97th District Hanover Student Chosen to Serve as House Page

On January 11th, Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) welcomed Henry Atkinson, of Mechanicsville, to serve as a Page in the Virginia House of Delegates during the 2017 General Assembly session.

Henry Atkinson, Oak Knoll Middle School student with Del. Peace at the General Assembly Building

Henry Atkinson, Oak Knoll Middle School student with Del. Peace at the General Assembly Building

Henry Atkinson is a 7th grader at Oak Knoll Middle School, and his favorite class is science, where he enjoys learning more about our world and how it works.  Henry excels at a number of sports, but he enjoys running track and swimming the most.

As for being chosen to represent the 97th District, Henry mentioned, “I will miss seeing my family every day. My favorite part of being a page is meeting new friends.”

“Henry is a smart young man with a very bright future,” said Peace. “I want to give him 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 him 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 5:00 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 5:00 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:

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

Peace Fights Opioid Epidemic in Virginia Legislature

Addiction to opiates claim more lives than car accidents according to recent statistics

As a family law attorney, Delegate Chris Peace (R-Hanover) works with many individuals to rebuild their family unit after enduring the devastating effects of the surge in substance use cases, specifically opiate addiction. Through his tireless efforts, many families have found pathways to recovery through peer supported models or by medically assisted treatment. With this expertise, Del. Peace sought to make needed reforms to Virginia law to help individuals, families and children who are suffering from substance use addiction.

This Session, Del. Peace supported several measures to fight the opioid crisis in Virginia.  Peace is a co-patron of House Bill (HB) 2161 which passed the House by a vote of 97-0.  HB 2161 will require the Secretary of Health and Human Services to work to develop educational standards and curricula for training health care providers in the safe and appropriate use of opioids to treat pain while minimizing the risk of addiction and substance abuse.

Speaking to the importance of these measures, Sheriff Joe McLaughlin of New Kent County states, “The issue of opioid addiction is at crisis level across our nation and this legislation is a step in the right direction. Law enforcement cannot do it alone and the assistance of the community and the prescriber is a necessary ingredient in confronting this problem.”

HB 2165 passed the House and would require that, beginning July 1, 2020, any prescription for an opiate to be issued as an electronic prescription and prohibits a pharmacist from dispensing an opiate unless the prescription is issued as an electronic prescription. This measure will cut down or eliminate the prescription mills which have popped up across the region.

Hanover Sheriff David Hines offered, ““Having this bill in place is a step in the right direction. Having served on the Governor’s Task Force for Prescription Medicine and Heroin Abuse, any measure to reduce this kind of abuse is a positive endeavor. As I have said for many years, this is not something we can arrest our way out of. I can only hope this is just one of many steps to be taken to help law enforcement and our communities respond to this growing problem. Partnerships have always been the key to success and supports our belief that strong partnerships create safe communities.”

“A public health emergency has been declared in the Commonwealth as a result of the opioid epidemic.  In 2016, statewide fatal opioid overdoses will surpass 1,000 and in 2015 more people died from opiate related overdoses than in car accidents.  We can no longer stand by while this addiction claims more lives,” stated Peace.  “We cannot address this epidemic with a one person, one mindset approach. Thanks to the work of stakeholders from across the state, including Del. Todd Pillion, the House has advanced solid public health initiatives to combat the opioid epidemic with a shared focus on prevention and treatment.”

Another Peace sponsored measure will direct the Boards of Dentistry and Medicine to adopt regulations for the prescribing of opioids and products containing buprenorphine passed unanimously. HB 2167 passed unanimously.

Peace and Hodges Advance Legislation on behalf of Virginia's First Citizens

Virginia tribal interests represented in successful legislation

House Bill (HB) 1952, patroned by Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) and Chief Co-Patroned by Delegate Keith Hodges (R-Middlesex) passed the House and the Senate unanimously.  HB 1952 was requested by the Mattaponi Tribe, whose reservation is in King William County, Virginia. 

The bill streamlines the process whereby the tribe can acquire real property for annexation to an existing reservation, on the condition that such real property is located within one mile of an existing reservation.  Over the centuries, the lands of the Mattaponi have been encroached upon, such that the present reservation is merely 70 acres.  The Mattaponi Tribal Council has undertaken efforts to re-acquire lands in close proximity to the Reservation, in order to provide additional home-sites for members to relocate to the Reservation, thus enhancing the long term viability of this important Tribe.

Speaking about the legislation, Peace stated, “HB 1952 assists our first Virginians in expanding their tribal lands to enable tribe members to return home to their reservation and construct residences.  Virginia tribes enabled the success of the first permanent English settlement in our Nation, and have impacted our Commonwealth immeasurably.” 

Mattaponi Chief Mark Custalow testifies in House Committee in Support of House Bill 1952

Mattaponi Chief Mark Custalow testifies in House Committee in Support of House Bill 1952

Chief Custalow of the Mattaponi Tribe states, “Today was a great day on the Mattaponi Reservation and for its people to find out that the House Bill 1952 was passed and is going to the governor for signature. The passing of this bill will allow the Mattaponi people to expand our reservation from its existing boundaries. It will allow us to have the ability for our people to come home, to move back to the reservation and preserve our culture as our forefathers have taught us throughout many years.”

Peace was also chief co-patron of House Bill 1686, patroned by Del. Hodges.  HB 1686 passed unanimously, and permits Virginia Indian tribes that are recognized by the federal government to join their Planning District Commissions (PDC) as members and to negotiate the terms of such membership.  There are 21 PDCs in Virginia, and are comprised of elected officials and citizens appointed to the Commission by member local governments.  

“It is a privilege to work with Delegate Peace to move forward legislation that provides our First Virginians solutions for the unique issues that they face,” stated Delegate Hodges. 

One important duty of the PDC's is to create a strategic plan for their region of service. This plan is created in cooperation with local governments, businesses, citizen organizations, and other interested parties. The plan is intended to help promote the orderly and efficient development of the PDC by stating goals and objectives, strategies to meet those goals, and mechanisms for measuring progress.

Peace and Hodges have co-authored several bills in the past to designate the Secretary of the Commonwealth as the liaison to the state recognized tribes and reforms to the manner in which tribes may navigate the state building code. 

These King William Delegates encourage your support and awareness of the Virginia Indian Commemorative Commission.  More information about construction of this Indian Tribute at the State Capitol may be found at http://indiantribute.virginia.gov/

Peace Champions Pro Business Policies

Peace Champions Pro Business Policies

CENTRAL VA- Included in his 2017 legislative package, Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) introduced House Bill 1943, a measure that requires the Virginia Department of Planning and Budget (DPB), to provide an opportunity for businesses affected by a proposed change in regulation to comment on the financial impact of the proposed new rule.  DPB would be required to consider these comments in the economic impact analysis of the proposed regulation. 

JLARC report again highlights responsible state spending but rising Medicaid growth

~ 2016 findings are consistent with previous reports ~

RICHMOND, VA – The Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission’s annual report on state spending again highlighted the General Assembly’s responsible state spending, but also shows the continued growth of Medicaid in Virginia. The report, released Tuesday, tracks state spending over the last ten years and is required by law. According to JLARC, general fund spending declined 11 percent over the last ten years when adjusted for population and inflation. Medicaid spending remains the biggest growth driver, up $1.8 billion, or 96 percent, over the last ten years. The full report will be available at JLARC's website later today.

“Like last year, today’s JLARC report once again shows that the Republican-led General Assembly is charting a responsible fiscal course for the Commonwealth,” said House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). “State general fund spending continues to decline when adjusted for population and inflation as a result of our conservative budgeting. However, Virginia is still grappling with incredible growth in its Medicaid program. Medicaid spending grew 96 percent in the last ten years. This report again demonstrates the wisdom of our decision not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act.”

“The General Assembly continues to strike a sharp contrast with the failed leadership in Washington, D.C.,” said House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “While the federal government languishes under $19 trillion in debt and is simply unable to balance its budget, we have proven time and time again that we can balance our budget, close shortfalls without raising taxes, and chart a prudent long-term fiscal course. This report validates our long track record of responsible budgeting.”

“My colleagues and I on the House Appropriations Committee consistently seek to be good stewards of taxpayer resources,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk). “Our goal is to make each taxpayer dollar go further. I am proud of our work and thankful for the continued commitment of the members of the committee and its staff to this steady approach.”   “The JLARC report shows that the Commonwealth is on a stable fiscal foundation. We have a long track record of responsible state spending,” said House Appropriations Committee Vice-Chairman R. Steven Landes (R-Augusta). “However, we cannot ignore the truth on Medicaid. Medicaid remains the largest growth driver in our budget. This is exactly why we cannot afford to expand Medicaid. The existing program is simply unsustainable, without the additional burdens of expansion.”

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United Airlines Signs Long-Term Lease at Dulles International

Lease extension through 2024 strengthens the positive economic impact that aviation activities have on Virginia’s economy CENTRAL VA- Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority (MWAA) and United Airlines recently announced a signed extension of the Airport Use Agreement and Premises Lease for Washington Dulles International Airport though 2024. The current lease was set to expire at the end of 2017, and if it had, Virginia would lose its only “hub” along with many job losses.

Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover), Chairman of the Transportation subcommittee of House Appropriations, was instrumental in crafting the budget language to facilitate this lease extension.

“United employs nearly 5,400 people in the Commonwealth and operates 218 flights daily at their Dulles hub. Extending the lease with United and keeping Dulles competitive is vital to the Virginia economy,” stated Peace. “In the 2016 budget, we provided a strategic investment in this major economic center to help the Airport reduce enplanement costs to ensure the continued operation of a hub airline.”

Peace continued, “Our budget amendment included a number of specific requirements governing receipt of these funds to ensure that amounts were used only to effectuate the long-term viability of the airport and do not serve simply as a short-term solution.”

The Airport Use Agreement and Premises Lease governs operational and financial portions of an airline’s use of airport facilities and sets out the business relationship between airlines and the airport.

Specifically, budget language requires the Secretary of Transportation to certify to the Governor and the General Assembly that the expenditures are in the public interest and must be matched by equal savings generated by MWAA. The amounts provided are to be used to reduce outstanding debt service and offset operating costs.  Second year funding is contingent upon MWAA entering into a long-term agreement with a hub airline to continue operating as a hub at Dulles airport through at least calendar year 2024.

 

House Republicans file first legislation of 2017 session

~ Trio of bills vetoed by Governor McAuliffe re-filed ~ RICHMOND, VA - Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates filed the first legislation of the 2017 General Assembly session on Monday, the opening day of the legislative pre-filing period. Delegates Steve Landes, Scott Lingamfelter and Chris Head filed a trio of bills that were vetoed by Governor Terry McAuliffe during the 2016 session.

“Earlier this year Governor McAuliffe vetoed a number of commonsense bills that would have strengthened our Commonwealth. Among those vetoes were bills to keep our schools safe, increase access to health care and protect small businesses from overreaching labor unions. These are good ideas that will make Virginia a better place and we are going to keep fighting for them,” said House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). “The House Republican Caucus has demonstrated over the years our commitment to being the party of ideas and this year is no different. In addition to the legislation filed today, our members will develop a robust policy agenda that prioritizes economic growth, stronger schools, safer communities and improved healthcare access without expanding entitlements.”

“The difference between Washington and Richmond can be seen in a lot of ways, but it’s often most apparent when it comes to solutions. Republicans in the House of Delegates have a proven track record of turning principles into policies that solve problems for Virginians,” said House Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “We are once again bringing forward a strong legislative agenda. The bills we are filing today were wrongly vetoed by Governor McAuliffe and we will keep working to see them passed into law.”

Delegate Steve Landes (R-Augusta) filed HB 1393, legislation to protect direct primary care agreements between doctors and patients from burdensome insurance regulations. The legislation defines direct primary care (DPC) in the Code of Virginia, sets forth conditions under which physicians may enter into DPC agreements with patients, and outlines consumer protections to maintain safeguards for patients.

“Direct primary care is an innovative healthcare delivery model that makes affordable healthcare more accessible to hard-working Virginians,” said Landes. “Passing direct primary care will improve access and help control costs, addressing two of the top challenges facing healthcare today.”

Delegate Scott Lingamfelter (R-Prince William) filed HB1392, legislation to allow school security officers to carry a firearm in the performance of his duties if (i) he is a retired law-enforcement officer who retired or resigned in good standing, (ii) he has met the additional training and certification requirements of the Department of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), (iii) the local school board solicits input from the chief law-enforcement officer of the locality regarding the qualifications of the officer, and (iv) the local school board grants him the authority to carry a firearm in the performance of his duties

“This bill is a well-crafted and prudent measure that permits a local school board to hire retired police officers and arm them to protect our children and teachers where they learn and work”, said Lingamfelter. “I think it is very reasonable in the threat environment we find ourselves to permit retired law enforcement officers, who are thoroughly trained, to be armed so that if the unthinkable occurs, there’s a way to stop a violent situation immediately”, he concluded.

Delegate Chris Head (R-Roanoke) introduced HB 1394, legislation to protect small business franchises from overreaching labor unions. The legislation clarifies that franchisee employees cannot be considered employees of the franchisor for purposes of labor status notwithstanding any labor union agreement.

“Small businesses are the backbone and lifeblood of our economy. In recent years, President Obama’s National Labor Relations Board has sought to expand the influence of labor unions over small business franchises to the detriment of their hard working employees,” said Delegate Head. “This legislation protects employees from the overreaching federal government and overzealous labor unions. This bill is consistent with Virginia’s proud history as a right-to-work state.”

Delegate Peace Receives a Grade of A+ from State Chamber for Support of Business and Job Creation

-- VA Chamber of Commerce Names Peace a Champion of Free Enterprise --

For the past five years, following the General Assembly Session, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce has developed a Legislative Report Card based on the priorities of Virginia's business community. The Legislative Report Card recognizes legislators for their support on initiatives that will help move Virginia forward creating jobs and economic growth, and additionally provide analysis of a legislator's support for the business.

Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) was very pleased to be informed that this year, based on his voting record, he received a grade of "A+" from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Peace's voting record indicated strong support for business community priorities.  In fact, Peace earned a 100 in 2016.

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, and promoting job creation and a high quality of life in Hanover, King William and New Kent counties.”

“The Virginia Chamber this year tracked more than 600 pieces of legislation and rated 125 bills that would either improve or harm Virginia’s business climate,” said Barry DuVal, President and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “We applaud those legislators who advanced the goals of the Chamber’s Blueprint Virginia this year and in doing so made Virginia a better place in which to live, work and do business.” Now in its fifth year, the 2016 legislative report card includes for the first time legislators’ lifetime grades along with their grades for the most recent legislative session.

According to their website, the mission of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce is to be a non-partisan, business advocacy organization that works in the legislative, regulatory and political arenas to act as the catalyst for positive change in all areas of economic development and competitiveness for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Please visit the Chamber website: http://www.vachamber.com/

Delegate Chris Peace Honors Frank Siblings of Hanover

-- Peace raises awareness of autism, presents memorial resolutions to honor Matthew and Tyler Frank – -- Praises Hanover County Public Schools and Hanover County Sheriff’s Office --

Central Virginia- Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) was delighted to host Joanna Frank, mother of Tyler and Matthew Frank at the Capitol recently to raise awareness of autism and to present her memorial resolutions to honor the legacy and lasting impact her sons had on the Hanover community. April is Autism Awareness month.

Mrs. Frank is a strong and courageous mother and zealous advocate for services for autistic children. The Franks moved to Hanover County in 2000 with twin sons in need of supportive services.  The family was one of the first families in Hanover County to appeal to the Commonwealth for what was then known as an MR support waiver; Tyler Frank and his twin, Mathew, were the first children in Hanover to receive this waiver, which would later open the door to add other children to the waiver program and receive in-home services and specialized educational services through Hanover County Public Schools.

Her sons’ disabilities inspired their mother, Joanna Frank, to begin a number of programs in Hanover County seeking to give the boys an equal opportunity to obtain an education, play, grow, and exist as any other child would. These programs would also benefit many other children living in the community with similar disabilities.  The presence of Tyler and Mathew Frank inspired Hanover County schools to create autism programs in elementary, middle, and high schools.

In 2000, Mathew Frank was the first person in Hanover County to receive a Project Life Saver watch, which also contained a GPS tracking device to help local police find individuals with disabilities if lost. Each month a deputy from Hanover County would visit Mathew Frank to change the batteries on the device.  These were his favorite visits.

“These special young men helped initiate specialized autism training for police officers, school resource officers, and first responders in Hanover County. Each individual with autism is unique and requires specialized approaches to intervention from community helpers; these programs have helped educate and equip hundreds of Hanover County community helpers to safely interact and assist individuals and their families with autism and other similar disabilities,” stated Peace.  “I applaud the Hanover Sheriff’s Office and the Hanover County Public Schools for their efforts in ensuring the safety, health, and well-being of these children in our community.”

Autism spectrum disorder is the result of a group of complex neurological disorders that affects the normal functioning of the human brain and can be exhibited by anyone, regardless of race, ethnicity, or gender. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 68 births in the United States in their 2014 ADDM autism prevalence report.  For more information visit Autism Society of Central Virginia at http://ascv.org/.

 

Del. Jen McClellan, Joanna Frank, and Del. Chris Peace

Peace Champions Tea Party Legislation Protecting the First Amendment, Free Speech

Anti-SLAPP measure advances through General Assembly Central Virginia- In the fall of 2015, Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) was approached by several members of the Mechanicsville Tea Party, including Larnie Allgood and Major Mansfield, along with others from across the Richmond Region, Don Blake, Sylvia Wright, and Baird Stokes to name a few. He was asked to patron Anti-SLAPP reform legislation. Peace did not hesitate in agreeing to patron such legislation vital to protecting citizen participation in government processes at the local, state, and federal levels.

A strategic lawsuit against public participation (SLAPP) is a lawsuit that is intended to censor, intimidate, and silence critics by burdening them with the cost of a legal defense until they abandon their criticism or opposition.

Delegate Peace’s bill, House Bill 690, is a measure to allow the court to award reasonable attorney fees and costs in any suit dismissed pursuant to the immunity provided to an individual at a public hearing, or where a nonsuit is taken. This policy was incorporated into House Bill 1117 (Loupassi) and passed the House by a vote of 98-0 and the Senate by a vote of 39-1.

Sylvia Wright, catalyst behind the first amendment protection states, “On Feb 22, 2016 - combined antiSLAPP bills were passed by the VA Senate. Since it already passed the House, the approved format should now move forward for signoff by the Governor and be enacted as law on July 1, 2016. My sincere thanks to all who extend support for this legislation, especially Chris Peace as he is the delegate who worked with me to acquire this important change.”

Speaking to the passage of the bill, Delegate Peace asserted, “We must continue to ensure that our Constitutional rights are protected. Any limit on a citizen’s freedom of speech is unacceptable. Everyone has a right to redress their government.”

Peace continued, “I thank the leadership of the Mechanicsville Tea Party for bringing this important issue to my attention. I look forward to continuing conversations with citizens about legislative solutions that increase the quality of life of residents of the 97th District.  Should you have a legislative idea, a question about process, or just want to discuss issues, please call my office to set a meeting.”

Henrico resident, Baird Stokes was quick to thank the Delegate for his quick action, “I was impressed at how quickly Del. Peace understood the issue and identified a course of action to further protect citizens and their right to participate in the actions of government. He has shown a commitment to the protection of freedom of speech and upholding of our Constitutional principles.”

Delegate Chris Peace is frequently rated one of Virginia’s most business-friendly conservatives. 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.

 

Major Mansfield, Treasurer, Mechanicsville Tea Party, testifies in support of antiSLAPP measure in House Ccommittee

Local school leaders from across Virginia applaud House proposal to restore lottery fund distribution

Education leaders from across the Commonwealth are applauding the Virginia House of Delegate’s plan to restore lottery fund distributions to local school divisions.  The House budget sends 31 percent of lottery funds, or $272 million, back to local school divisions.  This mechanism gives local schools more flexibility by not requiring matching funds or mandating how the funds must be spent.  This is part of the House’s $897.1 million education package, which is larger than the budgets proposed by Governor McAuliffe and the Senate.  The House budget also funds the state’s share of a two percent teacher pay raise in the second year of the budget. “I am proud of the investments the House is proposing across the spectrum in K-12 education, but the restoration of lottery proceeds distribution this year is a game-changer for local school divisions,” said Appropriations Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk). “Our budget sends 31% of lottery proceeds, which is $272 million, back to localities with no local match.  This proposal gives local school leaders the flexibility to meet their own unique needs and reduces the tax burden on local governments by not requiring local matching funds.  Our goal is to fully restore the 40% distribution, which was the policy prior to 2010.”

“We believe that parents, teachers and local school leaders are in the best position to make educational decisions. Our budget proposal emphasizes flexibility,” said Appropriations Committee Vice-Chairman R. Steven Landes (R-Augusta). “By restoring the distribution of lottery funding, we are sending more money to our local schools with fewer strings attached.”

"The foundation of the House's budget proposal is a critical investment in school divisions across the Commonwealth," said Chesterfield School Board member Dianne Smith.  "The increased funding over the introduced budget in lottery funding recognizes that each school division has unique and diverse needs.  School leaders continue to seek increased flexibility in the funds we receive, and these principles are a cornerstone of this proposal."

“The House budget provides much needed programmatic flexibility for additional resources to invest in our top priorities,” said Virginia Beach School Board Chair Dan Edwards.  “The loss of lottery funds in 2010 hurt our ability to meet the unique needs of Virginia Beach’s Public schools.  Restoring this funding will give us badly needed new revenue.  By not requiring a local match, the House is removing a significant obstacle for local schools.  This proposal will give our schools real dollars that will yield positive results.”

“Every budget cycle, we face mandates on how to spend our education dollars. The flexibility that the House’s budget proposal includes allows us to direct the funds to the most needed areas without having to raise taxes or find matching funds. The House’s budget goes one step beyond the Governor’s proposal to support local public schools. I want to thank our leaders in the House for their support and leadership on this issue,” said Gene Bishop, Floyd County School Board Member.

The Hanover Regional Governor’s School for Career and Technical Advancement Announces Inaugural Session

Applications now being accepted for a three-week summer residential program for gifted Career and Technical Education students. ASHLAND, Va. – Hanover County Public Schools is pleased to announce that the Hanover Regional Governor’s School for Career and Technical Advancement (HRGS-CTA) will hold its inaugural session at the University of Richmond this summer from July 3-22, 2016. The HRGS-CTA is the first of its kind in the Commonwealth of Virginia and is intended to serve as a model that can be replicated throughout the state to meet the ever-growing demand for career-ready students.  Application materials are now available at www.hcps.us.

“It’s truly an honor for Hanover County Public Schools to develop this program in order to better serve the educational needs of students and the workforce needs of communities throughout Virginia. I’m very grateful for the efforts of Delegate Chris Peace who first introduced the legislation that resulted in a $100,000 planning grant from the Virginia Department of Education (VDOE), as well the efforts of my predecessor, Dr. Jamelle S. Wilson, who played a key role in advancing these efforts in the region.  I’m equally grateful for the exceptional efforts of the workgroup who developed this proposal, led by Dr. Jonathan Lewis.  I look forward to watching their plan come to life this summer as students from the region embark on this unique learning experience, which will be graciously hosted by our partners at the University of Richmond,” said Dr. Michael Gill, Superintendent of Schools.

HRGS-CTA is a regional three-week summer residential program designed for gifted Career and Technical Education (CTE) students who have demonstrated accomplishment, aptitude, and interest in CTE curricula and careers. The program will focus on the development of workplace readiness and entrepreneurial skills. Skills will be cultivated and honed through group problem solving activities, guest speakers from the business and academic communities, visits to regional businesses leaders, and mentorship experiences designed to highlight workplace readiness. Participants will enjoy a fast-paced, exciting and relevant hands-on experience with students and staff who share their passion for career and technical education.

Applicants must be from Regions 1 and 3 school divisions and be rising juniors who are enrolled in at least one CTE course with a grade of “B” or better and expect to continue in the CTE program during their final two years of high school; or rising seniors who have completed at least one credit in a CTE course and/or are currently enrolled in a CTE course with a grade of “B” or better and expect to continue in the CTE program during their final year of high school.

Participating school divisions will send their top three candidates to the HRGS-CTA Selection Committee by March 23, 2016. Each school division will be guaranteed one student participant, with 40 total students selected. Applicants will be notified of selections by April 11, 2016.

Virginia Delegate Chris Peace Recognizes debra of America February 17 2016

State Lawmaker leads passage of a House Resolution commending debra of America for its service to the rare disease community

RICHMOND, VA (February 17, 2016) -- Today, Brett Kopelan, Executive Director of debra of America, issued the following statement upon unanimous passage of an Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB) Awareness House Resolution (House Resolution No. 127) introduced by Delegate Chris Peace of the Virginia General Assembly.

"We thank Delegate Peace and the other co-patrons for leading this important effort of promoting EB awareness in the Commonwealth of Virginia. His work to draw attention to Virginians about EB's dire effects upon those living with and caring for all Virginians impacted by EB in the Commonwealth are to be commended. This Resolution is a positive step for raising needed awareness towards the development of a cure or treatment to overcome this devastating disease. debra of America is honored to receive the House of Delegate’s recognition as a leader in the fight to cure the worst disease you’ve never heard of."

Virginia House of Delegates, Christopher K. Peace issued the following statement:

“I am delighted to offer this resolution commending debra of America for their efforts to increase awareness of and support to individuals with Epidermolysis Bullosa, a rare, genetic connective tissue disorder characterized by extremely fragile skin. As the father of a son with EB, I applaud debra of America for providing much needed support of our children and their parents.”

House Resolution No. 127 calls attention to the history of debra of America’s work to support families impacted by EB through funding research and providing services. It also draws attention to burdens associated with this rare disease that impacts approximately 25,000 Americans and one in every 20,000 children born in the United States. A copy of House Resolution can be found here.

About debra of America: Founded in 1980, debra of America is a non-profit organization which provides comprehensive support to those with Epidermolysis Bullosa. It is the only national organization in the United States to offer free Programs and Services to affected individuals and their caregivers and fund research for an EB cure and treatment. EB is a rare, genetic connective tissue disorder characterized by extremely fragile skin and the development of recurrent, painful blisters, open sores, disfiguring scars, disabling musculoskeletal deformities, internal complications, and shortened life-span. Research indicates that one in every 20,000 children in the U.S. are born with the disease. There is currently no known EB cure or treatment. For more information, visit: debra.org

About the Virginia General Assembly: The Virginia General Assembly is the oldest, continuous law-making body in the New World. According to its website, it dates from the establishment of the House of Burgesses at Jamestown in 1619. It is a legislative body comprised of elected representatives who serve in a part-time capacity in the House of Delegates and State Senate. Delegate Christopher "Chris" Peace has served as a Delegate from the 97th House District since 2006 representing Kent County and parts of Hanover and King William's Counties in Virginia.

Social Media:  Facebook/Twitter: @debraofamerica, Hashtag: #EBawareness

FOR MEDIA COVERAGE: Casey Fitzpatrick, Events & Communications Director: 212-868-1573 x105, casey@debra.org

 

 

Delegate Peace Highlights District Focused Legislative Successes at Session’s “Half-time” 2016

Del. Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) reports on several legislative successes at what is officially termed, “Crossover.” At this mid-point of the legislative session, several items on Del. Peace’s legislative agenda passed the House and will now be heard by the Senate of Virginia. House Bill 1312, which passed unanimously on February 16th, creates a special license plate in memory and honor of the late Hanover educator Meg Menzies.  Peace’s bill will direct DMV to issue license plates for supporters of Meg’s Miles, raising awareness of safety of runners.  Menzies was tragically killed while running on Route 54 with her husband, an Ashland police officer.  “This legislation and subsequent plate will generate more awareness of drunk and distracted driving as well as honor Meg’s memory,” said Peace.

“Not just as an accomplished athlete, but as a devoted mother, sister, daughter and wife, in her short life of 34 years Meg was able to make a tremendous impact to people all over the Richmond region as a mentor for fellow athletes, and others for good will. This license plate is meant to provoke conversation and a sense of community whether it be runners, walkers, families, people of faith and anyone wanting to make a difference in the world around them,” expressed Ryan Hudson, who helped organize special plate initiative.

On behalf of Virginia’s state recognized tribes in King William County and others across the Commonwealth, Del. Peace introduced House Bill 814. HB 814 is a measure to authorize the Secretary of the Commonwealth, as liaison to these tribes, to establish a Virginia Indian advisory board to assist him in reviewing applications seeking recognition as a Virginia Indian tribe and to make recommendations to the Secretary, the Governor, and the General Assembly on such applications and other matters relating to recognition. The bill sets out the membership and powers and duties of any Virginia Indian advisory board established by the Secretary of the Commonwealth.

Speaking to passage of the bill, Stephen Adkins, Chief of the Chickahominy Tribe, “HB 814 provides a much needed, credible process for according state recognition to Indian groups seeking recognition as Virginia Indian Tribes. As described in HB 814, an advisory council, which includes scholars/experts in subject matter required to distinguish between Indian groups and Indian tribes, will vet documentation and provide objective feedback to inform the legislature’s decision regarding granting state recognition to Indian Groups.”

“As Chief of the Upper Mattaponi Indian Tribe, I think House Bill 814 is the only proper way to deal with recognition issues with Tribes and Tribal Groups of Virginia. A Virginia Indian Advisory Board is the only logical way to review these requests and make educated recommendations to the General Assembly,” stated Frank Adams, Chief of the Upper Mattaponi Tribe.

Eli’s Law, introduced as House Bill 682 patroned by Peace, was incorporated into House Bill 177 and passed by a vote of 99-0. Eli’s Law will require those who commit malicious bodily injury or aggravated malicious bodily injury against a child under 13 years of age to be placed on the Virginia Sex Offenders & Crimes Against Minors registry.  Placement of offenders on the register alerts parents and businesses to take extra precautions to ensure that children are not placed in dangerous situations.

Speaking in committee, Peace commented, “I think that common sense tells you that if you’re going to take an infant child and bash its brain in then you’re going to be pretty likely to commit some other type of crime later. I think public notice is the minimum that we would expect in certain circumstances such as that.”

Talking about the passage of Eli’s Law, Mechanicsville constituent, who is the child’s mother, Courtney Maddox stated, “My son, nearly lost his life to abuse in 2010. I went to Delegate Peace after noticing there was no law that requires those who nearly kill children, to be placed on the Crimes Against Minors registry. [Peace] took this very seriously and he created legislation known as Eli's Law. I thank him for seeking to protect our most valuable resource, our children. I thank Chris, for all he is doing for our families, our community and most of all, our children.”

Another important Peace measure passed unanimously, House Bill 668 provides that a court shall consider the circumstances and factors that contributed to the dissolution of the marriage, specifically including any ground for divorce, in determining the nature, amount, and duration of a spousal support award. This legislative idea was brought to Peace by a constituent who was a victim of domestic violence.  She pressed charges on her assaulter who was subsequently convicted and incarcerated.  When she divorced her assaulter while he was incarcerated, the judge awarded him spousal support.  Peace felt that no victim should be compelled to pay their attacker and took steps to prevent this from happening in the future with this common sense legislation.  “To allow otherwise is truly insult to injury,” said Peace, an attorney.

Also passing at Crossover, by a vote of 97-2, House Bill 675 will allow Auxiliary Grant (AG) beneficiaries to live in supportive housing closer to communities in which they reside. This bill will allow individuals with disabilities and/or specialized housing needs a broader choice of housing options to meet their needs.  An AG is an income supplement for individuals who receive Supplemental Security Income (SSI) and certain other aged, blind, or disabled individuals who reside in a licensed assisted living facility (ALF) or an approved adult foster care (AFC) home.

“Virginian’s deserve access to quality, affordable healthcare, and this measure will increase portability and choice in this vulnerable population primarily those with mental illness,” said Delegate Chris Peace (R-Hanover), yet far too often, local communities are denied increased access to basic services.”

“Decisions made by unelected bureaucrats lead to less choice and higher costs. Delegate Peace has been a champion for reforming our COPN laws so that local communities and private businesses partner in the selection of services needed in their backyard while allowing competition to drive costs down.”

At the beginning of the 2016 session, Delegate Peace joined several other senior Republican members of the Virginia House of Delegates to introduce legislation to reform Virginia’s Certificate of Public Need (COPN) laws. Policies spanned from full repeal to various other significant reforms to COPN, to create a more free-market healthcare system, improve access to quality and affordable care for patients while controlling costs. COPN measures passed and will now be heard by the Senate.  Peace is the chief co-patron of House Bills 193 and 350.

“As you can see from these bills, working to enact common sense policies to increase the quality of life of residents of the 97th District and across the Commonwealth is top priority for me.  I am proud to have taken repeated steps forward as we meet the half way point of the 2016 session.  I urge you to contact your Senator to encourage his support of these important measures,” said Peace.