I will be holding a pre-session Town Hall meeting on Thursday, December 2 at 6:00 pm. This meeting will be held in the Smith West room of the Augusta County Government Center. I hope that you will come out with questions, comments, and concerns. I will use your feedback to help ensure that I am properly representing the citizens of the 20th House District when we head to back to Richmond this January.
Please stay tuned for further information about a possible Town Hall meeting for those of you who live in Rockingham County. We are still working out the details, but hope to be sending out more information on this in the very near future.
I will also be joining Delegates Landes and Cline in Stuarts Draft for a joint Town Hall on January 6 at 7:00 pm. If you can’t make it to the other two, or if you would like multiple delegates’ perspectives on the upcoming session I hope you will come out. I will have more details on this in the future, so be on the lookout for upcoming emails.
Southern Regional Education Board Conference
From Sunday, November 14 – Tuesday, November 16, I had the honor and privilege to be one of the legislators to represent the Commonwealth of Virginia at the Southern Regional Education Board Conference in Annapolis, Maryland.
While it was comforting to know that all 16 states represented deal with primarily the same issues on public education, it was interesting and informative to see how others are handling these issues. Of course budgets are always part of the dialogue. Many of the possible solutions seem to be common sense solutions, but putting them in place will take courage and will no doubt meet some resistance from those who favor maintaining the status quo. Reforms in education are needed. We must approach the problems with a certain boldness, and we must be about "raising the bar."
I am grateful that I had the opportunity to attend this conference, and I am very confident that the exchange of ideas will be of great assistance to me as I go into the 2011 Legislative Session.
Washington Business Journal
Legislation I am carrying to reduce the corporate income tax for certain small businesses was recently featured in a Washington Business Journal article. I hope you will take time to view the article here.
2011 Legislative Package
As we are getting closer and closer to the 2011 Legislative Session, I would like to take some time to update you on the bills that I plan to carry this year. Because this is a short session (45 days), we are limited to 15 bills. I hope that you will follow these bills on our legislative information system after session begins. You can view the legislative information system here.
HB 1435– This bill will require that American Sign Language (ASL) be recognized as a foreign language for all levels of private and public education.
HB 1410– This will allow a reduction in the corporate income tax for certain small businesses that increase their number of employees by 5% or more. This bill quite simply adds a tax incentive for small businesses to create jobs.
HB 1408– This is a bill that I submitted last year that moves to establish a special license plate in the Commonwealth of Virginia bearing our national motto, “In God We Trust.” Please see below for information on how you can help with the passage of this bill.
HB 1409 – This bill provides that whenever an individual is requested to provide prayer at public events sanctioned by a governmental agency, that agency will not be able to regulate how that individual refers to God in prayer, or to prohibit the religious content of the individual's prayer, provided that prayer is not used to advance or disparage another faith.
HB 1428 – This is a bill that Delegate Matt Lohr carried last year. It would require all abortion clinics to be licensed and regulated by the Board of Health. In other words, it requires abortion clinics to have the same regulations as any other health clinic.
HJ 500 – This resolution is the first resolution calling for a Constitutional amendment to add the Right to Work law to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
I have a few more bills pre-filed that do not have bill numbers, but I will certainly keep you updated as those become available. One of these is a bill that will create penalties for possession, sale, and distribution of synthetic marijuana. These penalties are largely in accordance with the provisions for actual marijuana.
As many of you know, in 2011 the General Assembly will face redistricting based on the data taken during the 2010 census. This is to insure that all citizens of the Commonwealth have fair and equal representation in the General Assembly and Congress. We have been told that all districts will change, some more than others. If you are interested in seeing population shifts, or more information about redistricting, I encourage you to go to VPAP’s redistricting site.
In the last month, we have made numerous improvements to our website. We will be increasing the use of our website and hope it will be a great source of information as we get closer to Session. You can visit the site at www.bellfordelegate.com. I would encourage you to check it frequently, as we will be updating it often.
My district office will be closing at noon on Wednesday, November 24 for Thanksgiving, and will re-open at 9:00 am on Monday, November 29.
Our office will also be closing at 5:00 pm on December 23 for Christmas, and will re-open at 9:00 am on Monday, January 3. If you need immediate assistance during that time feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“In God We Trust” License Plate
As I mentioned above, I will be carrying a bill in the 2011 General Assembly session to create a specialized license plate with our national motto, "In God We Trust." In order for this bill to pass through the Transportation Committee, the Department of Motor Vehicles must have 350 pre-paid applications on file. We can’t get this passed without your help. If you are interested in purchasing an "In God We Trust" license plate, you can download an application at www.ingodwetrustvaplate.com. In the event that we do not get enough applications and the bill does not pass, this money will be returned to you from the Hubble Group. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at email@example.com
I am holding weekly office hours in my district office on the 2nd floor of City Hall in Staunton. I am in the office from 1:00 pm – 4:00 pm each Thursday. We will not be holding office hours in Highland County in December.
Last month I asked you what your predictions were for the balance of power in the House of Representatives and Senate after the elections. Many of you were exactly right and predicted that the Republicans would take the majority in the House, but fall short in the Senate.
I need your help to continue to get my message of small government out there. The Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia prohibits members of the General Assembly from raising money during the Legislative Session. If you are able to help me with a donation of any amount, please click hereto make a secure donation online prior to January 12, 2011. You can also mail a check made out to Bell for Delegate to P.O. Box 239, Staunton, VA 24402. Thank you in advance for your help.
The 2011 General Assembly Session will once again be facing a budget shortfall. We will need to make $150 million dollars in cuts. If you could make this decision, where would you make these cuts? You can email your answers to DelDBell@gmail.com.