We are officially in the second half of the 2018 General Assembly session! Tuesday was “Crossover” which is our “halfway point.” All of the bills passed by the House now head to the Senate for consideration, and we will begin considering all of the bills passed by the Senate. In this newsletter I want to discuss the many accomplishments achieved by House Republicans in just the first half of the 2018 Session. This year we have been focused on passing “Practical Solutions to Everyday Issues”.
The House of Delegates was productive and successful during the first 30 days of session.
We advanced our “Practical Solutions” Agenda, announced several major bipartisan agreements, stood up to higher taxes, and started work on a balanced budget.
One of our biggest accomplishments in the first half of session was defeating $770 million in new taxes proposed by Democrats. Their proposals wanted to institute a new tax on Netflix, Pandora, and Hulu and increase taxes on hotel stays and jetskis. They even considered a Uber and Lyft tax. I am committed to keeping taxes low so Virginia businesses can be competitive and families can keep more of their money in their pocket. All of these tax increases were non-starters for the House.
I will not stand idly by as we lose friends and family members to opioid-overdoses. No one is immune from this addiction, and our legislation takes a proactive approach to helping curb this disease. On average, more than three Virginians die each day from this devastating crisis. The House Republican Caucus carried and passed seven pieces of legislation to help end the Opioid Crisis. One bill will create teams to review overdose deaths to better understand how and where they occur. Another bill will also help with caring for infants who are birthed by substance-using women.
Virginia is privileged to have one of the best education systems in large part due to our excellent teachers. But more and more we see our dedicated educators leaving the classroom for administration positions or worse yet, not pursuing the career at all because of licensure obstacles. This year, several pieces of legislation have passed what will provide individuals an easier path to achieve their career goals. Three different bills specifically address streamlining the teacher licensure process. The bills will allow great teachers to enter a classroom sooner and keep great teachers in the classroom. HB2 also supports our military members by removing burdens that spouses of military members were facing when they moved to Virginia and wanted to continue teaching.
The budget will be released on Sunday. We have laid the foundation for adopting a conservative, balanced budget. The budget is the most important thing we do, and we are committed to balancing the budget on time without a government shutdown. My commitment will be to fund the core functions of government while being good stewards of taxpayer dollars. The budget prioritizes savings, eliminates state liabilities, reduces borrowing, and makes key investments in our top priorities..
I encourage you to keep in touch with me and my office over the coming months. I value the feedback you provide on a continual basis as it helps me do a better job of representing you. You can email me at DelMFariss@house.virginia.gov or call me at (804)698-1059. You can also join the conversation on my facebook page www.facebook.com/DelegateMattFariss.
I will be providing you Weekly Updates during the 2018 General Assembly Session and will be meeting with constituent groups after Session to report on the Session and take questions.