Republican Chris Peace Appointed to House Budget Conference Committee

-- First from Hanover continues to serve on this prestigious committee --

The Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates recently appointed Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) to the important House conference committee for the state budget bills. Six members of the House of Delegates serve on this committee which negotiates with the Senate conference committee members on the content of a 2019-2020 final budget.

 “Our team is a dedicated group of conferees who will work together to reach a final balanced and responsible budget,” said Speaker Cox. “This team will be able to articulate the House of Delegates' position clearly to our Senate colleagues as we begin to finalize the budget. I am grateful for all their hard work on behalf of the House and the people of Virginia. I encourage our conferees to begin to work with their Senate colleagues as quickly as possible, so we can reach a final agreement on the budget.”

 Delegate Peace, who was selected as the lone Richmond regional representative for the second year in a row, says "[t]he problems we must solve together are great, but I am confident that our team will put the needs of all Virginians first. I am humbled by the Speaker's faith and Chairman Jones' confidence. This further opportunity to serve our beloved Commonwealth is a great honor."

 Peace continues to serve as the appointed Chairman of the House General Laws committee.  The General Laws committee considers matters related to housing, real estate, alcohol and beverage control, Freedom of Information Act, as well as procurement maters.  In his capacity as Chairman, Peace was excited to appoint his Hanover colleague Delegate Buddy Fowler to his first Chairmanship since being elected.  Fowler serves as Chair of the General Laws Subcommittee #1 dealing with important issues related to veterans. 

 “Serving as Chair of subcommittee #1, Del. Fowler has shown strong leadership and dedication to the work of the committee.  Working with Buddy on this committee has shown to be a benefit to residents of our native county, Hanover,” stated Peace. 

 

Brad Clark Memorial License Plate

We are now just five days away from the deadline to have 450 paid registrations for the Lt. Brad Clark - Move Over Virginia License Plates.

We have made great progress but still have some ways to go. Without 450 paid registrations received by January 30th, we will not be able to have these plates issued in 2019.

If you haven't already, please print the form, write the check and put it in the mail to us by the end of this weekend. We're counting on the support of those who pre-registered to make this a reality.

Please see the below link for a more easily accessible version of the form all the instructions are contained on the form.

For those who have already sent the form in, thank you! To everyone else, we are counting on your support...please get your registrations in the mail this weekend. Thank you so much!

Link to the registration form: https://tinyurl.com/ycza5zq8

97th District New Kent Student Chosen to Serve as House Page

On January 9, Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) welcomed Campbell Gowdy to service as a Page in the Virginia House of Delegates during the 2019 General Assembly session.

 Campbell Gowdy is a freshman at New Kent High School.  Her favorite class in school is history.  Outside of school she enjoys basketball, tennis, and is a member of YADAPP is for high school students (rising grades 9–12) who are leaders in their school or community and are interested in preventing substance use among their peers.

 As for being chosen to represent the 97th District, Madeline mentioned that what she will miss most is being with her family.

 “Campbell Gowdy is a smart young person with a very bright future,” said Peace. “I want to give her every opportunity to have this once in a lifetime experience. With a few members who were once pages, I wouldn’t be surprised to see her in the legislature one day.”

 Each year the Speaker of the House of Delegate appoints 13 and 14-year-old youth from across the Commonwealth to serve as House pages during the regular session of the General Assembly. These young people assist the members of the House of Delegates, the House clerk’s staff, and other legislative staff in the daily duties required for the successful operation of the House of Delegates during the session.

 The page workday begins promptly as 8:30 a.m. and ends at 5:00 p.m. A lunch break is provided. There is no weekend work except for the last Saturday of session. Pages collate bills for filing, deliver legislation and documents throughout the Capitol complex, and perform errands for members and staff of the House of Delegates during each day’s floor session and at committee meetings. Pages are also selected for assignments in specific House offices including the Speaker’s Office, the Clerk’s Office, the Enrolling Room, the Bill Room, the Fax Center and the Governor’s Office. Pages are trained for these assignments during the first two days of their employment. Every effort is made to provide each page with a variety of work assignments. All work assignments are important to the legislative process and should be performed in a professional manner.

 While at work pages are under the supervision of the Clerk and Executive Assistant to the Clerk, the Page Coordinator and Assistant Page Coordinator, and two Head Pages who served as pages the previous year. After work pages have approximately two hours of unsupervised free time from 5:p.m. until 7:00 p.m. reserved for eating dinner. It is mandatory that all pages reside at the hotel. There are two chaperons on duty at the hotel from 5:p.m. until 8:30 a.m. each day, Sunday through Friday.

 A mandatory study hall is held at the hotel every Monday through Thursday evening from 7:00 p.m. until 9:00 p.m. Certified teachers supervise the pages and help individual students as needed. Pages are responsible for arranging with their schools and teachers the preferred method of taking tests and exams.

For more information or to apply for future sessions, visit:

 https://capclass.virginiageneralassembly.gov/PagePrograms/PagePrograms.html

 

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Peace Statement on Identifying Ways to Tackle Fraud and Waste, Save Tax Dollars

This week I introduced House Bill 2015 to save taxpayer money by requiring the Department of Medical Assistance Services to develop a program to mitigate any risks of improper Medicaid payments to providers for services furnished pursuant to the state plan for medical assistance.  This needed reform is a way to hold managed care organizations (MCO’s) accountable. This bill builds upon past efforts to likewise bring accountability to Fee For Service providers.

As good stewards of the tax dollar, we must identify ways to tackle fraud and waste that may exist within self-insured employers and government programs.  MCO claims data should be identified to see whether payments are being approved, estimates show that approximately 8-15% of all claims identified are either improper, wasteful or worse, fraudulent. This could mean that DMAS is losing well over $600 million a year to fraud, waste, and abuse. This is unacceptable. Especially, when a solution exists to stop it from happening.

I am also happy to join Senator McDougle  as a co-patron in support of Senate Bill 1352, a bill to create as an independent state agency the Office of Medicaid Fiscal Oversight and Accountability and charges the agency with the preparation of the Official Medicaid Forecast for the state, monthly oversight of Medicaid expenditures, review of the fiscal impact of policy changes, and other oversight and accountability responsibilities. 

HB 2015 can save the very money to finance the Senator’s efforts to enact greater oversight of our state Medicaid program. 

Conservative Delegate Chris Peace Introduces Bill to Cut Income Tax

-- Peace Bill conforms state law with the new federal tax policy --

Delegate Chris Peace representing the 97th District (part of Hanover, King William, and all of New Kent) filed a tax reform bill in the General Assembly to reduce income taxes for hard-working, taxpaying individuals and corporations. The Peace proposal also indexes the Standard Deduction for inflation, and conforms Virginia’s tax laws to the new Federal tax cuts and changes.

“Governor Northam’s refusal to propose any broad based and meaningful tax reforms in response to federal changes will cause many Virginians to pay more in taxes and lose significant amounts of federal tax cuts. In addition to approximately $6 billion in new spending programs, the Governor proposes to take tax money from middle-class taxpayers and give it to people who don’t pay income taxes at all. I cannot support this wealth redistribution scheme and I will work with my colleagues to stop it,” stated Peace. 

 Delegate Peace’s tax reform bill will:

  •   Conform Virginia Tax law to the changes in Federal Tax law effective December 31, 2018 (Tax Conformity).

  • Double the Standard Deduction for individuals from $3,000 to $6,000 and for couples filing jointly from $6,000 to $12,000

  • Increase the Standard Deduction annually to match the increase in inflation

  • Reduce the Corporate tax rate from 6% to 5.5% in 2018 and to 5% in 2019

  • Require any excess revenue generated by Tax Conformity to be placed in a Tax Policy Fund to be used for tax relief beginning in 2020.

Additionally Delegate Peace said, “Governor Northam and many Democrat legislators see tax conformity as a way to fund a huge increase in government.  New revenue generated through tax conformity should be returned to taxpayers and that is what my bill will do. Focusing tax relief through a higher standard deduction reaches the highest number of Virginians, most of them middle class families who have seen the standard deduction stalled for 30 years while itemized deductions for others soared.  I will fight every attempt to raise taxes and create programs for redistribution of your hard-earned dollars. My proposal will likely be followed by other similar ideas about how to return tax money to the people, but this bill sets the standard for reform.”

With a voting record that clearly shows Peace as a friend to the taxpayer, Delegate Peace’s voting record includes his consistent opposition to tax increases, such as his vote against the single largest tax increase in Virginia history, patroning of legislation to eliminate the recordation tax and support for reform to the local and regressive BPOL tax.  Peace has always worked to protect family values, defend the Constitution, and promote job creation and a high quality of life in Hanover, King William and New Kent counties. Delegate Peace has consistently received high legislative vote scores from the American Conservative Union, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce, the Virginia Citizen Defense League, and the National Federation of Independent Business. 

Delegate Peace was first elected in 2006 and serves as Chairman of the General Laws Committee.  He is a senior member of the House Appropriations Committee serving as one of the six House of Delegate budget negotiators. Delegate Peace has been a consistent advocate for taxpayers, families and small business. He along with his wife, Ashley, and their children, Camden and Henry, live in Old Church (Hanover).  

Delegate Chris Peace Introduces Bill Memorializing Fallen Firefighter

-- Bridge naming will honor the bravery and sacrifice of Hanover County’s late firefighter Lt. Bradford T. Clark --

Central Virginia- On October 11, 2018 Hanover County Lt. Bradford T. Clark tragically died in a collision while responding to an emergency roadside assistance call.  Hanover- Company 6 was on the scene providing assistance to distressed motorists on I-295 near Pole Green and Meadowbridge Road when a tractor trailer struck the parked firetruck from behind.  Lt. Brad Clark was killed and three other firefighters were injured.

At the request of the Clark family, on October 31st, Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) filed House Bill (HB) 1633 which will be heard in the 2019 General Assembly session.  HB 1633 proposes naming the bridge over Interstate 295 at Pole Green and Meadowbridge Roads in honor of the fallen firefighter.  Delegate Peace is actively recruiting the other members of the Hanover County delegation to the General Assembly to sign on as co-patrons. Peace also reached out to Hanover County and has requested the Board of Supervisors immediately adopt a resolution in support of the bridge naming. The Lieutenant Bradford T. Clark Memorial Bridge will serve as a reminder of the dedication and sacrifice of a fallen hero and to recognize the service of all firefighters and emergency responders in our community.    

Additionally, Peace has approached the Clark family and the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) for additional measure to authorize the creation of a “Brad Clark memorial license plate” that would provide resources to support greater awareness of motorists moving over on the highways and by-ways of the state. Once authorized by the General Assembly, DMV will need at least 450 prepaid applications within 30 days of the effective date of the authorization. 

A few years ago, Peace successfully passed legislation to create a special license plate to honor the legacy and memory of Meg Cross Menzies, a Hanover mother and avid runner.  The 2016 success of HB 1312 authorized the issuance of special license plates for supporters of the safety of runners bearing the legend MEG'S MILES.

Plans are also in the works for legislation to enhance the penalties for failing to adequately move over for safety personnel.  If you are interested in being added to the list to reserve a specialty plate please email Delegate Chris Peace at info@chrispeace.com. Reference ”Brad’s Plate” in the subject line. Standard plates cost $35 and personalized plates are $45.

97th District School Divisions Receive School Security Equipment Grants

 -- Del. Chris Peace applauds grant funding for increased school security --

Central Virginia –As a member of the House Select Committee on School Safety, Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) applauds the recent announcement of $6 million in School Security Equipment Grants being awarded to protect students and teachers in schools across the Commonwealth. 

The Virginia Department of Education and Department of Criminal Justice Services developed the criteria utilized in allocating the awards to local school divisions.  The criteria places priority on schools most in need of modern security equipment, schools with relatively high numbers of offenses, schools with equipment needs identified by a school security audit, and schools in divisions least able to afford security upgrades.

“I am proud that the House of Delegates led the effort in recent years to invest in school safety, providing over $30 million in funding to hire school resource officers and invest in security infrastructure, as well as passing legislation to allow local schools to hire retired law enforcement to protect our children,” stated Del. Peace. 

Peace continued, “In 2013, the House passed HB 2343, creating the School Security Infrastructure Improvement Fund and Local School Safety Fund.  This recurring grant fund allows the Department of Criminal Justice Services to offer grants of up to $100,000 per locality and require a 25% local match. Localities are allowed to use the money to fund upgrades to school security like hallway cameras, buzz-in systems and automatic locks on classroom doors. Additionally, since 2013 we appropriated approximately $6 million per year for school security infrastructure grants.”

The 97th District divisions awarded the school security equipment grants are as follows: Hanover County — $94,752 for John M. Gandy Elementary, Oak Knoll Middle and Pearson’s Corner Elementary, King William County — $88,000 for King William High, and New Kent County —$94,782 for New Kent Middle

The grants will pay for video monitoring systems, metal detectors, classroom locks, electronic-access controls, visitor-identification systems, direct communications links between schools and law enforcement agencies, and other security upgrades in 443 schools and other instructional facilities.

Delegate Christopher K. Peace Appointed to Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Board of Trustees

-- Speaker of the House appoints Peace to historic preservation board--

 Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) was recently appointed to serve on the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation (JYF) Board of Trustees.  The board is a state agency, consisting of members of the General Assembly and other state officials, as well as gubernatorial appointees and board-appointed members.  Members provide advice and counsel to Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation staff members and serve as a governing board for the foundation.

According to their website, the mission of JYF is to educate and to promote understanding and awareness of Virginia’s role in the creation of the United States of America.  The Foundation is an educational institution of the Commonwealth of Virginia and administers two living-history museums. Jamestown Settlement interprets the cultures of 17th-century colonial Jamestown, America’s first permanent English settlement, and the Powhatan Indians.  The American Revolution Museum at Yorktown interprets the impact of the American Revolution on the people of America and the development of the new nation.

Peace has a legislative record of working to preserve our rich and storied history across the Commonwealth.  In 2007, he successfully carried legislation to establish the Road to Revolution State Heritage Trail.  The Road to Revolution state heritage trail honors the first Governor of Virginia, Patrick Henry and pays homage to Henry’s leading role in liberating Virginia from Colonial rule to independence.  The Trail brings a considerable number of tourists to Central Virginia, as well as contributes to joint marketing and economic development efforts of localities.

“I am honored to serve on the Jamestown-Yorktown Board of Trustees.  We have a rich heritage and history in Virginia.  We must collaborate and find inclusive and creative opportunities for promoting these valuable resources to increase tourism revenue and highlight our important place in the foundation of our Nation,” stated Peace.

Peace’s historic preservation legislative record includes but is not limited to co-sponsoring a resolution Commemorating the 200th Anniversary of the birth of Robert E. Lee, passing legislation to create the Virginia Indian Commemorative Commission to establish a commemorative commission to honor the life, achievements, and legacy of Virginia Indians on the grounds of Capitol Square, passing a bill to create the Civil War Site Preservation Fund for the purpose of awarding grants to preserve endangered Virginia Civil War historic sites, passing legislation to establish the Bicentennial of the War of 1812 State Heritage Trail and co-sponsoring legislation to protect our war monuments and memorials.

Virginia Chamber of Commerce Names Delegate Chris Peace a Champion of Free Enterprise

Peace recognized for support of business and job creation

The Virginia Chamber of Commerce recently named Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) as a Champion of Free Enterprise for his support of pro-business policies during the 2018 legislative session.  The Free Enterprise Award recognizes legislators for their support for the principles and initiatives outlined in the Chamber’s long-term economic development plan, Blueprint Virginia 2025.

“We are pleased to recognize these legislators for their work to make Virginia the best state for business,” said Barry DuVal, president and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “The recommendations in Blueprint Virginia 2025 outline the business community’s plan to put us on track for long-term economic growth. The support of public policy leaders is key to ensuring Virginia continues to grow and prosper, and we are thankful for the leadership of these legislators.” 

Speaking to his strong pro-business record, Peace stated, “I am glad to know that I am rated one of Virginia’s most business-friendly conservatives. My voting record shows a consistent focus on opposing tax increases, protecting family values, defending the Constitution, promoting job creation and a high quality of life in Hanover, King William and New Kent counties.”

The Virginia Chamber of Commerce is the largest business organization in the Commonwealth, with more than 26,000 members. The Chamber is a non-partisan, business advocacy organization that works in the legislative, regulatory, civic and judicial arenas to act as the catalyst for positive change in all areas of economic development and competitiveness for Virginia. In December 2017, the Chamber released an update to its long-term strategic economic development plan, Blueprint Virginia 2025, which engaged over 6,000 business and community leaders to lay out a plan to getting Virginia back to the top of national business climate rankings. Learn more at www.vachamber.com.

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Delegate Chris Peace appointed to Select Committee on School Safety

            Virginia House of Delegates Speaker Kirk Cox announced on Thursday the formation of the “House Select Committee on School Safety” to review state and local policy on school safety and make recommendations for consideration by the General Assembly during the 2019 Session. Delegate Peace was appointed by Speaker Cox to serve on the Select Committee.

             “Ensuring our children are safe while attending school should be our number one priority in the Virginia House of Delegates,” said Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) “I applaud Speaker Cox for the formation of this Select Committee, and I look forward to working with the other members to propose meaningful solutions.”

             This is the first select committee formed in the House in 155 years. Select Committees are reserved for matters of considerable significance that cross the jurisdiction of conventional and established standing committees. Speaker Cox sent a letter to the Clerk of the House of Delegates on Thursday outlining the scope, membership and workplan of the Committee.

           "The House of Delegates led the effort in recent years to make our schools safer, but the tragedy in Parkland, Florida shows us that we must be ever-vigilant when it comes to school safety. We are taking a bold and significant step today to make school safety a top priority of the House of Delegates,” said Speaker Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “Delegate Peace will bring a unique perspective to the Select Committee, and I look forward to the ideas he will contribute to the important work ahead of the committee.”

         In his letter to the Clerk, Cox specifically limited the committee’s scope of work to strengthening emergency preparedness, hardening school security infrastructure, implementing security best practices, deploying additional security personnel, providing additional behavioral health resources for students, and developing prevention protocols at primary and secondary institutions across the Commonwealth. The committee will not discuss issues related to guns or broader behavioral health policy that are being considered by other commissions or standing committees. The committee also will not consider security at institutions of higher education, many of which already have rigorous security requirements and are governed by national accrediting agencies that set guidelines for their security. 

             Peace continued, “I have heard from many families across our district about their concerns. Children and teachers deserve to learn in an environment free from fear for their safety. As the Chairman of the House Budget Committee on Elementary & Secondary Education, I am dedicated to finding the state share of necessary resources to support our school divisions in our shared important goal for improved safety on school campuses everywhere. I am honored that the Speaker thought well enough of me for this important Committee, and I look forward to the work ahead.  The House of Delegates has led the effort in recent years to invest in school safety, providing over $30 million in funding to hire school resource officers and invest in security infrastructure, as well as passing legislation to allow local schools to hire retired law enforcement to protect our children.”

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Peace Appointed to House Budget Conference Committee

-- First from Hanover to serve on this prestigious committee --

Central Virginia-  The Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates recently appointed Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) to the important House conference committee for the state budget bills. Six members of the House of Delegates serve on this committee which negotiates with the Senate conference committee members on the content of a 2019-2020 final budget.

“We have a dedicated team of conferees who work well together and understand the necessity of having a balanced and responsible budget,” said Speaker Cox. “This team will be able to articulate the House’s position clearly to our colleagues in the Senate as we begin to finalize the budget. I appreciate all of their hard work on behalf of the House and I encourage our conferees to begin work with their Senate colleagues as quickly as possible so we can reach a final agreement on the budget.”

Delegate Peace, who was selected as the lone Richmond regional representative, says "[t]he problems we must solve together are great, but I am confident that our team will put the needs of all Virginians first. I am humbled by the Speaker's faith and Chairman Jones' confidence. This further opportunity to serve our beloved Commonwealth is a great honor."

At the beginning of session Peace was appointed Chairman of the House General Laws committee.  The General Laws committee considers matters related to housing, real estate, alcohol and beverage control, Freedom of Information Act, as well as procurement maters.  In his capacity as Chairman, Peace was excited to appoint his Hanover colleague Delegate Buddy Fowler to his first Chairmanship since being elected.  Fowler serves as Chair of the General Laws Subcommittee #1 dealing with important issues related to veterans. 

“Serving as Chair of subcommittee #1, Del. Fowler has shown strong leadership and dedication to the work of the committee.  Working with Buddy on this committee has shown to be a benefit to residents of our native county, Hanover,” stated Peace.  

Historic Horse Racing Measure Advances to Governor

-- One step closer to re-opening Colonial Downs --

As Chief Co-Patron of House Bill (HB) 1609, New Kent’s Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R) is extremely happy to announce the measure is on the way to the Governor.  HB 1609 passed the House by a vote of 79-21 and the Senate by a vote of 31-9.  This bill provides a means by which the important goal of creating jobs and generating additional revenue for New Kent County through the re-opening of Colonial Downs may be achieved.  Historical horse racing is a crucial step toward revitalizing horse racing in the Commonwealth and re-opening of the track. 

HB 1609 establishes historical horse racing (HHR) as a form of horse racing in the Commonwealth that creates pari-mutuel pools from wagers placed on previously conducted horse races and is hosted at (i) a racetrack owned or operated by a significant infrastructure limited licensee or (ii) a satellite facility that is owned or operated by (a) a significant infrastructure limited licensee or (b) the nonprofit industry stakeholder organization recognized by the Commission and licensed to own or operate such satellite facilities. Under the provisions of this bill, revenues generated on pari-mutuel pools by wagering on historical horse racing, will be distributed to the Virginia Racing Commission, and a portion to the locality in which the racetrack is located.

“Ongoing discussions between “Revolutionary Racing” and Virginia horse industry representatives have identified this pathway to resuscitate historic horse racing in Virginia.  By combining the national and international horse racing experience of Revolutionary Racing with the talents of our Virginia horse racing industry, we can re-open Colonial Downs and create opportunities for major investment, including but not limited to capital projects and 500 jobs,” stated Delegate Peace.

The closure of Colonial Downs negatively impacted New Kent County, reducing the local government’s budget by $402,200 in Fiscal Year 2015 et seq.  Prior to its closure, Colonial Downs was a major revenue source in the form of tourism dollars for schools and revenue sharing for roads. 

Peace continued, “Horse racing is a vital component to the continued economic growth of New Kent County and the Richmond Region.  As the only Delegate representing New Kent, I can tell you that a reopened Colonial Downs is in the best interest of our citizens.”

Rodney Hathaway, New Kent County Administrator, in an e-mail to Peace asserted, “We (New Kent County) thank you for your leadership and assistance with this project, and look forward to a new beginning at Colonial Downs.”

Peace Statement on Projects of Importance to New Kent County

I wanted to take a moment to update New Kent residents on recent developments concerning issues of importance to our shared community.  Over the past several months numerous citizens, New Kent County leaders, as well as first-responders have expressed to me grave concerns over the deteriorating conditions of Route 60 in New Kent County.  As construction work begins on Interstate 64 from I-295 to Interstate 64 Exit 205, traffic is projected to increase significantly on State Route 60 as travelers attempt to avoid congestion and delays on I-64.  This progress comes at a cost and will have an adverse impact on the currently treacherous conditions of State Route 60.

The need for maintenance and resurfacing of Rt. 60 has reached a critical point.  Due to the many patches that have been applied over the years and uneven pavement sections, these safety issues often cause travelers swerve to miss bumps and suddenly slowdown in an effort to avoid damaging their vehicles.  To that end, I introduced an amendment to the state budget to require the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) to prioritize the resurfacing and maintenance of State Route 60 in New Kent County. 

My amendment prompted fervent discussions at VDOT on how to address our concerns in a timely manner.  I had a highly productive meeting with the VDOT Commissioner first thing Friday, February 2.  He assured me that Calendar Year (CY) 2018 resurfacing and maintenance efforts on Rt. 60 will begin in April and be completed by November 2018.  Our efforts have made Rt. 60 a priority.

The initial round of resurfacing and maintenance will begin with the paving of five sections totaling 21.08 lane miles.  The Commissioner also outlined further Rt. 60 resurfacing and maintenance projects for both CY2019 and CY2020.  I want to say a special thank you to County Administrator, Rodney Hathaway, Sheriff Joe McLaughlin, and Supervisor Ron Stiers for making the trip up to the General Assembly to testify in the Appropriations committee in support of prioritization of Rt. 60, and to Chairman Evelyn for his leadership on this matter.

On another important note to the County, in December, I testified in strong support of the Certificate of Public Need (COPN) application submitted by VCU Health System to establish an outpatient imaging center with CT services at a freestanding emergency department in New Kent County.  On January 22, 2018, this project received a staff recommendation in support of the CT scanner application that paves a way for greater access to care in the County.

This project will be extremely beneficial for New Kent County, its residents and future patients.  The VCU Health Bottoms Bridge Emergency Center will be a hospital based department of VCUHS and will serve as an extension of VCUHS’s existing emergency services.  With this project, VCUHS is seeking to extend clinical services into New Kent to fulfill an unmet geographic need for the provision of emergency and imaging services for New Kent and surrounding communities. 

House Bill 1402, introduced in this General Assembly session, could have required a second COPN application for the brick and mortar of the freestanding emergency department.  I successfully amended the bill in committee to grandfather COPN projects currently in the application process to ensure our project does not get delayed.  This project will significantly improve access to outpatient CT services, as well as bringing other high-quality services provided by VCU Health System to the area.

It remains an honor to serve as the Delegate for the 97th District and work to solve problems for New Kent County.

Measure to Establish a Higher Education Substance Use Advisory Committee Passes House

Central Virginia- Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) is pleased to announce the unanimous, bi-partisan passage of House Bill (HB) 852. 

HB 852 will establish and appoint members to the Virginia Institutions of Higher Education Substance Use Advisory Committee.  The Committee will work to develop and update a statewide strategic plan for substance use education, prevention, and intervention at Virginia’s institutions of higher education. 

This bill is a recommendation of the Virginia Commission on Youth (COY) of which Peace is former Chairman.  COY findings, and a Virginia ABC study, found that little to no data on current college student alcohol and drug use trends and behaviors are available statewide.  The Advisory Committee will provide oversight on these findings and continue to make recommendations as the work of the Committee advances.

Speaking to the passage of the bill, Delegate Peace asserted, “Currently, there is no specified prevention office in Virginia that has a focus on college-aged substance use.  It is imperative to highlight Virginia’s commitment to this issue, and signify to college administrators the need to come together and collaborate on this topic.”

DeDe Goldsmith, COY member and parent, states, “This legislation is critically important to give administrators and students the tools they need to attack recreational drug use on college campuses head-on.  Our young people learn best by and from each other, and they have come up with unique ways of doing so.  HB852 will ensure that their good works are available statewide at our college and universities to help reduce the medical emergencies that are increasingly prevalent among the student population.  Currently, substance use and abuse education programs are implemented from the top down and are ineffectual.

My daughter, who was an honors student at a state school, died because she lacked the honest, fact-based information she needed to make an informed decision about the risks that are associated with even incidental drug use. This will help get the right information to the right people by the right people.”

The bill will now be heard in the Senate. 

Delegate Chris Peace’s voting record shows a consistent focus on opposing tax increases, protecting family values, defending the Constitution, and promoting job creation and a high quality of life in Hanover, King William and New Kent counties.

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