Bell Sounds from the 20th
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving and that you are enjoying the beginnings of the Christmas season! While we’re busy getting ready for Christmas, we are also busy getting ready for the 2013 General Assembly Session, which convenes January 9, 2013. I want to take a few moments and provide a few updates, as well as ask for some feedback from you about the upcoming session.
Dutch Treat Town Hall Breakfast Meetings
As the Session approaches, I will be looking for feedback from you on important issues that are expected to come up over the Session. Therefore, I will be hosting 2 dutch-treat town hall breakfast meetings here in the district before we head off to Richmond.
The first will be held at 8:30 am on Saturday, December 29 at Mrs. Rowe’s Restaurant in Staunton (74 Rowe Road).
The second will be held at 8:30 on Saturday, January 5 at the Golden Corral in Waynesboro (51 Apple Tree Lane).
In order to attend the breakfast, you must RSVP by email Savanna at email@example.com by December 22. An RSVP is very important, so we can be sure that the restaurants are set up for the correct number of people.
As I mentioned before, your feedback is extremely important to me, and enables me to better represent you in the General Assembly. I have compiled a list of questions regarding issues that will likely come up during Session. I would greatly appreciate it if you would take the time to look over the questions and respond to me via email. You can email your responses to DelDBell@gmail.com.
1) Do you support lifting the moratorium on Uranium Mining?
2) Do you support drug testing for recipients of welfare programs, such as TANF?
3) Do you support increasing the gas tax in order to fund transportation?
4) Do you support the use of tolls in order to fund transportation?
5) Do you favor using general fund dollars to fund transportation as a core service of government?
6) Do you support changing the teacher contract system from the continuing contract system which is currently in place to a term contract?
7) Do you support an audit on public higher education in Virginia?
8) Do you support legislation to allow students who are home schooled to participate in public school sports?
9) Do you support expanding Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act? This would expand Medicaid access to all residents who fall under 133% of the poverty line.
10) Do you support the privatization of the Virginia International Terminal in Hampton Roads, Virginia?
2013 Virginia Legislative Issues Brief
Each year the Virginia Division of Legislative Services compiles a thorough brief of the issues that are expected to arise during Session. You can find the 2013 Virginia Legislative Issues Brief online at http://dls.virginia.gov/pubs/briefs/Brief56.pdf.
I encourage you to look over this, and don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions or concerns.
State Employee Bonus
Today, state employees received a 3 percent bonus as a result of the increased revenues and agency savings, which brought us to a third consecutive budget surplus.
The surplus was driven by $187 million in savings from state agencies, $132.3 million in unspent higher education and other non-general fund sources and $129.2 million in increased revenue from tax collection that exceeded budget forecasts.
I commend the Governor for seeing that state employees, who have not seen a pay increase in a number of years, benefit from the FY2012 surplus. I am glad that it comes just in time for the Holiday season.
As you are likely aware, I will be up for re-election again in 2013. We are required by law to suspend our fundraising efforts while we are in session, but our campaign for re-election will begin immediately after session adjourns. We need to be ready to hit the ground running immediately, and we need your help to be able to do so. We would greatly appreciate your donation of any amount. We may accept donations until 11:59 pm on Tuesday, January 8.
You can donate online at www.bellfordelegate.com, or you can mail a donation to Dickie Bell for Delegate, Post Office Box 239, Staunton, VA 24402.
The previously listed issues are certainly not the only issues that will come up over the next few weeks as we lead up to Session. While we are still in the district you can reach me by email at DelDBell@house.virginia.gov, or by phone at 540-448-3999. I look forward to hearing from you!
Thank you for allowing me to serve as your delegate.