Bell Sounds from the 20th - 2019 Session - Week 6

The General Assembly is entering the final week of the 2019 Session.  There’s still a lot of work ahead of us in this final week of the session, so it is sure to be a busy one.

The end of this Session is bittersweet for me this year, as this will be my final session as your representative.  It has been an honor and privilege to serve as your delegate over the last 10 sessions and I am grateful that I had the opportunity to meet so many of you along the way! My term runs through December though, so I look forward to seeing you back home in the 20thDistrict.

House and Senate Overwhelmingly Approve $1 Billion Tax Relief Package!

Good News! The House and Senate have overwhelmingly passed the tax relief package I talked about in last week’s newsletter. This package not only protects Virginians from a tax increase, but also allows for a tax rebate that we will receive in October.  This rebate is in addition to any tax refund you might receive. 

I’m proud that the General Assembly was able to set aside their difference and compromise on this meaningful tax legislation.  In total, this legislation will guarantee at least $976 million in tax relief and ensure that all additional revenues from the permanent provisions of federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act are placed in the state’s cash reserve fund.  The legislation also conforms Virginia tax law to the federal law, ensuring Virginians will be able to file their state taxes without complications.

The House and Senate were also able to add back in an emergency clause that allowed the bill to go into effect when the Governor signed it yesterday. 

For more information on how this tax plan will affect you click here.

The Budget

The most important piece of legislation that is still outstanding this year is the amendments to our biennial budget.  Each house has passed a budget that works in tandem with the tax relief plan, and those bills are now in a conference committee to hammer out the differences. 

Highlights of the House budget bill include investments in K-12 education, providing $155 million in increased funding. This includes funding for a five percent teacher pay raise and returns 45 percent of lottery money back to local schools with no strings attached. It also prioritizes school safety and includes $12 million in school safety initiatives for safety equipment, school resource officers, and other innovative school safety solutions.

The conference committee will negotiate the final terms of the budget over the next few days and I hope that they will put forth a final budget that is conservative, fiscally sound, and limits the size and scope of the government.

Supreme Court and Court of Appeals Appointments

On Thursday, the General Assembly elected Virginia Court of Appeals Judge Teresa M. Chafin to the Supreme Court of Virginia.  Justice Chafin was an outstanding and highly qualified candidate for this position and the Commonwealth will certainly benefit from her service.

Her appointment continues the General Assembly’s long track record of elevating women to judgeships across the Commonwealth.  Republicans have controlled at least one chamber of the General Assembly since 2001 and during that time over 100 women have been elected to judgeships across the Commonwealth, including four women who have been elected to full terms on the Supreme Court of Virginia.

The General Assembly elected Judge Clay Athey, a Shenandoah Valley native, to fill Justice Chafin's position on the Court of Appeals.  

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 way to reach us by phone is by calling the Richmond office directly at 804-698-1020.  We do not monitor the voicemail on our district office phone during the legislative session.  We will still receive 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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