Bell Sounds from the 20th - June 26, 2019

I hope you’re enjoying the first days of Summer and all the great activities that Summer in the Valley has to offer.

I would like to give you a brief legislative update and an update about upcoming events here in the Valley, but first I want to offer my sincere congratulations to our local Republican nominees, John Avoli who will be the Republican nominee for the 20th House District and Senator Emmett Hanger, Republican nominee for the 24th Senate District.  This is a huge Election year with majorities in the House and Senate in play and we must not take these local elections for granted.  I am proud to offer them my full support to John and Emmett and encourage you to do the same. On to November!

New Laws

As you know, the 2019 Regular General Assembly adjourned in February. Throughout the 46 day session, we considered thousands of bills. Most of the bills that ultimately passed and were signed by the Governor go into effect today, July 1.

Each year, the Department of Legislative Services compiles a list of legislation that may affect the average citizen.  While this is by no means a comprehensive list, I encourage you to take a look at it, and share it with your friends.

This publication, titled In Due Course, can be found online at http://dls.virginia.gov/pubs/IDC/IDC19.pdf.

Upcoming Tax Rebate Information

During the 2019 General Assembly Session, the Republican-led General Assembly was able to set aside nearly $450 million for a Taxpayer Relief Fund to give money back to hard-working families this October.

In order to qualify, returns must be filed before July 1st, and the taxpayer can’t owe any back taxes to their local government, Virginia, the IRS, or any other state agency. For those who do, the money will go to settle those debts.

If you’ve already filed your taxes, you’re eligible for a refund of up to $110 for those filing individually and $220 for those filing as a couple.

Rebates won’t exceed a taxpayer's total tax liability. For example, if your Virginia income tax liability was only $50, your check would likely be $50 instead of the full $110 or $220.

If you’ve already filed your state tax return you are qualified! If you haven’t, hurry! The filing deadline is in less than one week.

Here are some other tips to ensure your return is processed smoothly:

Go to the Department of Taxation website for more information.

Upcoming Special Session

You may have heard that Governor Ralph Northam has called a Special Session of the General Assembly after the tragic shooting in Virginia Beach that killed 12 and wounded four others.  The date for that Special Session has been set for July 9.

The Governor is asking the General Assembly to again consider gun control legislation that was already voted on in the last session. Rather than having thoughtful and deliberative discussions and waiting on the conclusion of the investigation like Tim Kaine did following the tragedy at Virginia Tech, the Governor hastily called for a Special Session to push an agenda that will do nothing but stir up political controversy. 

Anytime tragedy touches Virginia, it is certainly appropriate for elected and community leaders to reflect on what we can do to keep our communities safe and fix real problems, and while I am always willing to listen and thoughtfully consider all policy proposals, police in Virginia Beach have already said no gun control measure would have prevented this tragedy. The guns were purchased legally, with valid background checks by a man with no criminal record, two years apart. He passed a deep ATF background check as well.

In addition, Virginia Beach already had rules and ordinances in place prohibiting the carrying of firearms in the workplace, a prohibition on high capacity magazines, as well as a prohibition on firearm "suppressors." Of course none of this impacted or mattered to the shooter - only the law abiding citizens who paid the ultimate price.

The Governor’s call to Special Session with his intent to only focus on a hot-button issue is suspect when considered against his scandals of the last few months. He wants to infringe upon the Constitutional rights of law abiding citizens, but Republican House members will nonetheless use this opportunity to meaningfully address gun violence by putting forward a package of legislation to hold criminals accountable for their actions.

We're looking at long sentences for those who commit crimes with guns, and legislation that makes sure that the people who commit the worst crimes actually stay in jail, and don't get released early. We're also looking at bringing back common-sense bills that the Governor vetoed, including mandatory minimum sentences for repeat domestic abusers. Mandatory minimum sentences help keep victims safe and let them get their lives back knowing their abuser is not on the streets. 

I will keep you updated on the Special Session and the legislation that we will consider.

America’s Birthday Celebration

For those of you who may still be trying to make plans for July 4, I encourage you come out to the America’s Birthday Celebration at Gypsy Hill Park. 

It will be going on July 3-4 and is a wonderful event for the whole family.   There are vendors, great food, and live entertainment.  There is also a parade going through the park at 10:00 am on Thursday morning.

I am honored to once again sit on the Board of Directors for this event this year and I can assure you it is an event that you will not want to miss. We have an excellent line up of talented performers that will once again conclude with a headline performance by Wilson Fairchild.

For more information on this event, go to https://www.happybirthdayamerica.org/.

Upcoming Events

In addition to the America’s Birthday Celebration, there are several other community events coming up this summer that are fun for the whole family.  The dates for those are provided below.

  • June 26-June 29 - Churchville Fireman’s Carnival
  • July 12-June 13 - Waynesboro Summer Extravaganza
  • July 10-July 13 - Stuarts Draft Lawn Party
  • July 30 – August 3 - Augusta County Fair
  • Augusta 24, August 28 – August 31 - Highland County Fair

Contact Us

I love hearing from constituents on issues that matter the most to you. 

If you have an issue with a state agency or a legislative inquiry, you can reach us by phone at 540-448-3999 or by email at DelDBell@house.virginia.gov

If you would prefer to send us written correspondence, you can to do so at Post Office Box 239, Staunton, Virginia 24402.

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

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