The end of June is here and summer is in full swing. In just a few days time, we will once again have the opportunity to celebrate our nation’s independence. I am often reminded at this time of the men and women I served with the Air Force who made the ultimate sacrifice in defending our nation and the values we hold dear.
Between attending different events and finishing up work on the state budget, June has been a busy month. I’d like to provide a bit of a recap of the month and share a bit of information about some new laws getting ready to take effect.
State Budget Recap
The General Assembly wrapped up our work on the state budget, albeit a few months behind schedule. The new budget, which has since been signed into law by Governor Youngkin, makes key investments in core government services while cutting taxes by $4 billion.
I am particularly glad that we were able to include $4 billion in tax cuts. While not the original $6 billion that I had hoped for, it will make an impact on Virginia families.
As part of the package of tax cuts, you will find:
- Elimination of the state portion of the grocery tax
- Increasing by 60 percent the standard deduction for both individual and married filers
- Direct rebate checks totalling $250/individual and $500/couple
New Laws Coming July 1
The Constitution of Virginia directs that all bills passed by the General Assembly become law on July 1st unless otherwise prescribed in the bill. With the difference in political makeup between the House and Senate, many major bills did not pass. However, there are a number of key bills that are worth noting.
- House Bill 4 restores a requirement that school principals report serious misdemeanors such as sexual battery to law enforcement. Under a law passed by Democrats in 2020, administrators had discretion over whether or not these crimes would be reported to police.
- Senate Bill 656 requires the Department of Education to create guidelines for notifying parents when students will be taught from explicit materials, and provides an opt-out with different materials for parents who object. If the school will be teaching from a book that has explicit material, they have to inform parents and give them a chance to opt out.
- House Bill 927 requires that absentee ballots be reported as part of the precinct where they otherwise would have been cast. The net effect of this will be the end of late night ‘vote dumps’ that seemingly shift election outcomes, undercutting faith in our election system.
- House Bill 1303 corrects a major oversight in our criminal justice system and brings the votes of our Parole Board into the sunlight. Until now, when the Board voted to release one of the few inmates who are still eligible for parole, they could do so in secret. Big decisions like this need to be made with public scrutiny.
- House Bill 750 bans police departments from issuing “ticket quotas” that require police officers to issue a certain number of traffic tickets in a fixed period of time. Tickets should be given when someone breaks the law, with no other motivation other than safety behind it.
You may also be interested in reading this year’s edition of “In Due Course,” a publication put together by the nonpartisan staff attorneys in the Division of Legislative Services. Their primary task is to assist legislators in drafting legislation. You can read this year’s publication by clicking here.
Around the District
I’ve enjoyed getting the chance to attend different events throughout Colonial Heights and Chesterfield. In fact, some of my favorite events to attend are ribbon cuttings for new businesses because they represent the hopes and dreams of everyday Virginians. This month I had the chance to join NaTasha as she opened her new children’s salon Wiggidy Wacky in Colonial Heights.
I was in attendance last week when a new historical marker was unveiled at Pocahontas State Park in Chesterfield. The new marker commemorates Group Camp 7, a segregated portion of the park used from the 1930s until the 1970s. This addition will allow Pocahontas State Park to share a more thorough version of its history.
In the News
Here’s a few additional news articles that you may find of interest:
- Youngkin’s 3-month gas tax holiday fails in Virginia Senate
- Chesterfield to house Lego’s only manufacturing facility in the U.S.
It remains an honor to represent our community in the House of Delegates. If I can ever assist you or your family with a state related issue, please let me know. You can reach me by email at DelMCherry@house.virginia.gov or by calling my office line at (804) 946-1221.