Central Virginia -- Returning to the Capitol Friday from cutting the ribbon on a new DMV-Select service which the Delegate brought to New Kent County for its residents, Del. Christopher K. Peace (R-97th House District) reports on several legislative and district related successes that have occurred this Session. Officially termed, “Crossover,” which reflects the mid-point of the legislative session, several items on Del. Peace’s legislative agenda passed the House and will now be heard in the Senate. After over a year of concern arising from the direct application of industrial sludge to lands in his legislative district, Peace successfully navigated House Bill (HB) 1364 through the House unanimously to allow local governments authority for testing and monitoring applied industrial sludge. Nothing in this legislation adds to or removes the existing authority of the Department of Environmental Quality to issue permits regarding the waters and adjacent lands of the Commonwealth. The program is built upon the existing monitoring practice for biosolid application. “Residents of our District deserve the assurance that this practice is managed in a safe manner and further monitored for potential negative environmental impact,” stated Peace.
It is no secret that New Kent County has suffered financial loss from the failure of the Virginia Racing Commission, Colonial Downs and the leading horsemen’s groups to contract and hold live thoroughbred racing at Colonial Downs in 2014. For the better part of a year, Peace has been working hard on behalf New Kent residents to return horse racing in the Commonwealth. In addition to petitioning the Attorney General, pleading with the Commission, and convening numerous stakeholder meetings over recent months, Peace is pleased to report that House Bill 1826, which he co-sponsored, revises the Virginia horse racing statutes and financial distributions after Colonial Downs' surrender of its unlimited license to own and operate the racetrack in New Kent County and the nine satellite facilities (OTBs) in Virginia. “Colonial Downs was a major revenue source for New Kent County. Working toward resolution of this matter will have a positive impact upon the county and residents,” said Peace. Peace successfully amended the legislation to provide a hold harmless provision for the County which will work to restore the framework for revenues to return to county coffers. The Tidewater Review, a local newspaper, published an article describing the lengths to which Delegate Peace went to secure New Kent’s interests: “Peace pushed the New Kent perspective into the legislative process. He collaborated with Scott on Scott’s original bill, which was used as a vehicle in the House for the compromise. Peace and Scott amended the original bill to protect New Kent’s financial interest in the track. Peace said ‘New Kent needs to be more than an afterthought.’”
Public safety and local law enforcement remains a top priority for Delegate Peace who successfully patroned a budget amendment on behalf of Hanover County to provide a small amount of funding for the Pamunkey Regional Jail Authority, which serves Caroline and Hanover counties. The funds will be used for capital cost reimbursement for the conversion of a recreation area to dormitory beds needed to relieve overcrowding. Additionally, Peace also successfully passed House Bill 2092, which is the by-product of a year-long crime commission study to improve standards for Virginia's sexual assault & domestic violence victim support, intervention and prevention services. This report and subsequent legislative initiative began with his legislation last year (House Bill 885, 2014) to increase compensation for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence well before the Ray Rice / NFL scandal.
Another follow-up to legislation of previous years came this week as well. Superintendent Jamelle Wilson alerted Delegate Peace that Hanover County received a $100,000 planning grant for enhancing its current career and technical educational (CTE) offerings through a Governor’s School summer program. Delegate Peace passed budget language last year as a companion to his 2014 bill (House Bill 887) to establish a new CTE Governor’s School. It is anticipated that this effort will produce an excellent and enhanced offering for talented students in the Richmond region.
In an effort to further protect the youth of our communities, House Bill 2082 is a measure to grant civil immunity by extending current Good Samaritan laws to individuals who forcibly enter a motor vehicle to remove an unattended minor at risk of serious bodily injury or death, provided the person has attempted to contact emergency personnel prior to such entry. The bill passed with unanimous support. Speaking its passage, Delegate Peace asserted, “There have been too many preventable tragedies in our area due to small children being left in hot cars. I am enthusiastic about the early success of this measure to make our community a safer place for children. I will continue to work to make the 97th District and the Commonwealth the best place to live, work and raise a family.”
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.