Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) and Mrs. Anne Geddy Cross were recently appointed to serve on the Board of Trustees of the St. John’s Church Foundation. “As a native of Hanover County, I am pleased to contribute to the memory of our first Governor, Patrick Henry, as well as contribute to the joint marketing and economic development efforts of our area. We have a rich Virginia heritage and need to work to find creative opportunities for promoting these valuable resources,” stated Peace. “I look forward to serving on the Board as we continue to advance the mission of St. John’s Church."
According to their website, the mission of St. John’s Church Foundation, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization, is to ensure the historic preservation of St. John’s Church, a National Historic Landmark in recognition as the original location of Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death” speech, and to provide educational programs, tours and reenactments.
Speaking to the appointments, Sarah Whiting, Executive Director said, "We are thrilled to have Delegate Chris Peace and Mrs. Cross as new board members. Their leadership, character and commitment to serving our community is invaluable and vital to sustaining the work of St. John's Church Foundation."
For more information or to schedule a visit to St. John’s Church visit: http://historicstjohnschurch.org/
Virginia House of Delegates Speaker and Chairman of the joint House-Senate Committee on Rules William J. Howell (R-Stafford) announced Thursday $7,356,129 in legislative branch savings that will be returned to the general fund at the end of fiscal year 2014. This includes over $3.7 million in savings from legislative branch agencies and over $3.5 million in savings from legislative commissions and councils. Speaker Howell made the following statement on the announcement: “These savings reflect the fiscally conservative and responsible approach to governing that Virginia taxpayers demand. The people of Virginia expect its leaders to set priorities, make tough decisions and ensure that government lives within its means. “I want to thank the agency heads, legislative branch employees and the board and commission members who have been efficient and effective stewards of taxpayer resources over the last several years. Since 2010, the legislative branch has returned over $19 million in savings to the general fund. Since 2003, the House of Delegates alone has returned over $5 million in savings. “The savings announced today are especially important given the potential budget shortfall for the current fiscal year and the next budget biennium. I am encouraging all legislative branch agencies to be very mindful of the resources and constraints due to this potential shortfall and will continue to demand nothing less than the utmost efficiency and effectiveness in the future.” A detailed list of balance reversions is listed below:
|Auditor of Public Accounts||
|Division of Capitol Police||
|Division of Legislative Automated Systems||
|American Civil War Sesquicentennial Commission||
|Division of Legislative Services||
|Chesapeake Bay Commission||
|Joint Commission on Health Care||
|Virginia Commission on Youth||
|Virginia Disability Commission||
|Joint Commission on Technology and Science||
|Small Business Commission||
|Autism Advisory Council||
|State Water Commission||
|Legislative Department Reversion Clearing Account||
As the tock clicks toward June 30, Governor McAuliffe's top allies in the Senate seem oblivious to the harm they are inflicting on Virginians.
Senator John Edwards (D-Roanoke) says there has been "no great outcry" to end the budget crisis, and now Senator and budget conferee Janet Howell (D-Fairfax) is leaving the country until June 24.
Meanwhile, for local governments and school boards, everything is on hold:
Superintendent Scott Brabrand sounded a note of worry about the not-yet-passed state budget during a Lynchburg City School Board meeting Tuesday night. In theory, school board members will vote to finalize the 2014-15 school year operating budget June 17, so Brabrand presented a budget summary document for their review. He cautioned the board may not be able to move ahead with finalizing the budget at that last planned school board meeting of the fiscal year, if state lawmakers don’t approve their own budget in the meantime. “We are not in a position yet to approve this budget until the state gives us guidance,” he said. “Everything really is on hold.”
Governor McAuliffe and Senate Democrats have held the budget, and the eight million Virginians who depend on it, hostage for 88 days in an effort to bring Obamacare's Medicaid expansion to Virginia. They are refusing to fund our schools, roads, first responders and local governments unless they get their way on Obamacare.
The budget crisis is creating tremendous uncertainty for local governments and threatens Virginia's AAA bond rating. With the Commonwealth facing a budget shortfall in excess of $1 billion, their refusal to act could leave budget writers without access to the rainy day fund, forcing significant cuts to core functions of government.
House leaders have offered a clear path to resolution: set aside Obamacare's Medicaid expansion and pass a budget immediately. This position is supported by over 100 local governments, school boards, business groups and local elected officials. The Virginia Chamber of Commerce says lawmakers should "set aside" any issue that may create an impasse and pass a budget to protect Virginia's reputation as a great state for business.
It is long past time to end this budget crisis. Governor McAuliffe and his allies should drop their demands for Obamacare, compromise and pass a clean budget right away.
-- Delegate Peace spreads word about Virginia529 College Savings Plan --
Each May, Virginia529 joins other state 529 plans in raising awareness of the importance of saving for college – and how tax-advantaged 529 plans can reduce student loan debt. The campaign culminates on May 29, the day observed as 529 College Savings Day (529 Day).
In honor of 529 Day, Virginia529 is giving families $50 matches for new accounts. We also will award one person $2,500 toward a new or existing Virginia59 account. Virginia529 College Savings Plan is a state agency that helps families save in advance for higher education. Since the General Assembly formed Virginia529 in 1994, it has grown to become the largest 529 plan with more than 2.3 million accounts.
“Investing in a Virginia529 savings plan allows families to plan for future tuition costs. Choosing which college or university one will attend is an important life decision. I am committed to help create greater access and affordability in higher education. If Virginia is going to attract 21st century technology, advanced manufacturing and other jobs of the creative class, we must have a strong workforce that is well educated. Education is the gateway to this opportunity,” said Peace.
Here are a few things you may not know about Virginia529:
- Because 529 plans can be used for technical, continuing education and advanced degree programs, anyone who can benefit from additional education can open a 529 account.
- A family can start a Virginia529 account with as little as $25 and then contribute to it as much and as frequently as they choose.
- Virginia residents may deduct contributions to Virginia529 accounts – up to $4,000 per account per year – from state income tax.
Have you been putting off opening a college savings account for your kids? Virginia529 has 50 reasons why you should start now. Open an account with at least $100 and Virginia529 will add $50 to reward you. Offer available through May 29, 2014. Visit www.virginia529.com/529day/ to learn more.
Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) issued the following statement Friday on Governor Terry McAuliffe's veto of House Bill 1212: "At a time when all Virginia elected officials should be working hard to restore the public's trust, Governor McAuliffe's decision to veto a bipartisan ethics reform bill that unanimously passed both the Republican House and Democratic Senate is a disappointing and unfortunate step in the wrong direction. This legislation was a key part of the General Assembly's efforts to strengthen and improve Virginia's ethics, transparency and disclosure laws."
House Bill 1212 and its identical Senate counterpart SB 650 would have prohibited the Governor, his campaign committee, and any political action committee established on his behalf from knowingly soliciting or accepting a contribution, gift, or other item with a value greater than $50 from persons and entities seeking loans or grants from the Governor's Development Opportunity Fund. The bills also restrict such gifts and contributions from persons and entities seeking loans or grants from the Fund.
The Governor’s Development Opportunity Fund is used to provide grants and loans to businesses to relocate to Virginia or expand in the state. The Governor has broad discretion in making awards, and awards are made without competitive bidding. The Fund presently has a balance of approximately $35 million, and could receive additional funds when the General Assembly completes action on the 2014-16 state budget.
Each bill passed the General Assembly unanimously. HB1212 was co-patroned by Delegates Jim LeMunyon (R-Chantilly) and Scott Surrovell (D-Mt. Vernon). SB650 was co-patroned by 24 Senators, including Democrats Dick Saslaw (R-Fairfax), Dave Marsden (D-Fairfax) and John Edwards (D-Roanoke).
Today is day 80 of Governor Terry McAuliffe's Obamacare budget impasse. For 80 days, Governor McAuliffe and the Democrat-controlled Senate have refused to pass a state budget unless it includes Obamacare's Medicaid expansion. They are holding hostage funding for schools, first responders and local governments, and threatening Virginia's AAA bond rating over one of the most controversial political issues in decades.
Now, Virginia localities are preparing for the worst.
Some local government officials in Virginia are starting to consider contingency plans for worst case scenarios as a budget impasse drags on toward a possible unprecedented state shutdown on July 1. There are concerns that state government offices could be shut down if a budget isn't passed. The effect will also be felt locally because Virginia provides more than $8 billion a year to cities and counties to help pay for public schools, law enforcement salaries and mental health services.Lee County in the southwest receives one of the highest shares of state aid. It lost it's only hospital last year.Board of Supervisors Chairman Charles Slemp Jr. said he's a longtime Republican who sides with McAuliffe on Medicaid expansion, saying his constituents need the help.
But Slemp that while he'd like to see Medicaid eligibility expanded, he'd rather have a state budget passed first. "Go ahead and pass the budget, let's get going with it," said Slemp, who added that Lee County has delayed passage of its own budget while it waits for the state.
Regardless of how you feel about Obamacare's Medicaid expansion, there is no justification for holding up the entire budget over a single issue, especially one as controversial as Obamacare. Virginia's teachers, first responders, and state employees are too important to be caught in the crossfire of a political fight. Candidate McAuliffe was right when he said "stop using the threat of a government shutdown as a bargaining chip in other negotiations, including over the healthcare law."
The clear path forward is to set Medicaid expansion aside and pass a budget now. Over 100 local governments, school boards, business groups and local elected officials have passed resolutions or written letters calling on the Governor to separate Medicaid expansion from the budget. The Virginia Chamber of Commerce says we should "set aside" any issues that may create an impasse. It's time to end the stalemate. Governor McAuliffe should drop his demands for Obamacare and let Virginia pass a budget.
-- Peace Awarded Excellence in Education and Workforce Development 2014 Business Legislative Report Card --
-- VA Chamber of Commerce Names Peace a champion of free enterprise --
Central Virginia – Each year following the General Assembly Session, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce develops a Legislative Report Card based on the priorities and expectations of Virginia's business community. The Legislative Report Card recognizes legislators for their support on initiatives that will help move Virginia forward, and additionally provides analysis of a legislator's support for the business community's priorities.
Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) was very pleased to be informed that this year, based on his voting record, he has received a grade of "A+" from the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. Peace's voting record indicated strong support for the business community's priorities. This award marks the third year in a row Peace has earned a top rating with the Chamber.
"This rating reflects my belief that low taxes create opportunities for job creation and economic growth. We need a smaller government for a stronger economy, but I strongly believe that there is much more work to be done to make this vision a reality. To improve our community’s quality of life and sustain Virginia’s economic recovery, government must lower the burden on taxpayers and respect individual liberty. For these reasons, I am pleased with this positive score,” commented Del. Peace
“We applaud Delegate Peace’s efforts in supporting the principles outlined in Blueprint Virginia. With the support of pro-business legislators like Peace, we can continue to strengthen Virginia’s business climate and maintain Virginia’s ranking as the Best State for Business,” said Barry DuVal, President and CEO, VA Chamber.
Additionally, the Chamber awarded Peace the Excellence in Education and Workforce Development Award for his efforts to promote early childhood education and the Transportation Reform Advocate Award for his promoting policies that enhance mobility, reduces congestion, and incorporates innovative smart road technologies.
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/
On Thursday, June 19, 2014, Fort Monroe will host "Music by the... Bay," at 6:45 p.m., which is open to the public. On Friday, June 20th, the Educators Institute will be held at Fort Monroe, and on Saturday, June 21st, the Historians and Scholars Session will be held at Hampton University. Registration information concerning the Symposium can be found at http://musem.hamptonu.edu/
Please also refer to the Commission's website for additional information at http://va1812bicentennial.dls.virginia.gov/
Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell recently appointed Delegate Christopher K Peace (R-Mechanicsville) to the Virginia Housing Commission. The mission of the Virginia Housing Commission is to study and provide recommendations to ensure and foster the availability of safe, sound and affordable housing for every Virginian. The Commission consist of 11 members, eight legislative members and three non-legislative citizen members. Five of the members of the House of Delegates are appointed by the Speaker of the House, three members of the Senate are appointed by the Senate Committee on Rules, and three non-legislative citizen members are appointed by the Governor.
Speaking about the appointment, Delegate Peace said "It is a great honor and responsibility to be entrusted to work with my colleagues to ensure that Virginia continues to move our housing opportunities forward." He continued “As a member of the General Laws Committee, I am tasked with deliberating over many bills that impact the housing industry. Additionally I work with affordable housing advocacy groups. Housing is not simply a pivotal economic engine, but also a key component in our quality of life.”
The Commission may also study and make recommendations relating to such other housing, real property, and community development issues as it may be called upon to consider or as may be desirable.
In early 2009, Peace organized a legislative working group which included for-profit and not-for-profit housing experts. In this "kitchen cabinet," a "Help Housing Now" housing policy package emerged and worked to address housing needs across the economic spectra including reforms to the living home tax credit, communities of opportunity incentives and ultimately establishment of the housing trust fund. Since that time, as Chairman of the House of Delegates Housing sub-committee, Peace continues to recognize that in a time of economic challenge elected leaders must come together to put Virginia first in bipartisan ways, working together for solutions particularly concerning an industry that employs so many directly and indirectly. In 2010, Delegate Peace was pleased to be named a “Housing Hero” by the Virginia Housing Coalition. This honor acknowledged his service to the public, particular and significant contributions to promoting affordable housing opportunities and legislative efforts to stimulate the housing market across the Commonwealth.
Today is day 47 of Governor Terry McAuliffe's Obamacare budget impasse. A new poll from Christopher Newport University shows that Virginia voters solidly oppose Medicaid expansion and overwhelmingly want the Governor and Senate Democrats to agree to a compromise that avoids a government shutdown.
Fifty-three percent of voters oppose Medicaid expansion while 41 percent support it, according to the poll. Among independents, 55 percent oppose expansion and 35 percent support it. Even in deeply Democratic Northern Virginia, support for expansion is mixed at best and within the margin of error.
“Democrats are losing the debate on expanding Medicaid in Virginia,” said Dr. Quentin Kidd, director of the Wason Center for Public Policy. “This is mostly because they are not convincing Independents that it will work. Voters seem to be moved by Republican skepticism. Significantly, even in the Democratic-friendly territory of Northern Virginia, support leads opposition by only 2%.”
Not surprisingly, Virginia voters overwhelmingly want to see an end to the threat of a government shutdown. According to the poll, 71 percent of voters want to see a compromise that avoids a state government shutdown.
The results of this poll speak for themselves. Virginia voters oppose Obamacare's Medicaid expansion and they want to see a compromise that avoids a government shutdown. The clear compromise is to immediately pass a clean budget that keeps state government open and continue the debate over Medicaid expansion later.
Click to find out about the public hearings scheduled by the Commonwealth Transportation Board to review the Six-Year Improvement Program including highway, rail and public transportation initiatives: VDOT