Archives

Archive for January, 2011

Delegate Bell’s HB 1885 Passes in the House of Delegates

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

RICHMOND, VA – Delegate Richard P. “Dickie” Bell (R-Staunton) announced today that House Bill 1885, a bill patroned by Delegate Bell, had passed in the House of Delegates Today, January 24, 2011.

House Bill 1885 cleans up the code by deleting references to educational programs that have not been funded, or do not exist. Additionally it updates language in other sections of the bill to conform to current practice.  This change will clarify the Code by eliminating and updating these obsolete sections to provide clarity to public school divisions.

“I am very happy to see that House Bill 1885 pass in the House of Delegates.” said Bell. “Many of the programs removed from the code are programs that were established in the 1980s and 1990s, and have long since been discontinued due to a lack of funding. This bill will simply update the code and allow public school divisions to better understand these sections.  I am hopeful that it will continue to gain support in the State Senate.”

The bill was heard first in the Education Committee, where it passed unanimously.  Today it passed the House with a unanimous vote. It will now continue to the State Senate.

Elected to the House of Delegates in 2009, Delegate Bell represents the 20th District, which includes Highland County, portions of Augusta and Rockingham Counties, and the City of Staunton.

Delegate Bell Speaks to Right to Work Amendment

Tuesday, January 25th, 2011

Bell Sounds from the 20th, Second Week of Session

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Bell Sounds from the 20th

Introduction

As the first full week of session is now complete, we have started to make some progress in tackling over 1,300 house bills and resolutions that have been introduced in the House for this 46 day “short” Session.

While it sounds like a large number of bills, we have fewer bills introduced this year thanks to an important rules change put in place by House Republicans. During short sessions, a delegate can introduce a maximum of 15 bills. In years past, there were some delegates who would introduce upwards of 40 bills. I believe this practical rule change has made a positive impact on the way we conduct business in the House of Delegates. It also allows us to give more thoughtful consideration to the bills and resolutions that are before us during the short time we are here.

Most bills are still being debated in committees, but there are a few important measures that passed the House of Delegates that I would like to bring your attention to in this week’s newsletter.

Focus on: House Republicans Vote to Strengthen Our Right-to-Work Law

On Wednesday, the House voted to pass one of my resolutions, House Joint Resolution 500. This resolution would add our right-to-work law to the Virginia Constitution.  For decades, Virginia has placed a premium on the freedom of workers to decide whether or not they want to join a union. Our laws ensure that employees can’t be forced to join a union as a condition of employment. Virginia has the distinction of being the northernmost right-to-work state east of the Mississippi River, giving us a major competitive advantage when it comes to recruiting new companies from northeastern states to the Old Dominion. Additionally, our current right-to-work law is one reason Virginia consistently ranks as one of the best states for business.

Although our economy here in Virginia is stronger than most other states, it’s not nearly as strong as it should be. Adding our right-to-work law to the Virginia Constitution would give us another advantage to help attract new businesses and jobs to the Commonwealth. It would also send a message to Virginia businesses that our right-to-work rules aren’t going to change on a dime and encourage them to grow and expand here in Virginia.

Unfortunately, most of our Democratic colleagues don’t agree. Nonetheless, the Republican caucus remained united and passed the resolution on to the Senate for their consideration.

Bills

In addition to the success of HJ 500, I celebrated a few other successes this week as well.  One of my other bills, House Bill 1428, passed out of the Health Welfare and Institutions Committee this week.  This bill would require abortion clinics to be licensed and regulated by the Board of Health.  It narrowly passed in the Health Welfare and Institutions subcommittee with a vote of 4-3, but went on to pass through subcommittee with a vote of 15-6.  This bill is an important bill to ensure the health and safety of women in the Commonwealth.  It will advance to the floor of the House early next week, and I am hopeful that it will continue to gain support.

I had one additional bill pass in committee and pass the House on its second reading. House Bill 1885 was brought to me by the Governor’s office, and deletes references to educational programs that have not been funded and do not exist and updates some other language to ensure that the code conforms to current practice.  This bill simply moves to help clean up the code and remove some obsolete language. This bill will continue on to third reading early next week, and then will be sent to the Senate for their approval.

Finally, just today my House Resolution 608 was adopted by the House.  This bill commemorates Veterans Day 2011 (which falls on 11/11/11) with a moment of silence at 11:00 am.  I believe that it is important to take time to remember the sacrifices that have been made by the men and women of the United States Armed Forces.  It will now be sent to the State Senate for their approval.

Visitors

This was another busy week in Richmond!  I was happy to have many visitors this week.  We started out the week by seeing a large group from the Shenandoah Valley Tea Party.  Unfortunately I got stuck in committee and couldn’t meet with them in my office, but did see a number of them in the Capitol after session.  That same day we had many members of the Virginia Citizens Defense League in Richmond as well advocating 2nd amendment rights.

We also had Jason Clarke, and some other employees at Dupont Community Credit Union and University of Virginia Credit Union stop by our office.  I was able to speak to Bo Wilson and Bruce Thompson from Dr. Pepper in Staunton, and my aide met with Jim Feaganes of Coca Cola.  The Virginia Society of CPAs had a lobby day this week and Tom Rosengarth of Bridgewater College stopped by my office.

Continuing through the week we had Michael May, Cathy Ballew, and several volunteers with the local Court Appointed Special Advocates program.  They stopped by and shared with us what their group is doing and how they are serving as advocates for many children in our area. We also met with some members of the Valley Community Services Board.

Yesterday many veterinarians were in Richmond and I was able to see two local vets, Dr. Don Henry and Dr. John Wise.  We also talked to some local podiatrists, and today we had some local dental hygienists as well as a local dentist, Dr. Katie Adams.

I am always happy to see local faces in Richmond.  If you will be in Richmond, I would encourage you to stop by my office. If you would like to set up an appointment, please email my legislative aide at savanna@bellfordelegate.com, or by phone at 804-698-1020.

Legislative Survey

I would like to invite you to participate in my legislative survey. You can do so by clicking here. This survey is an important way to show me what is important to you as I represent your interests in Richmond.

Contact Me

As always, my staff and I are here in Richmond to serve you. We want to hear what you think about the legislation pending before the House, or if there’s anything we can do to help you in dealing with a state government agency. My office can be reached at (804) 698-1020 or via the Internet at DelDBell@house.virginia.gov.  If you are planning to visit Richmond during Session, I encourage you to visit me in Room 517. Don’t forget to take a few minutes to fill out my 2011 Legislative Survey!

Thank you again for allowing me to serve as your Delegate.

Delegate Bell’s HJ 500, Right to Work Amendment Passes in the House

Friday, January 21st, 2011

Delegate Richard P. “Dickie” Bell (R-Staunton) announced today that House Joint Resolution 500, a resolution patroned by Delegate Bell, had passed in the House of Delegates Yesterday, January 18, 2010.
House Joint Resolution 500 is a resolution calling for an amendment to add Right to Work to the Virginia Constitution. This amendment would provide that individuals who choose not to join labor unions or labor organizations cannot be denied employment, and labor union or organization membership cannot be made a condition of employment or continuation of employment. This amendment would make Virginia’s Right to Work law permanent, by adding it to the Constitution of Virginia.
“I am very happy to see that House Joint Resolution 500 has gained a great deal of support and has passed in the House of Delegates.” said Bell. “I believe the Right to Work law is vital to the success of Virginia’s workforce and is an important factor in rankings that continue to list Virginia as one of the best states to do business. I am hopeful that it will continue to gain support among the public and in the Virginia State Senate.”

The bill was heard first in the Privileges and Elections committee, and was reported out of committee with a vote of 15-6. Yesterday it passed in the House with a vote of 61-36. It will now be sent to the Senate. In order to amend the Virginia constitution, the resolution must pass both houses of the Virginia General Assembly twice, and then go before the public for a vote.

Elected to the House of Delegates in 2009, Delegate Bell represents the 20th District, which includes Highland County, portions of Augusta and Rockingham Counties, and the City of Staunton.

Delegate Bell Memorializes Judge Thomas J. Wood

Monday, January 17th, 2011

Delegate Richard P. “Dickie” Bell issued the following statement today concerning the loss of the Honorable Judge Thomas H. Wood Sr. Judge Wood passed away Friday, January 14, 2011 in the University of Virginia Transitional Care Hospital, Charlottesville.

“I would like to express my deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the Honorable Judge Thomas H. Wood Sr. Judge Wood was a personal friend that I always had the utmost respect and admiration for. He had a long and diverse legal career serving the local community and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Before being appointed as a judge, he served commendably as an attorney for both private citizens and the Commonwealth. His 25 year career serving the 25th Circuit Court was marked by a respect for the rule of law and sound judicial decision making based on a breadth of knowledge and sense of fairness. He will be sadly missed by many in the local community and throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.”

Elected to the House of Delegates in 2009, Delegate Bell represents the 20th District, which includes Highland County, portions of Augusta and Rockingham Counties, and the City of Staunton.

Bell Says Extra Security Unnecessary

Wednesday, January 12th, 2011

Public speaking and interaction is part of their job, and Virginia Del. Dickie Bell says elected officials don’t often give a lot of thought to personal safety.

“I want the public who comes to our meetings, my constituents, to feel comfortable there,” says Bell. “I don’t want them to be intimidated by a show of security force.”

Read More: Bell Says Extra Security Unnecessary : WHSV

Local Legislators Expect Budget Focus

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Virginia legislators head into Wednesday’s start of the 2011 General Assembly session with a much smaller budget balancing act for the next fiscal year than last.

They’ll be dealing with a shortfall in the $200 million range.

But two factors make the session one that is unlikely to produce any major initiatives beyond the budget. The session is just 46 days and legislators must prep for a special spring session on state reapportionment.

Read More: Local Legislators Expect Budget Focus : The News Virginian

Joint Town Hall Drums Up Discussion

Monday, January 10th, 2011

STUARTS DRAFT — Pushing back against an overreaching federal government, achieving efficiency in state budgeting and improving education were the chief concerns voiced in a town hall meeting with three legislators Thursday.

Less than a week before the start of the 2011 legislative session, Delegates Dickie Bell, R-Staunton, Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave, and Ben Cline, R-Rockingham, spent much of the two-hour meeting in Stuarts Draft answering questions and addressing concerns.

Read More: Joint Town Hall Drums Up Discussion : The News Virginian

Delegates Say Creating Jobs, Cutting Spending Are Priorities

Monday, January 10th, 2011

STUARTS DRAFT — The area’s three legislators expect a tough General Assembly session this year, trying to make more cuts in state spending while fostering development and job growth, they told a town hall meeting Thursday night.

“Jobs are a key part of what we want to do to turn the economy around,” said Del. Richard P. “Dickie” Bell, R-Staunton.

Bell joined Delegates Steve Landes, R-Weyers Cave, and Ben Cline, R-Rockbridge, inside the auditorium of Guy Stump Elementary School for a town hall meeting attended by about 60 people

Read More: Delegates Say Creating Jobs, Cutting Spending Are Priorities : The News Leader

House Bill 1528

Monday, January 10th, 2011

Over the past couple of weeks, my office has received contacts from many of you who have expressed your concern over a bill that I filed, House Bill 1528.  I appreciate the feedback of all of you who have spoken up on this issue. This bill was originally a request by the local police departments to assist them in catching thieves and other criminals. Many of you, however, have written and called with concerns that this bill expands the already overreaching powers of the government.  Because of this, I have reconsidered this legislation. The opinions of the constituents I represent is something that I am always concerned about, and I strive to do the best I can to represent the people of the 20th District. Due to the volume of emails that I have received on this matter, I have made the decision to strike the legislation.

Thanks so much for your feedback on this important matter. If I can ever do anything to assist you, please do not hesitate to contact me.