Bell Sounds from the 20th - Campaign Finance Deadline Tonight!

Though it is hard to believe, the summer is winding down and we are in high gear for our 2015 re-election campaign.  I have spent countless hours this summer traveling across the 20th district to many festivals, lawn parties, fairs, and other events and I have had the opportunity to see many of you on the campaign trail.   I am honored to have so many wonderful friends and supporters throughout the district and your enthusiastic support will ensure that I am able to continue to serve you in Richmond.

 Tonight marks an important campaign finance deadline, so I must once again ask for your help! A donation in any amount will help us continue to get our message out to the voters of the 20th District.  You can donate securely online at www.bellfordelegate.com/donate or you can send a check to Bell for Delegate, Post Office Box 239, Staunton, VA 24402.

If you would like to help our campaign but are unable to provide financial support, there are other ways to get involved.  We have 4x4 and 4x8 signs, as well as yard signs and we are looking for more great sign locations.  We are also looking for volunteers to go door to door for me this fall. If you are interested in helping out with our door to door activities or if you would like a yard sign for your home or business, please email me at Dickie@BellforDelegate.com.

Thank you again for your continued support!

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Bell Sounds from the 20th - Join us August 26 for the Annual Valley Business Summit

Registration is now open for the annual Valley Business Summit, hosted by Delegates Cline, Landes, Wilt, and myself.  The summit is scheduled for August 26 at the Plecker Center at Blue Ridge Community College.

The event is FREE of charge and open to any business owner/manager or aspiring entrepreneur. Participants will have the opportunity to learn more about what resources may be available to assist in starting or growing their businesses. They will also be able to connect with officials from various agencies and organizations that can help them pursue these resources. Barry DuVal, President of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce will serve as the keynote speaker for the event.

You can see the full agenda for the summit here. Space is limited, so please register here by August 19.

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Bell Sounds from the 20th - July 24

I hope you are enjoying the summer! I have had the opportunity to see many of you at local lawn parties, baseball games, and other events, and I hope to still see many of you before summer’s end. 

I’d like to give you a brief update on some things that have been happening legislatively as well as on the campaign trail!

 Budget Surplus

We learned just over a week ago that Virginia ended the fiscal year with a $553 million budget surplus. I believe that this is the direct result of the Republican-led General Assembly’s conservative budgeting and responsible stewardship of taxpayer dollars.

Getting to this point certainly has not been an easy road. Last year, the General Assembly took unprecedented action to convene a special session to close a projected $2.4 billion revenue shortfall. And earlier this year, we adopted conservative budget amendments to keep spending in check.

Despite our fiscal challenges, we were still able to fund the core functions of government like K-12 education and public safety, provide a pay raise to teachers, state police officers and sheriff’s deputies. Because we met our revenue projections, these pay raises will now kick in.

It is important to note that the surplus funds are already accounted for.  The bulk of the surplus, about $477 million, will go back to the rainy day fund as the Constitution and budget requires.  The remaining portions will go to the Water Quality Improvement Fund and for transportation projects.

While I am very excited to be able to share this news, we are certainly not out of the woods yet and we must continue to be cautious about the future.

Virginia’s economy is still struggling. We reported zero percent growth in the first quarter of this year and recently fell to 12th in CNBC’s list of Top States for Business. Sequestration only adds to the uncertainty ahead. Now more than ever we must continue to be conservative and responsible with our budgeting and remain focused on strengthening our economy. 

Augusta County Fair 

The Augusta County fair is upon us! The fair kicks off from Tuesday, August 4 and runs through Saturday August 8.  For more information about the fair, including hours and a schedule of events, you can visit their website at http://www.augustacountyfairva.com/

The Augusta County Republican Committee has a booth once again this year. I will be attending the fair and will spend some time at the booth so feel free to stop by if you are there. This is a great place to pick up a yard sign, bumper sticker, or literature for myself or any of our 2015 Republican candidates. 

If you are interested in volunteering at the Republican booth, please let me know and I will be happy to get you in touch with the appropriate people. 

Republican Headquarters 

This campaign season we will be lucky enough to have 3 Republican Headquarters in our area.  The Waynesboro and Augusta Republican committees already have their headquarters open, and the Staunton City committee has plans to open theirs on September 1. 

The Waynesboro Headquarters is located in Willow Oak Plaza in Waynesboro. Augusta County has opened theirs on Route 11 in Verona, next to Shipplett Cleaners.  The Staunton City Committee will be opening their headquarters in September on N Central Avenue in the old Fireplaces and Things building across from Scott and Stringfellow. 

I know that all three committees will be looking for volunteers to help keep their headquarters open.  If you are interested in volunteering, please let me know. 

Volunteer on my Campaign

 As we continue to ramp up our campaign, we are looking for people who are willing to help out.  There are several things that we are looking for, including yard sign locations and door to door volunteers. 

We have 4x8 signs, 4x4 signs, and yard signs available.  We have already started putting them out, so if you would like one at your home or business please let me know and we will make arrangements to get one to you as soon as possible.

We are also looking for volunteers to knock on doors and help us spread our message.  This is a great way to get to know people in your community and is extremely valuable to me in ensuring that our supporters turn out to the polls this November.

If you would like to volunteer on our campaign or if you need a yard sign, email me at Dickie@BellforDelegate.com.

 Save the Date for the Valley Business Summit

Please save the date for the third annual Valley Business Summit at Blue Ridge Community College. This year’s event will be held on Wednesday, August 26. Registration will begin at 7:30am and the event should conclude by noon.

The event is FREE of charge and open to any business owner/manager or aspiring entrepreneur. Barry DuVal, President of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, will be the keynote speaker. Participants will have the opportunity to learn more about what resources may be available to assist in starting or growing their business, and they will actually be able to connect with officials from various agencies and organizations that can help them pursue these resources. More details will be forthcoming soon, but be sure to mark your calendar.

 

Save the Date for an Evening of BBQ and Bluegrass

 If you have not already done so, please mark your calendars for an evening of BBQ and Bluegrass! We will be hosting our annual barbecue at 6:00 pm on Thursday, October 1.  This is always a wonderful, family friendly event. We will have Mrs. Rowe’s Barbecue and music by Flattbroke!  Kris Neil will once again join us as the emcee.  More details will be forthcoming, but for now please save the date!

 Contact Me

 Over the coming weeks there will be a slight change in our office that I need to inform you about.  As some of you may already be aware, my Legislative Aide, Savanna, is expecting and due July 31. This of course means that sometime around the end of July or beginning of August, she will be going on maternity leave.

Our office will continue to function, but as Savanna is my only staff member, it may affect the promptness of our replies.

From late July through early September, I encourage you to use email as the primary way to contact me.  For legislative inquiries, please email me at DelDBell@house.virginia.gov.  For campaign information, please use dickie@bellfordelegate.com.

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

We certainly appreciate your patience and understanding.

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

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Important Fundraising Deadline Tomorrow!

Friends,

 

As we gear up for all of the great activities summer has to offer, our re-election campaign is gearing up as well!  Tomorrow marks another important campaign finance deadline and we need your help to continue our fight!

 

Click here to contribute today!  A strong showing on this report will tell our opponents that voters in the 20th District support our message of limited government and fiscal responsibility, individual liberties, education reform, and our shared Shenandoah Valley values.  With your help we can continue to make Virginia a better place to live, work, and raise a family.

 

You can contribute securely online by clicking here, or you can send your donation to Bell for Delegate, Post Office Box 239, Staunton, VA 24402. 

 

Thanks for your continued support!

 


Dickie Bell

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Bell Sounds from the 20th - June 26, 2015

I hope that you are all having a wonderful summer!  It has already been busy and I have already had the opportunity to see many of you out on the campaign trail! Let me take a few minutes to provide you with an update on what has been happening in the 20th District and provide you with some information about some upcoming events in our area.

Law Changes Coming July 1

As many of you may already be aware, the majority of the laws that were passed in the 2015 General Assembly Session go into effect on July 1, 2015.  Some of those law changes may affect you.

Each year, the Department of Legislative Services compiles a list of legislation that may affect Virginia citizens.  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 here.  

Boys State

Earlier this week I had the opportunity to travel to Radford University to speak to a group of students attending the 73rd session of America Legion Boys State. 

Boys State is designed to instruct select high school students about state and local government.  Delegates to this intensive week-long session heard addresses from various state and local officials including the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Attorney General, two cabinet secretaries, five members of the General Assembly, a state prosecutor and three local officials.

I spoke to a group of students on “Virginia Government – Origins to Today,” providing an overview of the history of our legislature, our legislative processes, and current policy and political issues.

I have attended Boys State for 5 years now and it is always a wonderful experience.  These students are the future of our Commonwealth and from what I can tell, Virginia is in good hands.  

Join Me at the Staunton Braves Game on June 30!

On June 30, we will be having our annual promo night at the Staunton Braves Baseball game. This is always a great opportunity for me to connect with the citizens of the 20th district. 

The Braves will be facing off against the Waynesboro Generals.  The game begins at 7:30 pm at John Moxie Memorial Stadium at Gypsy Hill Park.

We will be handing out free “Bell for Delegate” water bottles with the first 250 paid admissions to the game. I will throw the first pitch, and then Anne and I will be sticking around to chat with constituents and enjoy the game. I hope to see you there!

America’s Birthday Celebration

For those of you who may still be trying to decide how to spend your Independence Day weekend, I encourage you come out to the American’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, rides and games for the kids, and live entertainment.  There is also a parade going through the park at 10:00 am on Saturday morning! For more information on this event, go to http://www.americasbirthdaycelebration.com/.

Upcoming Events

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

  • July 8 – 11

    • Churchville Fireman’s Carnival

    • Stuarts Draft Lawn Party

  • July 11

    • Waynesboro Summer Extravaganza

  • Augusta 4 – 8

    • Augusta County Fair

  • August 29, September 2-5

    • Highland County Fair

Save the Date for an Evening of BBQ and Bluegrass

Mark your calendars! We will be hosting our annual Barbecue and Bluegrass event at 6:00 pm on Thursday, October 1.  It is sure to be a great event. We will have Mrs. Rowe's Barbecue and music by Flattbroke!  Kris Neil will once again join us as the emcee.  More details will be forthcoming, but for now please save the date!

Donate

We have accomplished a lot over the last few years, but there’s still a lot more that needs to be done.  In order to continue our work at decreasing the size of government and preserving our shared Valley values, we need your help! 

Your donation, in any amount, is extremely helpful in allowing us to spread our message. It also helps us reach out to our constituents about the issues that matter most to them.

You can donate online at bellfordelegate.com, or you can send your donation to Post Office Box 239, Staunton, Virginia 24402. 

Thank you for your continued support. 

Contact Us 

I love hearing from constituents on the issues that matter the most to you.  If you have a state issue that you’re concerned about, or need help in dealing with a state agency, please do not hesitate to contact me.

You can contact 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 do so at Post Office Box 239, Staunton, Virginia 24402.
 
Please also note that I am happy to speak at special events and meetings for clubs, civic organizations, church groups, etc. as scheduling allows. Please feel free to contact Savanna at savanna@bellfordelegate.com to schedule. There is no charge.

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

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Will you donate before tomorrow's deadline?

As you may already be aware, I am running for re-election this year.  In order to be successful, I need your help!

The deadline for the current state fundraising reporting period is tomorrow, May 27th at midnight, and I need your help to meet our fundraising goal.  We need a strong showing on the upcoming finance report to show that we have momentum going into the summer campaign season.

Unfortunately, campaigns can be very costly.  In order to get our message out we must purchase palm cards, flyers, bumper stickers, yard signs, mailers, postage stamps, and more. That’s why I’m contacting you now. If you haven't donated to my campaign recently, please consider doing so today!

If re-elected to the House of Delegates, I will continue to promote limited government and fiscal responsibility, protect individual liberties, fight for education reform, and uphold our shared Shenandoah Valley values.

I can’t do this without your help. Your donation in any amount will make a difference to our campaign. Together we can continue to make Virginia a better place to live, work, and raise a family.  

You can make a secure donation online at www.bellfordelegate.com/donate.  You can also send a donation by check to Post Office Box 239, Staunton, Virginia 24402.

Thank you in advance for your continued support.

 

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Bell Sounds from the 20th - May 22, 2015

I hope you are all looking forward to a fun and family filled Memorial Day weekend. 

As we approach this Memorial Day, I encourage you to remember the true reason for this holiday.  Memorial Day is not about cookouts, a three day weekend, or any of the other festivities that we all enjoy.  Please take some time this weekend to remember the brave men and women who gave their lives in service to our country.  We set aside this one day a year to remember these sacrifices.  Please keep this in mind as you enjoy all of the wonderful activities you will undoubtedly be participating in this weekend. 

Let me take a few minutes to share with you some things that have been happening in the 20th District, and to let you know about a couple of upcoming events you may be interested in. 

Virginia Chamber of Commerce Rating 

I am pleased to announce that I have received a 98 “A+” rating from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce for my voting record during the 2015 General Assembly Session           

Each year, the Chamber grades legislators based on their support of pro-business issues throughout the Session.  A full breakdown of the Chamber’s 2015 Report card can be found online at http://www.vachamber.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/04/VA-Chamber-2015-Legislative-Report-Card.pdf 

I’m honored to receive this rating.  Private business is the lifeblood of the Virginia economy and our record of low taxes and reduced regulation on business is one of many reasons we continue to rank among the best states to do business. Throughout my tenure in the House, I have and will continue to remain committed to the principles of free enterprise.  

Southern Regional Education Board Conference

I’ve also recently received word that I have been appointed by Speaker Bill Howell to attend the 64th Annual Southern Regional Education Board Legislative Work Conference.  This year, the conference will be held in Naples, Florida on June 27-29.

The Southern Regional Education Board (SREB) is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that works with 16 member states to improve public pre-K-12 and higher education. 

At this conference legislators from the member states gather to discuss education policy matters.  Work sessions are specifically geared toward topics that are expected to be on many 2016 Legislative Agendas. These topics include educator effectiveness, college and career readiness, early childhood education, and college affordability.

I was privileged to attend the SREB Work Conference in 2010 and 2013.  The information shared at these conferences was extremely beneficial to me in my role as a member of the Education committee and Chairman of the Elementary and Secondary Education Subcommittee, and I look forward to attending again this year.  

 Republican Primary

On June 9, Republican voters in the 24th Senate District will head to the polls to choose the Republican Senate nominee.  The candidates are Senator Emmett Hanger, Dan Moxley, and Marshall Pattie. 

I encourage those of you who are Republican voters in the 24th District to head out to the polls and make your voice heard.  Polls will be open from 6 am – 7 pm and you will vote at your normal polling location. 

Please remember to bring your photo ID.

If you will not be in town on June 9th but would like to vote in the primary, there is still time to vote absentee.  The deadline to request an absentee ballot by mail is June 2, and the last day to vote in-person absentee is June 6.   

If you have additional questions about the primary election, please contact your local registrar.

 It’s as good as Baseball, Hot Dogs, Apple Pie, and Chevrolet!!!!

 Augusta County Republican Committee (ACRC)

Meet and Greet Fundraiser and our Salute to the Armed Forces

 Saturday, May 30th

Noon – 3PM (Rain or shine)

Augusta County Government Center Pavilion

 Come and meet your Augusta County Republican Candidates

Admission: Military attendees will be honored at the gate with a BIG surprise!

(Military attire encouraged)

 $10 individual ticket – Pay at the gate

Free for children under 5 years old

 Special guests

Corp. Clyde B. Shrewsbury – Korean War, Army – MASH unit

Corp. Nick Cuzzimano – Vietnam, Marines

A1C Stewart Bossman – Vietnam, Air Force

 All proceeds will go towards helping our candidates get elected this November!!

Please RSVP to Georgia Alvis-Long, ACRC Chairman, at galong@polyrad.net.

 You can log on to www.augustavagop.com for any up to date
information on the event.

Juneteenth Celebration

 The Waynesboro Republicans cordially invite you to attend a

Juneteenth Celebration

Saturday, June 6, 2015

11:30 – 1:30 pm

Best Western Hotel and Conference Center, Waynesboro

Juneteenth was the name used by African-Americans following the Civil War to commemorate the end of slavery.

 Come and learn about the shared history and legacy of African-Americans and the Republican Party, as we celebrate Juneteenth with lunch, music and door prizes.

Carl Tate will be the Master of Ceremonies.

 Admission: Adults - $10, Kids - 12 and under are free.

To Make Reservations, please call Phyllis Hollowell at (540) 943-2959 or

Sandy Adams at (540) 942-1880, or email WRinfo@lumos.net.

Donate

It is an honor and privilege to serve the citizens of the 20th District in the House of Delegates.  We’ve accomplished a lot over the last 3 terms, but I still believe there is more that we need to get done. In order to do this, however, I need your help! 

Wednesday, May 27 marks the end of another important campaign finance deadline.  We need a strong showing so our opponents will know that we have a broad base of support here in the 20th House District. 

Your donation in any amount will be most appreciated.  We must receive the donation by midnight on May 27 in order for it to show up on the next report. You can donate securely online at bellfordelegate.com, or by sending a check to Post Office Box 239, Staunton, Virginia 24402. 

Contact Us 

I love hearing from constituents on the issues that matter the most to you.  If you have a state issue that you’re concerned about, or need help in dealing with a state agency, please do not hesitate to contact me.

You can contact 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 do so at Post Office Box 239, Staunton, Virginia 24402.
 
Please also note that I am happy to speak at special events and meetings for clubs, civic organizations, church groups, etc. as scheduling allows. Please feel free to contact Savanna at savanna@bellfordelegate.com to schedule. There is no charge.

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

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Bell Sounds from the 20th - April 6, 2015

The 2015 General Assembly Session adjourned just over one month ago.  Sunday, March 29th was the deadline for any Governor’s action on legislation passed in the 2015 Session. He had the option to veto, sign, or amend any piece of legislation.

Perhaps his most notable approval of legislation is that of the budget bill passed in February.  As you may have already heard Governor McAuliffe signed the budget bill without proposing any amendments or vetoes. This is the first time since 1998 that a Governor has approved a budget without making any changes. This is a testament to the hard work that the House Appropriations and Senate Finance committees, as well as the budget conferees, put in to crafting this bipartisan budget.  It is a budget that benefits all Virginians, and one I was proud to support.

My Legislation   

I am pleased to report that Governor McAuliffe signed each of the 4 bills that I patroned that passed both houses of the General Assembly.  This included House Bills 324, 1443, 1679, and 2114.  He also signed House Bill 2020, a bill that I chief co-patroned.

House Bill 324 establishes a new Virtual Virginia School and creates a Board of the Virginia Virtual School as a policy agency under the Secretary of Education (SOE). The School will offer both online classes and virtual school programs to students in Virginia. The bill has a delayed effective date of July 1, 2016, and will only become effective if reenacted by the 2016 Session of the General Assembly.  The Governor’s approval of House Bill 324 is a huge win for virtual education in Virginia. There is no doubt that we still have some work to do on this legislation, but I’m grateful that with the Governor’s approval we will have more time to continue this process.  I look forward to continuing discussions with all stakeholders in the interim and bringing back the best legislation possible for the 2015 Session

House Bill 1443 came at the request of the Commission on Youth, and requires the Board of Education to adopt regulations on the use of seclusion and restraint in public elementary and secondary schools in the Commonwealth. We know from the testimony of countless parents who testified before the Commission on Youth and House and Senate committee hearings that voluntary guidelines are not working.  With the passage and approval of this legislation by the Governor, we will begin the process of setting up mandatory regulations that will ensure that seclusion and restraint are only used as a last resort, and to ensure that parents are always notified when their child must be forcibly restrained.

House Bill 1679 requires each local school board to annually post on their website information describing the educational services available through the Virginia School for the Deaf and the Blind, the Department for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing, and the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired to students who are identified as hearing impaired or visually impaired.  This is a common sense measure that will ensure that parents have easy access to information about services that may benefit their child.

House Bill 2114 provides schools in the Commonwealth with exemptions from federal regulations that effectively prohibit students from holding fundraisers that sell snacks and food not compliant with the federal school lunch program. School divisions can allow up to 30 school-sponsored fundraisers per school per year during which food that does not meet the federal nutritional guidelines can be sold to students.  With the passage and approval of this legislation, sports teams, clubs, and other school sponsored organizations will be able to hold bake sales and candy sales to raise needed funds for uniforms, trips, and other organization needs.

House Bill 2020 will allow retired teachers in critical shortage areas to teach and continue to receive their retirement allowance.  Currently retired teachers are already able to do this, but the sunset on that program ends in 2015. 

I’m thankful that the Governor has added his signature to each of these bills. 

Unless otherwise indicated, each of these measures will go into effect July 1, 2015.

 Sunshine, Warm Weather... Potholes???

Spring is finally here, bringing with it warm weather, outdoor activities, and the potential for rough roads. As you may know, spring is also the start of "pothole season."  Because we have had a very wet winter with heavy snow and rain, you may notice a lot of potholes in the roads this spring.

If you see a pothole you may report the problem to VDOT online here, or by calling 1-800-FOR-ROAD (1-800-367-7623). VDOT will investigate each report and will schedule repairs as soon as possible. As always, you can also contact my office and we would be glad to reach out to VDOT on your behalf.    

Plan Ahead for Safety this Prom Season

I recently received a memo from the Department of Motor Vehicles that might be helpful to you as you plan for proms, weddings, and other spring and summer events that might lead you to hire a limousine for your transportation.  Before you book a limousine or other for-hire passenger vehicle, check DMV's website at dmvNOW.com/knowyourride to make sure the carrier is properly licensed and insured.

For helpful tips from the DMV on hiring a limousine service, please click here 

Contact Us

I enjoy hearing from constituents on the issues that matter the most to you.  If you have a state issue that you’re concerned about, or need help in dealing with a state agency, please do not hesitate to contact me.

You can contact 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 do so at Post Office Box 239, Staunton, Virginia 24402.

Please also note that I am happy to speak to speak at special events and meetings for clubs, civic organizations, church groups, etc. as scheduling allows. Please feel free to contact Savanna at savanna@bellfordelegate.com to schedule.

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

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Bell Sounds from the 20th - Campaign Finance Deadline Tomorrow Night!

Though it is hard to believe, it is already time to start focusing on my 2015 re-election campaign.  We have accomplished a great deal over the course of the last three terms, but there is still more work to do. I am extremely honored to have been recently certified as the Republican nominee for the 20th House District.  The support that so many of you have shown me is truly humbling.

I look forward to traveling across the district throughout this campaign.  Unfortunately, however, campaigns can be very costly.  I do have an opponent that has recently filed with the Department of Elections to challenge me this fall, so I will need to be prepared.  I need your help to ensure that I am able to get my message out to the voters of the 20th District.

As you may already be aware, tomorrow night marks the end of the first campaign finance reporting period of 2015.  It is important that together we make a strong showing to send a signal to our opponents that we have a broad base of support here in the 20th House District. 

Your donation in any amount would be most appreciated.  We must receive the donation by midnight tomorrow, March 31, in order for it to show up on the next report. You can donate securely online at www.bellfordelegate.com/donate, or by sending a check to Post Office Box 239, Staunton, Virginia 24402.

Thank you in advance for your continued generosity, and for allowing me to serve as your delegate.  

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Bell Sounds from the 20th - Session Wrap-up

One week ago the 2015 General Assembly Session adjourned Sine Die.  The 2015 Session was one of the most productive and successful sessions in recent memory.  Under Republican leadership in both chambers we were able to adjourn ahead of schedule for the first time in 15 years.  We were also able to pass a budget ahead of schedule while still giving the public, the press, and the legislature 48 hours to view the budget prior to the final vote.  This is the type of leadership that Virginians want and deserve, and stands in stark contrast to the partisan gridlock in Washington.  

I took some time last week to go over the final details of the budget, but would also like to give you a final wrap up of some of our other accomplishments this session. 

As Virginia’s economy continues to improve, we made job creation and economic improvement a top priority.  We passed legislation to attract innovative new companies (including Uber and Lyft) to Virginia and legislation to make it possible for entrepreneurs to participate in crowdfunding to help get the funding they need.  I was personally pleased to lead the effort to protect Virginia’s right to work laws and take us a step closer to making right to work a part of Virginia’s constitution.  We also passed legislation to prevent localities from setting job killing wage floors.  Over the last several years Virginia has consistently remained among the top states for business and the passage of these and other bills will help keep it there.

Every child in Virginia deserves the best education possible, and we have worked to give parents the flexibility to make the right choices for their families. I was pleased to patron legislation that established the Virginia Virtual School, which allows access to a public full time virtual program for K-12 students.  For the first time this year we also passed a constitutional amendment that grants the Board of Education the authority to establish charter schools within the school divisions of the Commonwealth. In order to make it to the ballot it will have to pass in the same form next year, but we are one step closer to making this a reality.  We also passed reforms that will improve our SOL tests, streamline the retake process, give schools more flexibility in the accreditation process, and require colleges to develop a standardized system for granting credits to incoming students who have successfully completed AP courses.  We also passed legislation to block the executive branch from unilaterally adopting Common Core.

Increasing the access and affordability of college remained a top priority this year.  We passed legislation that would cap unreasonable mandatory student fees, encourage colleges to offer “flat-fee” degrees, and establish a more affordable, $4,000 per year online degree program for Virginia students.  We also passed legislation to ensure that information about college costs are more accessible to students and their families and legislation to require colleges and universities to be more transparent about costs and graduation outcomes. To increase the accessibility of our state schools to in-state students, we funded 2,100 more in-state enrollment and transfer slots and allocated additional funding for student financial aid. 

The General Assembly also tackled several other pressing issues this year, including ethics reform, sexual assault on college campuses, and human trafficking.  In an effort to reform our ethics laws we enacted a $100 gift cap, imposed requirements to have travel be pre-approved by an independent ethics council, and required all disclosure reports to be filed online.  We also provided funding in the budget for a nine-member ethics advisory council to guide and advise public officials on ethics rules. 

We passed legislation that would aid victims of sexual assault and protect students on college campuses by requiring colleges to work with third-party organizations to provide support to victims of sexual assault.  It also requires colleges to have “review teams” to assess allegations of sexual assault.  This review team will either send the allegation to law enforcement or the Commonwealth’s Attorney for further review. In an effort to combat human trafficking, we passed legislation to create a standalone statute on sex trafficking.  This will make it significantly easier for law enforcement to prosecute perpetrators of this heinous crime.

Once again this year the House of Delegates fought for some of our most basic liberties and freedoms to protect them from infringement by the government. We defeated legislation that would have imposed further restrictions on our second amendment freedoms, including legislation that would limit the number of firearms that law abiding citizens can purchase and legislation to place arbitrary limits on magazine sizes.  

While this is in no way a comprehensive list of our accomplishments this Session, I hope it gives you a good look at what we were able to do this year.

 My Legislation
 

This year I had 4 bills and 1 Joint Resolution pass both houses of the General Assembly.  They are: House Bill 324, House Bill 1443, House Bill 1679, House Bill 2114, and House Joint Resolution 490.  House Bill 2020, a bill that I chief co-patroned, also passed in both houses. These bills have now been referred to the Governor for final approval.  You can see a summary or final status of this or any other legislation online at lis.virginia.gov.

Legislative Survey Results

Thanks again to everyone who took my legislative survey.  The results are very helpful to me in knowing how to best represent you in Richmond. In case you missed it last week, you can find the survey results online here.

 Donate

As you know, during the Regular General Assembly Session General Assembly members are prohibited by state law from soliciting or receiving any campaign contributions.  I completely support this law, as I believe that it ensures that our focus remains on the people’s business during our time in Richmond. 

Now that Session is over, however, it is time to kick off my re-election campaign. A donation in any amount would be most helpful to us in getting a jumpstart on fundraising for the 2015 election.

You can make a secure donation online at bellfordelegate.com or you can mail your donation to Post Office Box 239, Staunton, Virginia 24402.

Thank you for your continued support.      

Contact Us

Thanks again to all of you who called, emailed, and visited during the Session. Now that Session is over we are back home in the 20th District.

You can contact us by phone at 540-448-3999, or you can continue to reach us by email at DelDBell@house.virginia.gov

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

Please also note that I am happy to speak at special events and meetings for clubs, civic organizations, church groups, etc. as scheduling allows.  Please feel free to contact Savanna at savanna@bellfordelegate.com to schedule.

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

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