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Focus on Fairfax
July 25, 2016
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
In the next few days, constituents across the 37th District will receive in their mailboxes my annual Report from Richmond.  As a loyal subscriber to Focus on Fairfax, you get a sneak peek! 
On July 1st, most of the 780 bills passed during the 2016 legislative session went into effect across Virginia.  I am pleased to provide you with a brief summary of just some of the legislation that is likely to affect our daily lives.  Of course, like all sessions, there were a few dominant issues.  Much of my time this year was spent on transportation and education.  Especially hotly debated was the proposal to toll I-66 inside the Beltway. My legislative agenda included HB407, which ensures that HOV lanes on I-66 both inside and outside of the Beltway are not prematurely switched from HOV-2 to HOV-3 for the purpose of tolling (they will switch in 2020 due to the federal Clean Air Act).  The bill has been signed by the Governor. I also introduced HB1374 to require the widening of I-66 inside the Beltway from the Dulles Connector to Ballston. While my specific bill did not pass, the concept was successfully included as a $140 million amendment to the budget.
As a member of the House Education Committee, I also had the opportunity to work on a bill that will result in the redesign of high school graduation requirements and give the Board of Education the flexibility to comprehensively reexamine how student achievement is assessed (HB895).  The process, which will start with the development of a "Portrait of a Virginia High School Graduate," is expected to occur over the next two years and will include rigorous public input.  Visit the SOL Innovation Committee website for information and announcements.
Finally, the General Assembly adopted the biennial budget, which must be balanced in accordance with Virginia's constitution. The budget includes additional funding for K-12 education, higher education, economic development, individuals with disabilities, and water quality improvement. I am particularly pleased that the biennial budget includes more than $90 million in additional education funding for Fairfax County and Fairfax City.
So, with no further ado!
High School Redesign (HB895).  Directs the Board of Education, in consultation with relevant stakeholders, to redesign high school graduation requirements based on a new "Profile of a Virginia Graduate." The profile will identify the knowledge and skills that students should attain during high school, including critical and creative thinking, collaboration, communication, and citizenship.  The first two years of high school will emphasize the development of core skill sets.  Students will then have multiple pathways toward college and/or careers that include internships, externships, and credentials.  The changes will begin with the class of freshmen entering high school in 2018.
Physical Activity in Elementary School (HB357).  Requires children in Virginia's elementary schools to have an average of at least 100 minutes per week of physical activity.
Social Media Accounts (SB438). Prohibits a public or private college or university from requiring a student to disclose the password of a personal social media account. The law does not affect accounts or services provided by a college.
Polling Place Procedures (HB1223). Allows a voter to give his/her name and legal address in writing when checking in at a polling place.  Previously, a voter was required to give the information verbally.
Constitutional Amendment (HJ2).  Proposes an amendment to the Constitution of Virginia prohibiting any agreement where membership in a union is made a condition of employment.  This concept, known as Right-to-Work, has been the law in Virginia since 1947.  The measure will be on the ballot for consideration by the voters this November.
Justice and Public Safety
Dating Violence Education (HB659).  Requires high school family life education to incorporate age-appropriate information on the prevention of dating violence.
Legal Age for Marriage (HB703).  Limits marriage to individuals 18 years or older by eliminating exceptions that allow marriage starting at age 16 (or earlier in the case of pregnancy) with the consent of the parent.  The bill creates new rules for emancipation of 16 and 17 year olds who wish to marry.
Physical Evidence Recovery Kits (HB1160). Requires storage of physical evidence recovery kits for no less than five years even if the victim does not wish to submit the kit as evidence at the time.  This change keeps the option open for the victim to pursue prosecution in the future.
Tolling Notification (HB1069).  Requires the Department of Transportation to allow E-ZPass account holders to provide an email or phone number and to electronically notify account holders of a toll violation.  The law lengthens, from 30 to 60 days, the time period before the administrative fee increases from $25 to $100 for all toll violations.  The law also provides for a 10-day grace period for unpaid tolls and requires toll operators to attempt to process and collect unpaid tolls twice during such period.
Smoking in a Vehicle with a Child (HB1348). Provides that any person who smokes in a motor vehicle when a minor under the age of eight is in the vehicle is subject to a civil penalty of $100. The violation is a secondary offense.
Opening Motor Vehicle Doors (SB117). Requires a driver to wait for a reasonable opportunity to open the doors on the side adjacent to moving traffic. A violation constitutes a traffic infraction punishable by a fine of not more than $50.
Consumer Protection
Structured Settlement Protection Act (HB52).  Provides new protections for victims of predatory settlement purchasers.  The measure requires the purchaser and the payee to appear in the circuit court where the payee lives.  This change will help ensure that predatory companies that purchase structured settlements cannot take advantage of the payee and that the payee understands the details of the settlement.
Advance Disclosure for Elective Procedures (HB905). Requires every hospital to furnish a patient scheduled for an elective procedure, test, or service to be performed by a hospital with an estimate of the payment amount for which the participant will be responsible.  The patient must request the information at least three days in advance of the date of when the procedure is scheduled to be performed.  
Fantasy Contests Act (HB775).  Formally legalizes daily fantasy contests like FanDuel and DraftKings.  The law establishes a system of state-run audits and consumer protections.  Virginia is the first state in the nation to pass comprehensive regulation on fantasy sports contests.
Three bills were passed together as part of a larger deal concerning firearms.  HB1163 allows the holder of an out-of-state concealed handgun permit to carry a concealed handgun in Virginia provided that the person is at least 21 years of age, the other state has a 24-hour-a-day means of verifying their permits, the person carries a government-issued photo identification, and the person has not previously had a Virginia concealed handgun permit revoked.
HB1386 requires the State Police to be available to perform voluntary background checks at all firearms shows in Virginia.  Previously, only about 70% of firearms shows had State Police available to perform background checks. Finally, HB1391 provides that anyone subject to a permanent restraining order cannot possess or purchase a firearm.
GO Virginia (HB834).  Creates the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board and establishes a regional approach to investing in workforce and small business development.  Regional boards will be made up of local business leaders and government officials, and will be responsible for issuing grants to grow and diversify Virginia's economy. 
Airbnb (HB812).  Instructs the Virginia Housing Commission to study the impact of regulating and taxing short-term rentals in residential areas at the state level.  This would affect companies like Airbnb.  Any recommendations would need to be passed during the 2017 General Assembly.  
Craving more information?  The Division of Legislative Services publishes In Due Course, which is a more comprehensive summary of new laws.  You can also download the 2016 Session Summary, which is an overview of all bills considered during the session sorted by subject area.
As always, don't hesitate to contact me if you have any questions or would like to discuss an issue!

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David Bulova
Delegate, 37th Virginia House District

PS --On Wednesday, August 3rd from 7-9 p.m. I will be holding my annual Summer Serenade fundraiser at Blenheim in the City of Fairfax.  This year will feature homemade BBQ and Virginia hard cider!  Click here for more information.
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