I hope you are enjoying your summer and looking forward to the long holiday weekend! I wanted to take just a few minutes to give you a couple of updates on the happenings in the 20th House District as well as the Commonwealth of Virginia!
America’s Birthday Celebration!
If you haven’t already made plans for Independence Day, I would encourage you to come by Gypsy Hill Park tomorrow for America’s Birthday Celebration! I will be out there tomorrow with a number of other candidates and many of our supporters. We will be kicking off the day at 10:00 am with the parade, which goes through Gypsy Hill Park.
In addition to the parade, there will be games, crafts, exhibits, food, and other entertainment. It’s a great way to celebrate the holiday and spend time with your friends and family. They will conclude the celebration with fireworks at approximately 10:00 pm. For more information and a schedule of events, please visit www.americasbirthdaycelebration.com.
This Friday, July 5, we are sponsoring the Waynesboro Generals Game versus Strasburg. I will be throwing out the first pitch, and will be at the game with information about my re-election campaign. The game starts at 7:00. I hope to see a number of you out there on Friday!
New Laws in the Commonwealth
As you are likely aware, on Monday July 1 a number of new laws that were passed during the 2013 General Assembly Session went into effect that may affect your day to day activities.
Each year, the Virginia Division of Legislative Services publishes a list of this legislation. This list is in no way intended to be comprehensive, and there may be laws that have gone into effect that are not included in this publication. If you have questions regarding these or any other new laws, please do not hesitate to contact our office, and we will do our best to assist you in any way that we can. You can find this publication online here.
Here are a few events coming up that may be of interest to you.
The annual Stuarts Draft Lawn Party will be taking place this year from July 10-July 13. This includes a parade, which will take place on Friday night at 6:30 pm. For more information on the schedule of activities for the Stuarts Draft Lawn Party, visit them online at http://sdvfc.homestead.com/lawnparty.html.
The 34th annual Waynesboro Extravaganza will be held on Saturday, July 13.
This is always a great event, and I hope that I will see many of you out there. For more information and the schedule of events, please visit http://www.waynesboro.va.us/pr-summerextravaganza.php.
The Churchville Volunteer Fire Department will be hosting their annual Fireman’s carnival from July 31 – August 3. This includes a parade, which will line up at 3:00 pm on August 3. For more information, please visit http://www.churchvillefirerescue.com/
Legislative Savings in the Commonwealth
Just a few days ago, Speaker Bill Howell announced over $1.8 million in savings in the Virginia legislative branch that were to be returned to the general fund at the end of the fiscal year on June 30.
This included $1.6 million in savings by various legislative branch agencies. That includes $900,000 from the Auditor of Public Accounts, over $100,000 from the Division of Legislative Services and over $250,000 from the Capitol Police. This also includes over $200,000 dollars in unused House of Delegates salaries and expenses.
These savings represent the continued commitment by House Republicans to lower the costs of government to the taxpayers. The taxpayers of Virginia have to live within their means, and they have a reasonable expectation that their government will do the same. I’m pleased that it that we are continuing to take steps in the right direction.
I would like to pass along some information that has been shared with me that concerns Virginia’s Veterans.
Electronic Return of Military Personnel's Ballots
Senate Bill 830 authorizing military personnel stationed overseas to return election ballots by electronic means was the number one JLC priority for the 2013 Session of the General Assembly.
Due to the number of issues raised during committee hearings (security of the ballot, prevention of fraud, and State Board of elections detailed procedures), the House Committee on Privileges and Elections referred the Bill to the Joint Commission on Technology and Science for additional study and recommendations.
Even though the General Assembly is not in session, the Joint Commission continues to work the issues. During a meeting on June 5, Senator Puller clearly stated that the intent of her bill was the electronic return of the serviceman's ballot and not internet voting. The Commission's staff will enter into discussions with the State Board of Elections to resolve security issues, control of the ballots, and use of the official DoD .mil email system to return the ballots.
The staff will report back to the full Commission at the next meeting on July 15. The Commission will then make a final decision on whether or not to support the bill and/or to make changes to the wording of the bill to address the issues that have been raised during General Assembly Committee hearings. The objective of this effort is to ensure military members can cast votes in a timely manner and be tabulated on Election Day.
We need your help to continue working to decrease the size of government and fight for our shared values. You can donate online at bellfordelegate.com, or you can send your donation to Post Office Box 239, Staunton, Virginia 24402.
Thank you for your continued support.
We love always love to hear from our constituents. If you have a state issue that you are concerned about, or a state agency that you need our help with, please do not hesitate to contact us. You can reach us by phone at 540-448-3999 or by email at DelDBell@house.virginia.gov.
You can also stay updated by checking out our website at www.bellfordelegate.com, or by following us on facebook and twitter.
As always, thank you for allowing me to represent you in Richmond.
Please have a safe and happy Independence Day weekend.
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