governor's Initiatives

Governor McDonnell highlighted the following bill, of which I am a Chief Co-Patron, in his State of the Commonwealth address on January 12: 


HB 1447, which will allow income tax credits for individuals and businesses for qualified research and development expenses.


Governor McDonnell announced his reform initiatives on January 13, highlighting three bills that I have introduced this session:


HB 2197, which will create a telework expenses tax credit for employers.  Employers would be eligible for a credit of up to $1,200 per teleworking employee, depending on the number of days per month an employee will telework. The total credit amount any one employer may take for 2012 and 2013 is $50,000.


HB 2201, which will require all agencies of the Commonwealth to participate to the fullest extent feasible in the Payroll Service Bureau operated by the Department of Accounts.


HB2207,  which removes the statutory formulas for calculating sick leave and family and personal leave for state employees.


You can view the Governor's press release here.   

Protecting our Right To Work Environment in Virginia

Last week we voted for a constitutional amendment codifying Virginia's status as a right to work state.  This amendment would make it illegal to deny a person employment on the basis that he or she is not a member of a union.


I am also the Chief Co-Patron on Delegate Tim Hugo's bill, which declares that in any labor organization the right of an individual employee to vote by secret ballot is a fundamental right that shall be guaranteed from infringement. You can track the bill here.

New Virginia Tech License Plate

I have co-patroned Senate Bill 804, which would create "In Remembrance, April 16, 2007" license plates in honor of the tragic shooting at Virginia Tech in April 2007.  These would be special revenue-sharing license plates, with an annual cost $25.  For each set of plates issued (after the first 1,000 sets) $15 will go to the VTV Family Outreach Foundation, to support its operation and programs in Virginia.  To learn more about the VTV Family Outreach Foundation, visit their website.  For the bill to pass through the General Assembly, a minimum of 350 pre-paid applications must be received by February 20.  You can order your plates here.

VTECH Plate 

Congratulations To Our Local Schools 

A number of our local schools recently received the 2011 Governor's Award for Educational Excellence.  Congratulations to Chesterbrook Elementary School, Cooper Middle School, Langley High School, Longfellow Middle School, and Spring Hill Elementary School for receiving this award! 


In addition, Churchill Road Elementary School, Colvin Run Elementary School, Forestville Elementary School, Great Falls Elementary School, McLean High School, and Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology received the 2011 Board of Education Excellence Awards.  Congratulations to all! 


To learn more about these rewards and to see the Department of Education press release, click here

Please continue to keep in touch and let me know about your concerns.


Barbara Comstock

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