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News from Del. Kory
Since we recently observed Memorial Day, I want to thank and applaud those of you who have served in our country's armed forces. I also extend congratulations to the many new graduates among you and your families, this being the season of commencements. As we welcome summer, please find some updates from me below. I continue to work on your behalf, and I encourage you to stay in touch.
Community Hours on Sat., June 6
I invite you to join me and Mason District School Board Member Sandy Evans for Community Hours on Saturday, June 6, from 10:30 am to noon at Thomas Jefferson Library. The address of the library is 7415 Arlington Blvd., Falls Church, VA 22042.
FCPS Board Adds LGBTQ to Existing Discrimination Protection Regulation
I support the Fairfax County School Board's recent action to include gender identity as a protected class in their anti-discrimination policies. It was, quite simply, the right thing to do. Gender identity should not be a barrier to working and learning in our public schools. I expressed my position more fully in a letter to the FCPS Board, which you can read here. I have attempted to pass legislation adding gender identity and sexual orientation to the state's policies forbidding discrimination for the past six years, without success. However, the Governor has issued an Executive Order adding these classes to the state's employment anti-discrimination policies. This is a good first step, which I hope will lead the members of the General Assembly to feel morally compelled to follow suit.
I joined several Northern Virginia Delegates and Senators in signing a letter to the School Board which urges them to adopt the recommendations of their Family Life Education Curriculum Advisory Committee. The FLECAC recommends that material respecting LGBT and Questioning students and families be included in the Family Life curriculum. This addition would encourage tolerance and mutual respect for differences among students and build a stronger school community. You can read the letter here.
Joint Commission on Health Care
I am proud to have been appointed to the state's Joint Commission on Health Care. The JCHC's charge is to review health care services in Virginia and make recommendations to the General Assembly and the Governor. At our most recent meeting (May 28th), we discussed the Commission work plan for the coming year. We will hear reports on topics as diverse as the projections of cancer rates in Virginia, the consequences of allowing certain minors to receive mental health care without parental consent, and the current accessibility of brain injury services. The JCHC has two subcommittees: Behavioral Health and Healthy Living/Health Services. All meetings of the Commission and its subcommittees are held in Richmond and are open to the public. Meetings, minutes, and reports are available athttp://jchc.virginia.gov/.
Bills Signed to Deter Sexual Assault on Campuses
Last week Governor McAuliffe held a ceremonial signing of several bills designed to deter sexual assaults on college campuses and ensure that victims/survivors have access to the resources they need without compromising their privacy. These bills complement my successful efforts to have April declared Sexual Assault Awareness Month in Virginia. This designation is part of a national movement led by college students and victim support networks. I believe that in the current atmosphere of rushing to criminalize all aspects of alleged sexual assault on college campuses, victims' rights are easily overlooked. I am committed to bringing victims' rights, especially to privacy, to the forefront of this national focus on the campus sexual assault problem. HB 1785, which I co-patroned, requires that campus police and law enforcement agencies establish mutual aid agreements and helps provide an avenue for collecting and preserving evidence.
Donation Drop Boxes Are for Nonprofits Only
We've all seen collection receptacles, often in parking lots, for donations of clothing, books, or other items. Unfortunately, and perhaps to your surprise, not all of these receptacles are put in place by charitable or civic organizations to which contributions are tax-deductible. During this year's session, my colleague in the House of Delegates, Sam Rasoul (D-11), who represents part of the city of Roanoke, patroned a bill requiring that collection boxes not put in place by a charity or civic organization be clearly marked. A sign just below the opening in the receptacle for donations shall read either "This donation receptacle is operated by a for-profit business. Items donated here support a for-profit business" or "This donation receptacle is operated by a professional solicitor. Items donated here support, in part, the professional solicitor, which is a for-profit entity" (HB 1860). This bill passed and will go into effect onJuly 1, so as you make donations, please be careful to check that they are going to the type of entity that you intend.
"Trial by Ambush"
The Virginia State Supreme Court is proposing changes to our criminal discovery rules, which determine what information the prosecution and defense must share prior to a trial. Under current discovery regulations, prosecutors may withhold police reports, witness statements, and the names of potential witnesses from defendants and their legal counsel. The American Civil Liberties Union accurately points out that these rules violate constitutional rights and prevent defense attorneys from fully representing their clients. Comments on the proposed rule changes can be made until June 30. Please take this opportunity to support more fairness in our state's criminal justice system and submit a comment here.
Speaking of Transportation
I continue to have many conversations with VDOT about the poor state of the roads in our District. Like you, I am frustrated and worried about the safety hazards and car damage caused by the size and number of potholes in our roads. Constituents have recounted cases of car damage from the unavoidable potholes costing anywhere from $84.99 for an alignment to $700 for new tires.
VDOT makes safety a priority in assessing the need for road repairs. There is a newly posted repaving schedule for the entire Commonwealth on the VDOT website,http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/ad_schedule.asp. I included that schedule, along with a link to VDOT's budget for the coming fiscal year, in a brief newsletter sent to you on May 21st. Unfortunately, the General Assembly passed a budget which cuts VDOT's funding. This is one of several reasons that I became one of the lonely five Delegates who voted against the budget in this year's session. The budget did, however, increase the funding allocated for road projects determined largely by regional bodies and local officials. You can find the six-year transportation plan approved by our Board of Supervisors here.
I will remain in touch with VDOT several days a week reminding the staff about the poor condition of this District's roadways. I will be stressing that safety issues are our primary concern. VDOT has managed to include some patching in the Barcroft neighborhood by adding repair "passes' to nearby projects, with the expectation that the most serious potholes will be filled by the end of next week, weather permitting. As you can see, road repairs are slowly being made and some rides are becoming a little smoother. Please remember that the phone number to report any problem to VDOT is 1-800-376-7623.
As I continue to use the position and powers with which you have entrusted me to improve our roadways, I encourage you to continue to hold state and local legislators accountable and let them know if you would support increasing revenues for repaving and rebuilding our deteriorating roadways.
I have received a question about a road project that is pertinent to many residents of District 38:
Q: Will VDOT post limited access signs on Blair Road while it is closed for the construction of storm sewers later in June?
A: Unfortunately, VDOT estimates that Blair Road will be closed (not merely subjected to limited access) for at least four to six weeks to accommodate the construction of storm water runoff improvements needed to serve new housing being developed on an adjacent land parcel. This closing will begin in mid-June after the school year ends.
Ending this installment of "Speaking of Transportation" on a positive note, VDOT recently announced that it will be including enhancements for bicyclists during this year's scheduled surfacing and stripe-painting work in northern Virginia. About 20 road segments will see improvements such as bike lanes and "sharrows" (pavement markers that indicate that cyclists and motorists are sharing a lane). Most of the improvements will be in Fairfax County. Find a list of themhere.
Thank you for the privilege of representing you, and please be assured that I am working on your behalf.
Copyright (C) 2014 Kory for Delegate. All rights reserved.
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Kaye Kory for Delegate
6505 Waterway Dr
Falls Church VA 22044 United States