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The Comstock Connection
Thursday, February 2, 2012

Dear Friend,   

I wanted to take the opportunity to update you as we enter our fourth week of the 2012 Legislative Session.  I am busy attending subcommittee and full committee meetings, presenting bills that I introduced, and meeting with constituents and organizations in my office.  Several bills that I introduced have already been passed in the House and will be considered in the Senate after "crossover," or the mid-point of session on February 14.

Breakfast with Barbara
I want to invite you to join me for Breakfast this Saturday, February 4th to discuss issues that I am working on in Richmond this year.

What:   Breakfast with Barbara

When:  Saturday, February 4, 2012
               9:30-11:00 a.m.

Where: 6822 Wemberly Way
               McLean, VA 22101

Please email me at [email protected] or call my office, 804-698-1034, to RSVP. 
2012 Legislation Update
Below are some of the bills I have introduced or sponsored that are moving forward this session.   I will keep you posted on the progress of these and other bills and issues of concern to our District throughout session.
HB 33, The Fair and Open Competition in Government Contracting Act:  I introduced this bill, which prohibits Virginia and recipients of state funding from requiring or prohibiting contractors to enter into union agreements, such as a project labor agreement (PLA), as a condition of winning any state-assisted construction contracts.  The bill was passed 69-27 in the House this week and 21-20 in the Senate.  


This measure will keep the government neutral with respect to a qualified contractor's relationship with labor unions in all projects.  This will increase the creation of Virginia jobs, increase competition, and provide our taxpayers with more miles of transportation and infrastructure solutions for every dollar we spend. This bill received strong support from the Governor, the Lieutenant Governor, the Attorney General, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce, the Loudoun County Chamber of Commerce, Dulles Regional Chamber of Commerce, the Associated Builders and Contractors, the Association of General Contractors, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and the Loudoun County Board of Supervisors.  


HB 83, Information on Breast Density: I sponsored HB 83, which will require the Board of Health to establish guidelines requiring all mammogram reports to include information on breast density. This will inform patients with dense breast tissue, as determined by the physician, that supplementary screening tests may be beneficial, depending on individual risk factors.  This bill passed unanimously in the House and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Education and Health.

HB 545, VDOT Incident Management:  I introduced this bill to allow VDOT vehicles to drive on a portion of the highway other than a roadway at, en route to, or from the scene of a traffic accident.  Congestion related delays can cost millions. This will help relieve traffic congestion at the site of a traffic accident, allowing VDOT to reach the scene sooner and clear blocked roads more quickly.  This bill was passed unanimously in the House and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Transportation.

HB 548, Higher Education for Active Duty Military:   I introduced this bill at the suggestion of a George Mason University employee to require higher educational institutions to implement policies that help provide accommodations for students called to active military duty to complete their college degrees.  This bill was passed unanimously in the House and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Education and Health.

HB 550, Submission of Agency Reports in Electronic Format: I introduced this bill, which was a recommendation of the Governor's Reform Commission, to allow electronic reports to be submitted instead of written reports.  This will reduce unnecessary printing by state agencies and save money and time.  This bill was passed unanimously in the House of Delegates and has been referred to the Senate Committee on Rules.

HB 1013, Extending the Capital Gains Tax Exemption:  I introduced this legislation to extend the current capital gains exemption for new tech investments in the Commonwealth.  This bill passed with broad bipartisan support when it was first introduced two years ago during the 2010 legislative session, and this extension was passed on the floor of the house today unanimously.

HB 1063, Starting School Before Labor Day:  I have sponsored HB 1063, a bill that has been endorsed by the Governor and has strong bipartisan support, as well as the support of the Fairfax County Chamber of Commerce.  It will allow local school boards to set the school calendar and determine the opening of the school year, and eliminate the post-Labor Day opening requirement.  I have heard from many constituents over the last two years about wanting to be able to start school before Labor Day, like most localities in Virginia are able to do, as well as surrounding states.  This will allow each locality to decide the best time to begin the school year.  It will give all our students an equal opportunity to learn and perform better on standardized tests.  This bill was passed in the House today with a strong bipartisan vote of 76-23.

Commerce and Labor Committee

I am honored to now be serving on the House Committee on Commerce and Labor. On this committee I can continue to work to make Jobs my #1 priority and work on many of the issues that impact Northern Virginia.  In addition to Commerce and Labor, I continue to serve on the Committee on Transportation and the Committee on Science and Technology.

New Online Tool Shows Snow Plowing Status

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has a new online tool that shows the status of plowing in northern Virginia neighborhoods, which you can use the next time it snows in our area.  You can find out the status of plowing in Fairfax, Loudoun and Prince William county neighborhoods at  http://novasnowplowing.virginia.gov.  Since it is VDOT policy to not plow roads until at least two inches have accumulated, the webpage will not activate until the plowing begins.  To learn more about this innovative tool, click here.  You can also visit VDOT's website for more information on their snow removal procedures and for up-to-date information, follow VDOT on Facebook.

Commemorative Session in Williamsburg

Last weekend I had the privilege to join the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and my colleagues in the General Assembly for the 25th joint commemorative session in Virginia's Colonial Capitol at Williamsburg in chambers occupied by the House of Burgesses (the ancestor body of the House of Delegates).  This was a unique and inspiring event that only occurs once every four years.  
Williamsburg 2012 Barbara
Williamsburg 2012 Governor

Black History Month 

February is Black History Month and there are events going on throughout the Commonwealth to celebrate.  Visit http://www.virginia.org/blackhistorymonth/to see the wonderful educational and cultural events being held this month.
Weekly Visitors
I would like to extend an invitation for you to visit me in my office in the General Assembly Building if you are visiting Richmond this year.  You can contact my office at [email protected] or 804-698-1034 to set up a meeting or just stop by when you visit.  This session I have had the privilege of meeting with many constituents visiting to let me know their views on matters my colleagues and I are considering this session.  Over the last week I have had the opportunity to meet with Wolf Trap, the Fairfax Arts Council, McLean Project for the Arts, the Fairfax County Chamber, and the Loudoun County School Board.  I appreciate hearing from my constituents as well as the wonderful organization in the 34th District.
Wolftrap Visit January 2012
Please share your thoughts with me on legislation that is coming up in the General Assembly this year by emailing or calling my office or by filling out my 2012 Legislative Survey.  You can always contact my office at[email protected] or 804-698-1034.  

Thank you again and I look forward to working with you and seeing you in the District. 
Barbara Comstock

Paid for by Friends of Barbara Comstock.