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May 2015 Newsletter: News & Opportunities

Honoring Vietnamese American refugees on May 2.

 

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News & Opportunities

Dear friend,

As this year's session of the General Assembly recedes into the past, I continue my work to represent you. I am liaising with state agencies on your behalf, listening to your concerns, and starting to research legislation, since I may draft and file bills until the end of my current term (January 13, 2016, at noon). I encourage you to stay in touch and let me know what is important to you. Below you'll find information that may be useful, an update on my activities as your elected Delegate, and some notices of upcoming events.

Community Hours on Sat., June 6

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. Come to ask questions and voice concerns.

Sales Tax Holidays on May 25-31

Virginia will have two tax holidays this year when the purchase of certain supplies and equipment needed to prepare for hurricanes will be exempt from sales tax. One holiday will be May 25 through 31; the other, August 7 through 9 (which will be a tax holiday for school supplies, clothing, and Energy Star and WaterSense qualified products, in addition to equipment for hurricanes and other emergencies). Seehttp://www.tax.virginia.gov/content/hurricane-preparedness-equipment-holiday for more information, including a list of tax-free items.

Governor's Actions Following Veto Session

After the Reconvened, or Veto, Session of the General Assembly on April 15 and 17, Governor McAuliffe took action on items returned to him. Since the Assembly did not override any of the Governor's vetoes during the Reconvened Session, he either signed or vetoed bills that contained amendments which the Assembly voted not to accept.

(As a quick recap, the sole business of the House of Delegates and the Senate during the Reconvened Session was to consider the Governor's amendments and vetoes to legislation passed during the regular session in January and February. Each body had to approve an amendment and/or sustain a veto before a bill could be final. If a veto was sustained, no further action was required. For a veto to be overridden, both bodies had to vote to reject it. If an amendment was accepted by both bodies, no further action was needed. When an amendment was rejected by both bodies, the bill was returned to the Governor for his signature or veto. Legislation surviving this process becomes law on July 1, with the exception of those bills designated "emergency," which take effect immediately.)

Among the bills that the Governor signed in spite of the Assembly rejecting his amendments were HB 1570, theomnibus child day care bill. The bill, with the overarching goal of child safety, tightens the regulation of licensed day care centers and family day homes. For example, it lowers to four from five the number of children unrelated to the provider who can be cared for in a family day home without a license.  

Notable among the bills the Governor vetoed was SB 965, which would have significantly restricted the use of License Plate Readers and would have established a strict retention period of seven days for data collected by LPRs. The governor vetoed the bill in the interest of public safety, effective law enforcement, and efficient business transactions, namely, electronically-managed tolling on state and local roads.

For the full list of bills signed and vetoed by the governor after the Reconvened Session, see https://governor.virginia.gov/newsroom/newsarticle?articleId=8352

Speaking of Transportation

You may wish to weigh in on the Tier 2 Environmental Assessment (EA)/Draft Section 4(f) Evaluation for theTransform 66 Outside the Beltway Project. The project will transform 25 miles of I-66 between US Route 15 in Haymarket and I-495/Capital Beltway to relieve congestion and enhance safety, as well as provide new travel choices and reliability.

Review project information at www.transform66.org, at the public hearings (see below), or at VDOT's Northern Virginia District Office at 4975 Alliance Drive in Fairfax.

The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT), in partnership with the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT), will host public hearings at which you can review and comment on the Tier 2 Environmental Assessment. All hearing times are 5:30 to 9 pm, with a brief presentation beginning at 7 pm. The dates and locations of the hearings are as follows.

 

  • Wed., May 27, VDOT Northern Virginia District Office, 4975 Alliance Dr., Fairfax, VA 22030

 

  • Thur., May 28, Oakton High School Cafeteria (Entrance #1 or #14), 2900 Sutton Rd., Vienna, VA 22181

 

  • Tue., June 2, Battlefield High School Cafeteria (Entrance #1 or #14), 15000 Graduation Dr., Haymarket, VA 20169

 

  • Wed., June 3, Bull Run Elementary School Cafeteria (Entrance #1), 15301 Lee Highway, Centreville, VA 20121

 

Please call 800-FOR-ROAD (800-367-7623) or TTY/TDD 711 to ensure the availability of appropriate personnel to answer your questions.

Written comments may be submitted by mail to Ms. Susan Shaw, Megaprojects Director, at the VDOT District Office address above, or by email to Transform66@VDOT.Virginia.gov. Reference "Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Public Hearing" in the subject line. Comments must be postmarked, emailed, or delivered to VDOT by June 18, 2015, to be included in the public hearing record.

In addition to responses to the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project, you may have neighborhood-level questions to share with VDOT. Here is one that came to my attention recently.

Q: Does VDOT send street cleaners/sweepers out to sweep up sand, etc.?

A: VDOT has limited sweeping equipment and service contracts but does address areas that present safety concerns. Typically VDOT does not perform sweeping on roadways as a “routine” maintenance activity because of the department's limited budget. VDOT does, however, take requests – call 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623, the number for reporting any road problems to VDOT) or submit a request at http://www.virginiadot.org/travel/citizen.asp – and, on a case-by-case basis, VDOT performs sweeping operations.  

Good News: New State Budget Discourages Policing for Profit

The budget that the General Assembly passed in the 2015 session, and that Governor McAuliffe has signed, curbs the amount of revenue from speeding tickets that local governments can retain from policing-for-profit schemes. Such schemes refer to speed enforcement programs that are put in place not primarily for safety, but rather as a funding source for local governments. (In Hopewell, VA, for example, a 1.7-mile stretch of I-295 has come to be referred to as the "Million Dollar Mile.") The new budget will allow law enforcement officers to continue to ticket drivers who speed, so please drive safely. However, localities will now collect a more appropriate level of revenue for efforts to stop speeding, rather than enriching themselves through a public service. This deterrent to policing for profit has the support of the American Automobile Association. 

Maintaining Fairfax's Social Capital

This month in the Falls Church News-Press, I highlighted a study suggesting that the social capital of a child's community correlates with his or her earning potential in later life. Historically, Fairfax has had strong social capital, but I am concerned that it is diminishing. Read more here

NVFS Seeks Foster Families

NVFS (Northern Virginia Family Service) has requested that I support their efforts to seek foster parents to care for two or more siblings and/or adolescents. Lack of foster parents is a serious problem that impacts our communities in many ways. NVFS receives some state funding, but not nearly enough, and thus is heavily reliant on volunteer efforts. For 90 years, NVFS has assisted individuals and their families (almost 34,000 last year) with services ranging from housing and food emergencies to early childhood education and job training. They provide many services to foster families, including training and certification, and professional social worker support 24/7. For more information, call the Program Supervisor, Ginny Snaider, at 571-748-2557.

Out & About

My staff and I have recently had the pleasure of interacting with constituents at a number of informative and resonant events. Last month, we discussed human services initiatives from the 2015 session with other legislators on a bipartisan panel at the excellent Richmond Roundup organized by the advocacy network Social Action Linking Together (SALT).

At the beginning of this month, we were honored to be invited to a commemoration of both the completion of the Gateway to Freedom Project and the 40th anniversary of the resettlement of Vietnamese refugees in the US. The Gateway to Freedom Project has raised nearly $88,000 to increase the collection of Vietnamese-language resources at Thomas Jefferson Library in Falls Church. This effort is just one of many ways in which Vietnamese-Americans have enriched communities such as ours, and on behalf of the 38th district, I extend heartfelt gratitude to them.

As May continued, we joined the George Mason University chapter of Represent.Us, plus my colleagues Del. Marcus Simon and Del. Ken Plum, to discuss efforts to reduce political corruption. I then had the chance to speak with constituents at the Cinco de Mayo celebration of the Fairfax Democrats' Diversity Committee on May 5 and a meeting of the Bel Air Civic Association on May 6. Thank you to both groups for the opportunity to be present and engage with your members.

Finally, I'd like to call attention to two upcoming events.

I've received correspondence from constituents on the subject of redistricting, so some of you may be interested in Why Redistricting Matters, a public forum on Thur., June 4 at George Mason University's Arlington campus.

Second, the World Police & Fire Games are coming to Fairfax in July. At the Games, police officers, firefighters, and customs and correction officers from around the world showcase their athletic excellence by participating in 65 sporting events. The Games are free and open to the public. For more information, see http://fairfax2015.com/.

 

As always, it is my honor to represent you.

 

Sincerely,

Kaye Kory
38th District

 

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