Bell Sounds from the 20th - 2019 Session - Week 2

The 2019 General Assembly session is in full swing and legislation is working its way through the process.   This is our short session, and short sessions tend to ramp up quickly. There are lots of things going on, and I would like to give you a brief update on some of the highlights.

Supporting Your Second Amendment Rights

I’ve already received calls and emails from many of you who have written and called my office asking me to oppose gun legislation introduced at the request of Governor Northam.  This package, which Governor Northam unveiled shortly before the Session kicked off, included legislation to reinstate the "one gun per month" law, legislation to make it illegal to carry certain guns in some public places, and legislation that bans “assault firearms” and changes the definition of assault firearm to include any firearm that is equipped with a magazine that holds more than 10 rounds.

I am pleased to inform you that yesterday Republicans voted to defeat these far-left gun-control bills.  These bills would have infringed upon the rights of law abiding citizens but would not have prevented gun violence.

I recognize that gun violence is a very serious problem, and I am committed to common sense laws that protect people.  This does not, however, have to come at the expense of our constitutional rights. Just two years ago, we brokered a bipartisan agreement to expand background checks at gun shows and make it harder for domestic abusers to gain access to firearms.  I continue to support these and other responsible steps.  I cannot support, however, overly-broad efforts to take away the constitutional rights of law-abiding individuals.  This is simply not the right approach.

Plan to Improve Interstate 81

Another hot topic throughout this year and into the legislative Session has been improvements to Interstate 81.  I have heard from many constituents over the last several years who have asked about a plan to improve Interstate 81 and make it safe.

Governor Ralph Northam last week announced a bipartisan proposal for dedicated funding to improve I-81. 

This plan is patroned by Delegates Steve Landes and Terry Austin in the House of Delegates and Senators Mark Obenshain and Bill Carrico in the State Senate.

The plan is the result of a year-long study completed by the Commonwealth Transportation Board at the direction of the General Assembly and will fund $2.2 billion in critical improvements along the corridor.  

We are still early in the Session and these plans are still being tweaked and details are being hammered out. I understand that there are many of you who are concerned about the idea of adding tolls to Interstate 81 and I certainly understand those concerns.  I believe what is currently important is that a serious dialogue about 81 is finally happening. I think we have an excellent opportunity here to address the longstanding issues with I-81 and I hope that we will be able to reach an agreement and finally have a bipartisan and commonsense solution to making 81 safe for travelers and commuters.

More information about the improvement plan can be found online at http://www.va81corridor.org/.

Republicans Help Elect Female Judge to the SCC

On Wednesday, Judge Patricia West was confirmed by the House and Senate as the newest judge on the State Corporation Commission.  Judge West is a highly qualified judge with the resume necessary to serve in this role.

The State Corporation Commission regulates and oversees some of Virginia’s largest industries, including electric utilities, financial institutions, and insurance companies. The SCC also manages all corporate filings - including the paperwork needed to start a business in Virginia.

The SCC is a constitutional entity whose judges are elected by the General Assembly. Like with all judges, we seek to elect people who will uphold the law as it is written.  Judge West has served as a judge in the Virginia Beach Circuit Court, chief deputy attorney general of Virginia, and Chair of the Virginia Ethics Council and is highly qualified for this job.  Her election also means women will now hold the majority on this important court.

I was proud to support this highly qualified candidate to serve in this important role.

Contact Us!

I love hearing from constituents on issues that matter most to you! We are operating out of our Richmond Office for the duration of the 2019 Session.  

The quickest and most direct way to reach us by phone is by calling our Richmond office at 804-698-1020. You can still reach us by email at DelDBell@house.virginia.gov.

If you’re in the Richmond area during Session and would like to stop by for a visit, please do so. Our committee schedule is very demanding, but I make every attempt to see constituents who come visit in Richmond.  We do not require appointments, but they are encouraged.

As always, thank you for allowing me to serve as your delegate!

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