On Wednesday, we officially kicked off the 2015 session of the General Assembly.
This year is a shorter, 45-day legislative session. Despite the shorter session, my House colleagues and I have put forth an ambitious agenda that will help the Commonwealth continue to grow and prosper.
Some of our top priorities for this year include:
Legislation requiring General Assembly approval on new regulations and rules that have an adverse impact on economic growth, private sector job creation or employment,
- Making college more affordable by capping student athletic fees, giving smaller and mid-sized colleges and universities additional flexibility to improve operating efficiencies, and incentivizing colleges to create affordable “flat-fee degree” programs,
- Building two new needed veteran’s care centers, and,
- Making additional reforms to Virginia’s ethics, transparency and disclosure laws.
House Republicans have put forth a strong K-12 “Classroom Success” Education agenda to help ensure that every Virginian has access to a quality education. We hope that by advancing this agenda we will allow teachers to spend more time on classroom instruction and less time on mandatory reporting. Additionally we will provide teachers with additional support, and continue to reform student assessments.
I am pleased to have two of my own bills as part of the House Education agenda. House Bills 324 and 1361 would establish a statewide public virtual school that will give parents the option of enrolling their children in full time virtual classes. There are many students in Virginia who thrive in the traditional classroom, but unfortunately there are some who do not. This bill gives parents an additional option to ensure that their child gets the best public education possible.
As some of you may remember, I patroned House Bill 324 in the 2014 General Assembly Session. It was carried over to the 2015 Session by the Senate Committee on Education and Health. They met in December and referred the bill to Finance. I hope that each of these bills will continue to gain support in the upcoming session, and I look forward to continuing the dialogue.
If you are interested in looking at the other bills I have put in for this session, you can see them all online here.
Take My 2015 Legislative Survey!
I need to hear from you, so that I know how I can best represent you in Richmond. Each year I conduct a legislative survey featuring a few important public policy issues which may be considered by the General Assembly. Your opinion is very important to me, so please take a few moments to let me know where you stand on these issues.
Feel free to share this survey with your friends and family who live in the 20th District!
You can take the survey online here.
I am pleased to report that Speaker Bill Howell has appointed me to the Committee on General Laws. This is a new committee for me, and I am looking forward to serving in this new capacity in the House. I also look forward to the new challenges that come with it. I would like to thank Speaker Howell for allowing me this new opportunity to represent the citizens of the 20th House District.
I will now be serving on the Committee on General Laws, the Committee on Education, and the Committee on Health, Welfare, and Institutions.
Even though this is a short week, we still had a few visitors stop by. Greg Godsey of Union First Market Bank and a group from First Bank dropped by for Virginia Banker’s Day here at the Capitol. We also had visits from physical therapists Lisa Shoaf and Jessica Dobbs who came by with students from Lynchburg College and the Murphy Deming College of Health Sciences, and Andrew Wiley and his wife who were here representing the Virginia Independent Auto Dealers Association.
Visit Us in Richmond
While we are operating out of Richmond, we are always delighted to see friendly faces from home. If you plan to be in Richmond over the next few weeks, we would love for you to drop by.
Even with the tight committee schedule, we do our best to see as many constituents in as possible. Though appointments are not required, they are strongly encouraged.
To make an appointment, call Savanna at 804-698-1020.
Session Contact Information
While we are in Session our contact information will be a little different than it is while we are in the District.
Although we will still monitor voicemail on the phone in our district office, the quickest way to reach us by phone is 804-698-1020.
You can continue to reach us by email at DelDBell@house.virginia.gov.
If you would prefer to send us written correspondence, you can do so at Post Office Box 406, Richmond, Virginia 23218.
While we do our best to respond to every email and voicemail as quickly as possible, during Session we get sometimes hundreds of calls and emails each day. Therefore, it can often take some time to filter through everything. We appreciate your patience and understanding, and assure you that we will work to get back to you as promptly as possible.
As always, I thank you for allowing me to serve as your Delegate.
Delegate Richard Bell http://www.bellfordelegate.com/