Bell Sounds from the 20th - 2/3/12


As we continue to advance in the 2012 Session, my focus continues to be on job creation, education reform, and government efficiency.  This week, the House advanced a number of important measures that will support open competition on public contracts, improve our public schools, and remove an outdated infringement to our 2nd Amendment rights.

House Passes the Fair and Open Competition in Government Contracting Act

On Tuesday, the House passed HB 33, a bill that prohibits mandatory project labor agreements and guarantees full and open competition in bidding on public contracts. It is estimated that a mandated project labor agreement can raise the cost of a project by ten to twenty percent. Therefore, by prohibiting these mandatory agreements we will ensure that Virginia gets the most out of our taxpayer dollars on infrastructure projects.

This legislation also ensures all of Virginia's qualified contractors and their skilled workforces, regardless of labor affiliation, can compete on a level playing field for Virginia projects.

Similar legislation passed in the Virginia State Senate this week, indicating that this bill will likely pass in both bodies and be signed into law by Governor McDonnell.

“Opportunity to Learn” K-12 Education Reform Bills Pass House

This week the House passed two important K-12 public education reform bills that were a part of Governor McDonnell’s “Opportunity to Learn” agenda.

First, the House passed House Bill 1061, which will reduce the number of high school diplomas available from seven to three.  This legislation establishes an easy to understand system that will lead to better results for Virginia’s students. 

The second bill that passed the House, HB 1063, will allow a local school division to establish its own starting date for the school year.  It repeals the current requirement that school divisions must begin after Labor Day unless they have a waiver from the Board of Education. This measure will reduce mandates on our localities, and allow more flexibility to local school divisions.  Local school boards will be able to set their own calendars based on their community needs. Currently, 77 local school divisions already have a waiver, including the school systems in the 20th District.

I voted in favor of both of these measures.

Sunday Hunting

Thanks to all of you who answered our poll question about Sunday hunting.  I wanted to let you know that this bill has been tabled in subcommittee.  I no longer sit on the Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources committee and did not have the opportunity to vote on it this year.  However I do appreciate all of the feedback you have given me on this important issue.

It is important to note that a version of Sunday hunting legislation did pass in the Senate this week.  That version will come over to the House in the next few weeks to be considered once again.

My Legislation

This week House Bill 1215, a bill that I patroned that requires the Board of Education to establish standards for accreditation of virtual schools that enroll students full time, was reported out of the Education Committee with a vote of 21-1.  It was on second reading in the House of Delegates today, and I expect that the final vote of passage in the House will be on Monday.


This week we were once again pleased to have a number of visitors from home.  We were happy to see Roberta Palmer, Director of Admissions at Mary Baldwin College.  She was traveling with a group of students from MBC that were at the Capitol to thank the General Assembly for their annual TAG money. 

I was also happy to see representatives from Shenandoah Valley and Central Virginia Electric Cooperatives.  I also saw Paul Comes from Comcast, and several representatives from Invista, McKee Foods Corporation, and Segars Engineering.

This Week in the News

Bell’s Home Intruder Bill Advances – The News Leader

Compromise Seeks 3 Year Teacher Contracts – The Virginian Pilot

Virginia Senate Passes “Castle Doctrine” Bill – The News Leader

Equity in Education Transforms Public Schools – The Richmond Times Dispatch

Contact Us       

Our office is currently operating out of our Richmond Office for the entirety of the 2012 Session.  You can contact us here by phone at 804-698-1020, or by email at

        If you’re in the Richmond area we’d love to see you.  We make constituent visits a priority and do our best to meet with as many as possible. In order to help us accommodate you we encourage you to call and make an appointment.  

        We hope to hear from you while we are here.  If you have any questions or concerns, or would like to voice your opinion on key pieces of legislation that may impact the District or the Commonwealth, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Thanks again for allowing me to serve as your Delegate
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commented 2013-12-28 02:20:59 -0500 · Flag
Thank you
published this page in Newsletter 2012-02-03 17:59:05 -0500