Dear Friend,

Despite being a few days late, I wanted to make sure I had an opportunity to send my regular end of the month e-newsletter. Quite a bit happened during the month of June that I wanted to update you on. I hope that you continue to find these messages both helpful and informative.


Since the state adopted its budget on May 13th, there has been a fair amount of backlash aimed at changes to the Virginia Military Survivors & Dependents Education Program (VMSDEP). This program has been in existence in some form since the 1930s and generally provides funding for wounded veterans and their dependents–as well as the dependents of active duty personnel killed in action–to obtain an education at a public Virginia college or university.

Due to concerns about the long term financial viability of the program, the budget included language that significantly altered the eligibility criteria for VMSDEP. Unfortunately, the rushed language also negatively impacted a similar program that provided tuition for the children of first responders killed in the line of duty. The General Assembly should not have rushed changes to this program by adopting changes through the state budget rather than the normal legislative process complete with public input.

Despite our political differences, I commend Speaker Don Scott for his work in ensuring the House had the opportunity to tackle this issue in a fair manner. The House on June 28th unanimously adopted HB 6003 to repeal our recent changes to VMSDEP. Things haven’t been as straightforward in the Senate, however. Twice now the Senate has met in Richmond without adopting legislation to fix and restore VMSDEP. At their July 1 meeting, they had the opportunity to adopt HB 6003–a bill that the Governor could have signed into law the very same day–yet failed to even bring it up for a vote by making a last minute claim that it was unconstitutional. This bill is co-sponsored by a majority of legislators in both chambers, making it clear that it does in fact have the necessary votes for passage. I am incredibly disappointed that politics continues to win the day in the Senate.

I continue to work with colleagues on both sides of the aisle in order to find a workable solution that protects this vital program. I will keep you in the loop on any updates.

New Laws Effective July 1

Bills passed during the regular legislative session earlier this year and signed by the Governor will become law July 1st unless the bill includes language to the contrary. As such, a host of new laws are now effective.

The Division of Legislative Services (DLS), nonpartisan staff attorneys employed by the General Assembly, regularly produce a publication entitled “In Due Course” that covers a number of new laws impacting Virginians. This document is a wealth of information for those interested in the nitty gritty of new laws.

You can read the 2024 edition of “In Due Course” here.

Emission Standards

In case you missed it, I sent a special e-newsletter earlier this month detailing the decoupling of Virginia’s emissions standards from those of California. In short, the 2021 law that paired Virginia’s standards with California’s standards would have required that all new cars model year 2035 or later to be electric. That law specifically required our state to adhere to California’s “Advanced Clean Cars I” plan. Because the California Air Resources Board recently updated their plan to the “Advanced Clean Cars II” plan, Virginia will no longer adhere to California’s emission standards.

This represents a major win for Virginia consumers. As your Delegate, I regularly heard from constituents in Colonial Heights and Chesterfield who felt that California rules should not govern Virginia emission standards. I commend the Governor and the Attorney General for their hard work on this.

For a more thorough assessment of this matter, you can view my special update on this matter by clicking here.

2025 Session

Believe it or not, legislators are already working on preparing for the 2025 legislative session! I spend the summer months researching different policy initiatives and attending informative conferences to learn more about specific issues.

In June, I hosted an informal roundtable discussion with healthcare leaders, law enforcement, and government officials to discuss our broken ECO/TDO process. Currently, when an individual experiencing a mental health crisis is ordered by a judge to be temporarily committed, they are taken to a hospital by law enforcement. Due in part to a lack of beds for patients experiencing a mental health crisis, those officers end up sitting at a hospital and “guarding” a patient rather than spending time in their community. Our present system additionally tends to treat individuals experiencing a mental health crisis as criminals rather than as people in need of serious medical attention. It was a productive roundtable and I am confident that we will have a workable policy solution come January.

ECO TDO Roundtable

I am continuing to meet with constituents across our district with the aim of drafting bills that will have a positive impact on our community. I am particularly interested in legislation that fights human trafficking, supports law enforcement, and campaign finance reform.

In addition to legislation that I am working on, various boards and commissions are reviewing policy proposals with the aim of making recommendations to the full General Assembly. I serve on a number of boards and commissions and will fully participate in this process as we prepare for the next regular legislative session.

Fall Line Trail

Progress is being made on the Fall Line Trail, a 43.6 mile multi-use trail that will connect Ashland to Petersburg. Its route will pass through both Chesterfield and Colonial Heights and represents a significant new recreational venue for those who like to walk, run, and bike.

A number of constituents have reached out to me expressing their concern with the routing of the trail. I hear those voices and have encouraged VDOT to hold ample public meetings to ensure that questions are addressed and answered. I am pleased that VDOT is taking my request for enhanced public input seriously. They recently held a public meeting at VDOT area headquarters in South Chesterfield.

If you wish to submit public comments regarding the Fall Line Trail, click here. Alternatively, you can email

If you have any questions or concerns about the Fall Line Trail that you feel have not been addressed properly by VDOT, please let me know so that I can ensure you receive a clear answer.

Around the District

June was quite a warm month, but I really enjoyed being out and about in the district and elsewhere in our beautiful state.

On June 1st, the Tri City Chili Peppers made history as they hosted the world’s first cosmic baseball game in Colonial Heights! The team has garnered national recognition for this unique game play. Whether you’re a young or not so young fan of baseball, I hope you get the chance to catch one of these games.

Cosmic night 1

Every summer, several hundred young women from across the state–including from the 74th House district–travel to Longwood University to participate in Virginia Girls State. Hosted by the American Legion Auxiliary, this civic program teaches rising seniors about state and local government and the importance of engaging in one’s community. I was pleased to receive an invite to speak to these future leaders about my work in the House of Delegates. They had some excellent questions!

Girls State 1

The General Assembly is known as a “citizen legislature,” meaning that each of us have jobs outside of our official duties. My colleague Otto Wachsmann is a pharmacist. Today, he organized a visit for several Tri-City legislators to Hopewell Drug, an independently owned pharmacy, so that we could learn more about challenges facing small businesses and the pharmacies as a whole.

Hopewell drug

As I wrap up, I hope that you and your family have an enjoyable Independence Day. I look forward to celebrating the holiday with parades and fireworks!

It remains an honor to represent you in the House of Delegates. If I can assist you or your family with a state-related issue, please let me know.

Mike Cherry