Delegate Peace Statement on Initial Bureaucratic Review of the Private Sector Application for a Trauma Center in New Kent County

Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) today issued the following statement on recent reports of the Virginia Department of Health’s (VDH) initial review of an application for construction of a level 2 trauma center with MRI and CT imaging services to be located in New Kent County: “I am disturbed by a recent report stating VDH staff’s initial review of a COPN application for imagining equipment to be located at a proposed level 2 trauma center in New Kent recommends denial. I am appalled that state bureaucrats may deny rural New Kent residents access to high quality health care and jobs. Reports like these may affect the future need for a Certificate for Public Need (COPN) program in Virginia. I will express my concerns directly to the State Health Commissioner and am strongly considering taking steps toward legislative action.”

“In my letter of support to the State Health Commissioner, I firmly stated the positive impacts this proposal will have for New Kent County and citizens. This project will be extremely beneficial for New Kent County, its residents and families. I also believe that it may help with attracting jobs and new taxpayers to the county. Notwithstanding the health benefits, New Kent County has recently experienced the loss of a major industry and economic engine in Colonial Downs and economic growth is a priority of mine for the county. The potential addition of a new industry that employs locally and provides health and well-being to families would be a welcomed event.”

“I ask, shouldn’t private industry such as a for-profit hospital be able to make up its own mind about how to invest in expansion of services into new areas? Are the citizens of New Kent less worthy of a scanner than those in other larger localities? I feel the COPN system in Virginia may be past its sell by date. I will continue to stand firm in my support of this project on behalf of my constituents and friends in New Kent.”

Virginia State Board of Elections Proposes Changes to Voter Registration Form

Del. Peace questions changes to regulations removing currently required inquiries on citizenship or felony convictions Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) announced his concern that Virginia’s Secretary of Administration and the State Department of Elections are proposing regulations to overhaul the voter registration form. "What they are proposing may violate the Virginia Constitution, and go against the Code of Virginia," said Del. Peace.

The Constitution of Virginia, Article 2, Section 2 states very clearly:

“Applications to register shall require the applicant to provide the following information on a standard form: full name; date of birth; residence address; social security number, if any; whether the applicant is presently a United States citizen; and such additional information as may be required by law. All applications to register shall be completed by or at the direction of the applicant and signed by the applicant, unless physically disabled. No fee shall be charged to the applicant incident to an application to register….and whether the applicant has ever been adjudicated to be mentally incompetent or convicted of a felony, and if so, under what circumstances the applicant's right to vote has been restored."

The McAuliffe Administration's proposed changes announced by the Virginia State Board of Elections would allow people registering to vote to skip questions on their citizenship or felony convictions.

Speaking to the proposal, Peace asserted, “If implemented, these changes could of course make it easier to commit voter fraud, and would substantially undermine bills passed in recent years to address voting by felons, residents of other states, and photo ID. This proposal would never pass our House of Delegates, which may explain why it is being brought administratively through the State Board.”

Local registrars have reviewed the proposed changes to the application and the regulations. The greatest concerns expressed by the Voter Registration Association of Virginia (VRAV) Region 3 registrars, which includes Hanover, King William, and New Kent, were about the proposed regulations which set forth what would be considered a material omission from the application and what would be considered an immaterial omission.

VRAV Region 3 noted that §24.2-418 of the Code of Virginia mandates that a voter provide certain information in order to register to vote. However, the proposed regulations counter those specific mandates in several instances. The group feels and strongly urges that the regulations be revisited and revised to be in accordance with the specific mandates of the Code of Virginia.

House Speaker William J. Howell applauds creation of GO Virginia business coalition

Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) on Tuesday applauded the Virginia business community for the launch of Virginia Initiative for Growth and Opportunity in Each Region, or GO Virginia. GO Virginia is a coalition of business leaders working to promote collaboration between state and local government and the private sector in order to grow Virginia’s economy. The coalition was announced Tuesday in a press conference at Virginia’s Biotechnology Park. "Today’s announcement is the result of nearly two years of hard work by Virginia’s most prominent and successful business leaders and the beginning of a collaborative effort to grow and strengthen Virginia’s economy," said Speaker Howell. "This coalition was necessitated by the clear acknowledgement that Virginia’s economy is struggling. We rank near the bottom of the nation for economic growth and our status as one of the nation’s best states for business is rapidly falling. More needs to be done to create good paying jobs for Virginia families, inspire entrepreneurs to build new businesses and attract the world’s best companies to the Commonwealth."

Speaker Howell continued, "Whether it is prioritizing existing economic development funding to incentivize regional collaboration or streamlining and improving our workforce development programs, I am confident that the General Assembly will be able to work with this coalition of business leaders to develop ideas that can be turned into actionable policies in order to power a brighter future for Virginia."

"Finally, I want to thank Dubby Wynne, Tom Farrell, Heywood Fralin, Wick Moorman, and other business leaders from around the state who put their time and energy in to building this coalition,” Howell concluded. “I look forward to making GO Virginia a success."

Peace Statement on New Kent Level 2 Trauma Center Proposal

Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) today issued the following statement on the recent announcement of a proposed level 2 trauma center to be located in the Bottoms Bridge area of New Kent County: “I was honored to be asked in March to submit a letter of support on behalf of the County and the applicant to establish an outpatient imaging center with CT and MRI services at a freestanding emergency department in New Kent County to the Virginia Department of Health.”

“This project will be extremely beneficial for New Kent County, its residents and families. I also believe that it may help with attracting jobs and new taxpayers to the county. Notwithstanding the health benefits, New Kent County has recently experienced the loss of a major industry and economic engine in Colonial Downs and economic growth is a priority of mine for the county. The potential addition of a new industry that employs locally and provides health and well-being to families would be a welcomed event.”

In a recent article authored by Andre jones of the New Kent Chronicle dated 7/20/15, County Administrator Rodney Hathaway confirmed the possibility of a medical facility in Quinton and he was quoted therein: “The proposal is currently going through a variety of public hearings being hosted by the Virginia Health Commission (VHC),” Hathaway said. “Their next one is July 29 and I know it is becoming a topic of discussion that is gaining steam.”

 

State Grant Funding Awarded to New Kent County Airport

Delegate Peace, Chairman of House Appropriations Transportation Committee, Welcomes Needed Support for County Airport Central VA –Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-97th District) who serves as the Chairman of House Appropriations Transportation Committee today announced that the New Kent County Airport was issued a grant agreement for maintenance improvements in the amount of $21,587.  Funds were awarded by the Virginia Department of Aviation.  “I am so pleased that the state can provide these funds for capital costs helping to keep the New Kent airport well maintained into the future,” said New Kent’s Delegate Peace.

Grant funds will be utilized for the purchase of much needed equipment to help maintain the premises.  State aviation grant funding programs assist public-use airports with a variety of maintenance and improvement activities.

In a letter to Delegate Peace, Randall P. Burdette, Director of the Virginia Department of Aviation stated, “We are pleased to be able to provide this financial assistance to the New Kent County Airport, which we believe is an important component of the Commonwealth’s statewide transportation system as well as an important contributor to the region’s overall economic development.”

The Virginia Department of Aviation is a state transportation agency whose mission is to cultivate an advanced aviation system that is safe, secure, and provides for economic development; promotes aviation awareness and education.

Peace Statement on King v. Burwell

Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) today issued the following statement on the Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Burwell. “In a recent split decision, the Supreme Court reaffirmed elements of the so-called Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as "Obamacare." Numerous families and businesses across the 97th District have experienced the negative impacts of Obamacare, including the punitive impacts of higher taxes, businesses creating fewer full-time jobs, health care plans that have been cancelled, skyrocketing premiums and higher out-of-pocket costs. As many as, if not more than, 250,000 Virginians had health care plans they enjoyed cancelled under Obamacare. Moreover, Virginia premiums are expected to increase by 11 to 14% this year. 10 out of 19 insurance companies have reported increases of more than 10%. Premiums have increased in Virginia by as much as 67% in some cases since 2013. The Court’s decision only serves to reinforce these adverse conditions. Instead, I stand with the people of our district to continue to protect Virginians from these negative effects of Obamacare.

“During my service, I have led budget efforts to strengthen our health care safety net without expanding our broken Medicaid system here in Virginia. I have also championed several potential solutions to our broken health care system. For example, I introduced the Virginia Health Care Compact which would give the state more flexibility with its Medicaid program through federal block grants. Along with former Senator Cuccinelli, I filed and fought for legislation to allow Virginians the ability for interstate purchase of health insurance where persons could purchase less expensive plans from other states without the heavy burdens of mandated benefits.

“Regardless of the Court's opinion, our Congress stands on the front lines to repeal and replace The Affordable Care Act which remains deeply flawed. We as state lawmakers must do all we can to keep health care costs under control, provide flexibility to families and encourage businesses to create jobs.”

Peace Continues to Support Access to Quality Health Care Facilities

-- This week is Virginia Hospital Week across the Commonwealth --

CENTRAL VA- Virginia’s hospitals employ 123,508 people, and generates $34.8 Billion in economic activity.  Senate Joint Resolution 346, passed during the 2015 session, designates this week, May 10th to 16th is Virginia Hospital Week.  It is a week to thank and commend the dedicated medical and support staff for their service to the health, well-being, and preventative health education of Virginia residents.  Virginia’s 107 hospitals employ more than 123,000 individuals, generating more than $34 billion in economic activity; and our hospitals rank among the top three employers in 45 percent of Virginia’s counties and cities.

“Access to quality health care improves outcomes for Virginia communities.  As a member of the Joint Commission on Health Care and the House Health, Welfare, and Institutions Committee, I work directly on advancing health care policy,” stated Peace.

Speaking about the week, James B. Cole, Chairman of the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association Board of Directors and President and CEO of Virginia Hospital Center noted, “Virginia is fortunate to be home to world class hospitals in every region. In fact, nearly every Virginian lives within twenty miles of a hospital that is open twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, three hundred and sixty five days a year. This access to quality healthcare is crucial to the well-being of our communities. It is also equally critical to our economy. Virginia’s hospitals generate $34.8 billion in economic activity a year and employ 123,508 people.”

In celebration of this week, Virginians will find posters highlighting Virginia Hospital Week throughout hospitals in the Commonwealth.  Additionally, visit the website at www.VirginiaHospitalWeek.com to learn more about Virginia’s hospitals and the great work they do.

The mission of the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association is “to help our members improve the health status of the communities they serve.”  Their vision is: “Health care for all that is high-quality, high-value, compassionate and respectful.  Health care defined to include all services needed to achieve optimum health. Virginia to be the healthiest state in the nation.” To learn more about VHHA visit:  http://www.vhha.com/index.html

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. 

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DELEGATE CHRIS PEACE ANNOUNCES HIS BID FOR RE-ELECTION TO VIRGINIA’S 97TH HOUSE DISTRICT IN 2015

Small-business, non-profit, human services leaders and advocates joined at a breakfast today to praise Chris for his efforts to fight for the disabled, seniors, women and children, and victims of domestic violence. Mechanicsville, VA - Delegate Christopher K. Peace announced today that he will seek re-election to the 97th District in the House of Delegates. Headlining Peace’s kick-off breakfast hosted at the American Legion Post 175in Mechanicsville, Congressman David Brat (R-7th District) complimented the Delegate for his conservative leadership in Richmond and for his thoughtful approach to representative democracy. Hanover Supervisors Canova Peterson and Angela Kelly-Wiecek, Clerk Frank Hargrove, Jr., Treasurer Scott Miller, Commonwealth Attorney Trip Chalkley, New Kent Sheriff Wakie Howard, Supervisor Thomas Evelyn, and King William Commissioner of the Revenue Sally Pearson among others joined Peace for the kickoff. Delegate Peace’s father, Dr. Karl Peace, also was present for this special event.

Delegate Peace has represented the 97th House District since first being elected in 2006, and he 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. On announcing his candidacy for re-election as the Republican nominee, Delegate Peace prepared the following statement,

“With great humility, I intend to seek re-election to the office of Delegate for the 97th District in the Virginia General Assembly. At home, my office remains creative and responsive to all constituent concerns. In Richmond, I want to represent the people’s best interests in developing and managing state public policy. I want to earn your vote as one one of Virginia’s most business-friendly conservatives with a voting record focused 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.”

Speaking to Del. Peace’s impact on the brain injury community, Jason Young, Executive Director, Community Brain Injury Services stated that his recent legislative successes will increase the quality of life of residents across the District and the Commonwealth.  Additional remarks were offered by Kristie VanAudenhove, Executive Director of Virginia Sexual & Domestic Violence Action Alliance, and Sheree Hedrick, Executive Director, Hanover Safe Place.  With the passage of recent domestic violence reform measures Peace’s work will streamline services and increase efficiencies to better address the needs of victims of domestic and sexual abuse.

Peace’s heart for strengthening families and protection of children in our communities was highlighted by Janet Kelly, former Virginia Secretary of the Commonwealth.  Mrs. Kelly shared details about personal interactions with Peace on matters of family law, adoption, and foster care.  Melissa Ball, a Hanover resident and small business owner, stated that just as she wants to keep all of her well performing employees and in much the same way hopes the voters of the District will “re-hire Delegate Peace this November.”

In his prepared statement to media, Peace outlined how DC lawmakers have been the source of policy after policies that make it harder to create jobs. He noted how in Richmond the Assembly passed legislation making it easier for small businesses to find the funding to start and grow. This efficient and effective leadership of which Peace has been a part is total absent in Washington, D.C. where there is rampant debt, deficits and higher taxes. Alternatively in Richmond there are balanced budgets and cuts in discretionary spending. In fact, the House has killed 26 separate tax increases worth over $30 B since 2003, and Peace strongly opposed expanding Obamacare in Virginia. Last year’s $2.4 B shortfall crisis was solved by not by grabbing the “free” money from Obamacare but by making tough choices to balance the budget. Virginia now spends $1B less in general fund dollars than in last year’s original budget.  For all those working families in the District, the legislature also eliminated $11.7 M in fees and $33 M in debt proposed by Governor McAuliffe.  Working together against future shortfalls, Republicans and Democrats pre-paid the 2017 rainy day fund deposit.

Delegate Peace’s priorities last session and going forward will remain promoting an atmosphere which will encourage the private sector to create good and well-paying jobs, a state government which will partner with our localities to improve our schools, and ensure that college is more affordable, and ultimately to protect our most vulnerable citizens. Peace continued in his re-election statement,

“I am seeking re-election to represent the home and community that I love. I commit to work every day to find solutions for hard working families so that it becomes a better place to live, work and raise a family. While challenges exist, I believe that there are no problems that we cannot solve together as a community. When we decide that America remains the greatest country in the world with a dream intact, we will realize greater opportunities. When we reject the divisive tone of our local and state politic, we will be able to achieve great things for our shared community.

Working together we can continue to improve how government serves its people in more efficient and effective ways. We can and must keep the burden of taxes from increasing on our citizens and businesses and we must never forget who we are and what we believe in. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve and I look forward to continuing to represent the citizens of this District in the Virginia House of Delegates for another two years.”

If you would like to contact the Peace campaign, please feel free to contact the Delegate personally at info@chrispeace.com , visit www.chrispeace.com, or remit correspondence to his office at P.O. Box 819, Mechanicsville, VA 23111.

 

 

Governor McAuliffe Announces 55 New Jobs in Hanover County

Mavalério to invest $5 million to establish first U.S. production operation ~ RICHMOND - Governor Terry McAuliffe announced today that Mavalério, a Brazilian manufacturer of candy and other confectionary products, will invest $5 million to establish its first U.S. production operation in Hanover County. Virginia successfully competed against Delaware and Florida for the project, which will create 55 new jobs.

Speaking about today’s announcement, Governor McAuliffe said, “I am thrilled to announce that Mavalério has chosen the Commonwealth and Hanover County for its first U.S. operation. Winning this significant project is another testament to Virginia’s global competitiveness, and creating high-tech jobs is another step forward in building a new Virginia economy.”

“Virginia’s ability to continually attract international businesses is demonstrated by this project,” said Maurice Jones, Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade. “Some of Mavalério’s largest customers are located right here in the Commonwealth, and the location of this new operation will help the company grow its footprint in the U.S. market. We welcome Mavalério to Hanover County and to Virginia.” Mavalério, founded in 1969 and based in Sao Paulo, Brazil, is the largest producer of decorative confectionary in Latin America, currently exporting to more than 20 countries. Over the years, the company has been growing and innovating, serving domestic and foreign markets the most diverse and tasty products, which helped Mavalério become the largest manufacturer of the decorative confectionery industry in Latin America.

“Mavalério is very excited about this new venture in the United States,” said Fernando Bettin, Mavalério director of operations. “We have chosen the state of Virginia because we can reach 55 percent of the U.S. population within 750 miles, and we couldn’t be more pleased with our location in Hanover County. As a manufacturer of sugar confectionery toppings, interstate, port and airport access are critical to maintain our supply chain. The Greater Richmond Partnership and Hanover County are providing excellent support to make it all happen.”

The Virginia Economic Development Partnership worked with Hanover County and the Greater Richmond Partnership to secure the project for Virginia. Governor McAuliffe approved a $50,000 grant from the Governor’s Opportunity Fund to assist Hanover with the project. The company will receive benefits from the Port of Virginia Economic and Infrastructure Development Zone Grant Program. Additional funding and services to support the company’s employee training activities will be provided through the Virginia Jobs Investment Program.

“Hanover County is pleased to welcome Mavalério into our corporate community, and we are impressed with this company’s passion for producing quality products for the confections industry,” said Wayne Hazzard, chairman of the Hanover County Board of Supervisors. “They have selected Northlake as the location in which to launch their first U.S. production facility, and the Lewistown corridor on I-95 is poised for dynamic growth. We are confident that Mavalério will grow and prosper in Hanover County.” “This is a thoughtful decision by Mavalerio to choose Virginia and the Port of Virginia,” said John F. Reinhart, CEO and executive director of the Virginia Port Authority. “Virginia and Hanover County provide a strategic East Coast location within reach of our great port, which will serve as the company’s gateway to world markets.”

“I want to thank Mavalério for choosing Hanover County to place its new production operation,” said Senator A. Donald McEachin. “Both the new jobs that will be created and the addition of a good corporate neighbor will be assets for the community and are an important stepping stone in the new Virginia economy.”

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Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB): Public Hearing

The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) will be holding a public hearing in the Metro Regional Area, to give citizens the opportunity to review and provide comments on projects and programs to be included in the Fiscal Year 2016-2021 Six year Improvement Program (SYIP 2016-2021). The public hearing will start at 6PM on May 5, 2015 at the Thomas J. Fulghum Conference Center Chesterfield Career & Technical Center at Hull Street Road 13900 Hull Street Road, Midlothian, VA. You can also submit your comments by email or mail by May 22, 2015. For roads and highways: Six-YearProgram@VDOT.Virginia.gov , or Infrastructure Investment Director, Virginia Department of Transportation 1401 East Broad St., Richmond, VA 23219. For transit and public transportation: DRPTPR@drpt.virginia.gov , Public Information Office, Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation 600 East Main Street, Suite 2102, Richmond VA, 23219.

For more information, visit http://www.virginiadot.org/projects/syp-default.asp

Peace Rejects Attorney General’s Support of Unconstitutional Immigration Policy

Peace previously demanded that the AG join the lawsuit to support the Constitution and against Obama’s Immigration Policy. Central Virginia – On December 7, 2014, Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover) issued a letter to Attorney General Mark Herring “requesting that you take immediate action to add the Commonwealth to the growing coalition of sovereign states that are pursuing legal action challenging President Barack Obama’s recent actions changing immigration law.”

In the letter, Peace continued, “One of your many duties includes defending the rights and interests of the citizens of Virginia as enumerated in the Federal and State Constitutions. While you have not always chosen to do so as regards hyper-partisan policies, the President’s recent actions present another important opportunity for you to defend the Commonwealth’s interests. Maintaining and preserving a system of laws and the separation of powers which flows from the Constitution requires your immediate attention. I encourage you to join numerous states in defending our Constitution that you swore an oath to uphold.” To read Peace’s full letter to the AG: http://bit.ly/1H1pcMK

In response, yesterday, Attorney General Herring united with 14 other attorneys general and the District of Columbia in filing a brief with a federal appeals court that states the president’s November orders are both legal and beneficial.

“While I am deeply disappointed in the actions of Virginia’s Attorney General, I am not surprised. By joining in this brief, he continues to show that he has little desire to uphold the Constitution. The President has stated that the path to immigration reform should go through the proper legislative channels; and on that we agree. We need to enact common sense proposals to provide more effective enforcement of existing laws and improve coordination between federal, state, and local law enforcement authorities. I encourage our Congressman Dave Brat to assist us as state officials in this regard,” said Peace. “With reforms we honor the legal immigrants who have helped and continue to make our great Commonwealth the best place to 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.

 

Public Guardianship Program Receives Vital Investment for the Protection of Vulnerable Citizens

Peace successfully secured much needed funding for the adults who need assistance with legal and medical decisions adding protection and improved quality of life for them.   Central Virginia – During the 2015 Session, Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover), successfully championed a budget request which directs funding for Virginia’s Guardianship Program which helps indigent and incapacitated adults that need assistance with legal and medical decisions.  This program will assist residents of the 97th District and others across Commonwealth.

The program is administered by the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services (DARS) and currently serves 600 people statewide.  Currently there is an unmet need of about 900 unserved people waiting for assistance, particularly in underserved areas of the state such as southern and southwest Virginia.

This funding will allow 100 individuals to be served across 16 counties not currently served. New Kent County is also one of the unserved jurisdictions. Public Guardians are the guardians of last resort who assist individuals with critical health decisions.  These newly added funds will be used to fix these shortfalls in services and response.  Guardianship adds protection from abuse, neglect, and exploitation, and also makes sure that seniors will get the assistance needed to improve the quality of life.

From a recent letter to Peace, Lisa G. Furr, President of the Virginia Coalition for Prevention of Elder Abuse states, “On behalf of the Virginia Coalition for the Prevention of Elder Abuse, I write to thank you for your budget amendment for Virginia’s Public Guardianship Program, and for your advocacy in getting this item into the final budget.”

Speaking to this legislative success, Peace stated “Programs that increase the quality and life of our elderly, indigent, incapacitated, and aging citizens are important to our community and the quality of life of its citizens. When we talk about compassionate conservatism, this is what it looks like.”

According to their website, the VCPEA (Virginia Coalition for the Prevention of Elder Abuse) is a coalition of individuals and organizations working through public awareness, advocacy, and education to assure older Virginians a life free of abuse, neglect, and exploitation. For more information please visit their website at: www.vcpea.org

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.

 

Brain Injury Association of Virginia Gets Needed Boost

Del. Peace successfully secured funding for much needed improvements for the delivery of services to individuals with severe brain injuries Central Virginia- During the 2015 General Assembly session, Delegate Christopher K. Peace (R-Hanover), successfully patroned budget language which directs funding for community based brain injury services to residents of the 97th District and across the Commonwealth.

Successful budget language requires the Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental services to include stakeholders from the acquired brain injury community in their redesign process of the Medicaid waivers for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

Additionally, funding was allocated to increase support for programs providing brain injury services through the Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services.

Speaking to this important matter in a recent letter to Peace, Anne McDonnell, Executive Director of the Brain Injury Association of Virginia stated, “I cannot fully appreciate the difficult choices you and your Health and Human Resources subcommittee colleagues had to make, but I am confident the decisions were made with great care.  Your willingness to serve the citizens of Virginia with integrity and stewardship is greatly appreciated.”

According to their website, the mission of the Brain Injury Association of Virginia (BIAV) is a chartered state affiliate of the Brain Injury Association of America, and together we are “The Voice of Brain Injury through Help, Hope & Healing.”  For more information or to access services please visit:  http://www.biav.net/

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.

 

 

February 2015 General Fund Revenue Collections Up 21.7% From the Previous Year and Fiscal-Year-To-Date Collections Up 6.6%

The Timing of Individual Income Tax Refunds Accounted for the Surge RICHMOND - Governor McAuliffe announced today that revenue increased 21.7 percent in the month of February.  On a fiscal year-to-date basis, total revenue collections rose 6.6 percent, well ahead of the revised annual forecast of 4.7 percent growth contained in the enrolled budget bill as passed by the 2015 Session of the General Assembly.

The timing of individual income tax refunds drove the significant increase in February, which is not typically a major month for revenue collections.

“February’s revenue report is clearly good news about our state’s revenue picture and our economy,” said Governor McAuliffe. “However, as enormous sequestration cuts loom and congressional dysfunction continues to create uncertainty for our Commonwealth, we must continue to work together to grow, diversify and reduce our economic reliance on Washington. I am proud of the progress we are making, and look forward continuing our efforts to build a new Virginia economy.”

Collections of payroll withholding taxes rose 3.5 percent in February.  Collections of sales and use taxes reflecting January sales rose 4.2 percent in February.  February receipts include January post-holiday sales and gift card purchases, completing the holiday shopping season.

The Department of Taxation issued $374.0 million in refunds in February compared with $460.8 million last year, an 18.8 percent decline.  The filing season opened earlier this year than last year so a significant amount of the refund activity that occurred in February 2014 occurred in January this year.  For the January-February period, the Department of Taxation issued about 1 million refunds, the same amount as last January-February.  In addition, February revenue collections were positively affected because refunds to insurance companies with respect to the insurance premium income tax were processed in January this year as opposed to last year when the refunds were processed in February.

On a year-to-date basis, collections of payroll withholding taxes – 63 percent of General Fund revenues -- increased 4.2 percent, ahead of the revised annual forecast of 4.0 percent growth.  Sales tax collections - 19 percent of General Fund revenues – increased 4.4 percent through February, behind the annual forecast calling for a 4.9 percent increase.  Adjusting for the accelerated sales tax program and the 0.1 percent sales tax transfer to transportation required by the provisions of HB 2313, total revenues rose 6.5 percent through February, ahead of the adjusted forecast of 4.5 percent growth.

To view the full revenue report click here.

 

Pamunkey Regional Jail Authority Secures Needed Funds in State Budget

Del. Peace successfully secured the funding for much needed improvements due to overcrowding

Central Virginia- The Pamunkey Regional Jail Authority which is responsible for management of the local regional jail near Hanover Courthouse faced an uncertain financial future regarding construction work approved to increase bed space at the facility which serves Caroline and Hanover. Specifically, the conversion of recreation area to dormitory beds is needed to relieve overcrowding but the cost for that reimbursement was of equal import. Authority representatives and Hanover County requested budget support this session from Delegate Chris Peace (97th District) for this important public safety project.

Peace responded to this request by filing an amendment to the state budget to secure funds to reimburse 50% of the eligible costs for the Pamunkey Regional Jail (PRJ) Authority. The amendment was approved and adopted on February 26, 2015 by a 95-5 vote wind authorizes that reimbursement of $288,575.

Speaking to the funding, Hanover County Sheriff, Colonel David R. Hines, states, “This project not only ensures that the facility continues to provide a safe and secure environment for the staff and inmates, it maintains cost saving measures by repurposing space to meet existing and future needs. I am thankful for the leadership team at Pamunkey Regional Jail and Delegate Chris Peace for ensuring the Jail continues to provide services not only to Hanover, Caroline, and the Town of Ashland, but throughout the Commonwealth.”

Regional jails such as PRJ often house inmates that are eligible to be incarcerated at facilities run by the Department of Corrections. Said another way, local jails are housing state inmates at a discount to the state. At least 60 inmates per day are housed at PRJ who would normally be transferred to a Dept. of Corrections facility (if there was space available at one). The expectation is that number is likely to go up, especially as the Dept. of Corrections continues to face declining budgets and reduced funds for future expansion.

“I am proud to have been able to work with my House colleagues to facilitate reimbursement of close to $300,000 to an important part of Hanover's public safety infrastructure for improvements to the jail. As a strong supporter of our law enforcement community I am glad to be called a friend of public safety in the Commonwealth.”

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.

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House & Senate budget conferees announce conference report agreement, expect final vote on Thursday

~Includes a $129.5 million rainy-day fund pre-payment, eliminates $11.7 million in fees, funds comprehensive compensation package~ RICHMOND, VA – House and Senate budget negotiators reached an agreement on a budget conference report over the weekend and expect final votes to be held in both chambers as early as Thursday, General Assembly leaders announced today. The final budget conference report will be placed on members’ desks and posted online Tuesday morning, allowing for the 48-hour review period that House and Senate leaders established as a goal earlier this session.

The conference report includes a $129.5 million pre-payment to the state’s rainy-day fund, eliminates $11.7 million in fees proposed by Governor Terry McAuliffe and provides $153.5 million in funding for a comprehensive compensation package for state employees, state police officers, state-supported local employees, teachers and college faculty.

Speaking about the budget agreement, House Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) and Senate Finance Co-Chairman Walter A. Stosch (R-Henrico) said, “Since the end of last summer’s budget stalemate, we have sought to develop a new sense of collaboration and candor in the budget process. We worked together to adopt a supplemental budget last fall, taking unprecedented action to protect our state’s AAA bond rating during a period of deep uncertainty. We began our discussions very early in the process this year, meeting frequently with leaders in our chambers and seeking to reach agreement and consensus wherever possible. The results of these efforts could not be more positive. The budgets released by each chamber were as closely aligned as either of us can ever remember and our conferees have produced a conference report ahead of schedule. The conference report will be placed on legislators’ desks and posted online by Tuesday morning and we expect final votes to be taken as early as Thursday. It is our hope that this agreement can gain broad, bipartisan support in both chambers.”

“I applaud Chairman Jones, Chairman Stosch, Leader Cox, Leader Norment and all of the House and Senate budget conferees for their diligent efforts to complete a conference report ahead of schedule,” said House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). “I especially want to thank Chairman Jones and Chairman Stosch for the leadership they have demonstrated throughout this process. They have produced a conservative, responsible spending blueprint that wisely includes a rainy-day fund pre-payment, eliminates unnecessary debt obligations and onerous fees proposed by the Governor and invests in our state police officers and teachers. The House will take up the conference report on Thursday, after the 48-hour review period I ordered earlier this session.”

Senate Majority Leader and budget conferee Thomas K. Norment (R-James City) declared, “This budget agreement demonstrates that Virginia’s Republican majority is a governing majority. Since last summer, the House and Senate under Republican leadership have ended a six-month long budget stalemate, taken decisive action to eliminate a budget shortfall and now delivered the final amendments to the current spending plan ahead of schedule. We are working efficiently and effectively, and the results speak for themselves. This is a sound spending plan that includes no new taxes on hard-working families, invests in higher education and provides well-deserved pay raises to state employees, state police officers and our teachers.”

The conference report includes a $153.5 million comprehensive compensation package, funding the state share of a 1.5% teacher pay raise, a 2% college faculty pay raise, and a 2% across-the-board pay raise and compensation adjustments for years of service and to address salary compression for state police and state employees.

“Virginia is fortunate to have thousands of committed state employees whose day-to-day work is integral to the efficient and effective operation of government,” said Senator John Watkins (R-Chesterfield). “This conference report provides them with a well-deserved pay raise and includes funding to address compression for senior employees. It is my hope that this budget shows we are just as committed to them as they are to Virginia.”

“Our state employees work tirelessly to serve their fellow citizens and too often go without the recognition or reward they deserve,” said Delegate John M. O’Bannon (R-Henrico). “Virginia is consistently recognized as one of the nation’s best managed states, no doubt due in large part to the effectiveness of our state employees. The comprehensive compensation package included in this conference report is an effort to recognize and reward them for their hard work.”

The conference report agreement funds the state share of a 1.5% teacher pay raise and deposits $193 million to the teacher retirement fund. This is the second teacher pay raise funded by the General Assembly in the last three years. The conference report also includes $42 million in additional funding for higher education, including $19.8 million to incentivize enrollment and $10.1 million for higher education.

“Supporting our teachers, strengthening our schools and making college more affordable have been central objectives of the General Assembly this year. These goals are clearly reflected in the conference report,” said House Majority Leader and budget conferee Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights). “The final budget makes significant investments in higher education, providing an additional $42 million for our colleges and universities, including $10.1 million in new financial aid funding. These efforts demonstrate our clear commitment to strengthening our education system at all levels.”

“As we have worked to reform and strengthen our public school system over the last three years, our emphasis has been ensuring student success in the classroom,” said Delegate Tag Greason (R-Loudoun). “The General Assembly recognizes that the success of our students in the classroom starts with our teachers. The 1.5% teacher pay raise included in our budget, combined with additional funding for professional development and teacher training, is part of a concerted effort to give back to the professionals who give so much to our students.”

The conference report also restores $30 million in funding to local governments cut by the supplemental budget, includes a 2% pay raise for state-supported local employees and deposits $193 million into the teacher retirement fund.

“The House and Senate worked hard to mitigate the cuts to local governments during the budget shortfall,” said House Appropriations Committee Vice-Chairman Steve Landes (R-Augusta) and Senator Emmett Hanger (R-Augusta). “We are pleased to announce today that the conference report fully restores $30 million in funding to local governments, provides state-supported local employees with a pay raise and makes a significant investment in the teacher retirement fund, which is very important to local governments. This is a responsible budget that works for local governments.”

Budget Conference Report Highlights • Spends ~$1 billion less in general funds than originally adopted two-year budget • Does not raise taxes • Pre-pays $129.5 million for 2017 rainy-day fund deposit, restoring balance to ~$429 million • Eliminates $11.7 million in fees proposed by Governor McAuliffe o Restaurant Inspection Fee o VDACS Inspection Fee o Weights & Measures Fee o Underground storage cleanup deductible o Saltwater License Fee • Eliminates $33 million in debt proposed by Governor McAuliffe • Provides $43 million in funding in order to accelerate funding at 90% of VRS certified rates for the state employee retirement plans. • Pays cash for all college capital projects K-12 Education • State funding for 1.5% teacher pay raise, including support staff • Overall increase of $60 million for K-12 education compared to Governor McAuliffe’s budget proposal • Deposits an additional $43 million into teacher retirement fund compared to Governor McAuliffe’s budget proposal, bringing the total deposit to $193 million Compensation • Provides 2% across-the-board raise for state police and state employees, including compression for senior classified employees • $4 million to rollback cuts to state police overtime • 2% pay raise for state-supported local employees • 1.5% teacher pay raise, including support staff • 2% college faculty pay raise • Total compensation package is $153.5 million Local Government • Restores $30 million in funding cuts adopted by the supplemental budget to address shortfall • 2% pay raise for state-supported local employees • Deposits $193 million into teacher retirement fund, saving localities over $30 million in required teacher retirement costs Higher Education • Includes an additional $42 million for higher education, restoring 94% of cuts adopted by the supplemental budget to address shortfall o $19.8 million to incentivize enrollment o $10.1 million for financial aid o $5 million for research • 2% faculty pay raise • $1,000 per student incentive to encourage colleges and universities with low graduation rates to accept transfer students • $132 million for capital construction projects at James Madison, Virginia Tech, Longwood, Radford, Virginia Commonwealth University and Danville Community College. Healthcare Safety Net • ¬¬¬¬$132.9 million for healthcare safety net • Funding to provide targeted services to ~22,000 seriously mentally-ill patients, including a prescription drug benefit • Nearly doubles operational funding for free clinics – total of $6 million in funding • Funds behavioral health community services including three new PACT teams and six new drop-off centers • Increases funding for children’s psychiatry and crisis services Other Items • $27 million in funding for the Governor’s Opportunity Fund; earmarks $4 million for Jefferson Lab Ion Collider efforts • Authorizes bonds to construct two new Veterans Care Centers, one in Northern Virginia and one in Hampton Roads • $9 million for housing & homelessness o $8 million deposit into the Housing Trust Fund o $1 million for rapid rehousing efforts, including $500,000 specifically for veterans

Statement of Del. Chris Peace on Merits of Monitoring Industrial Waste

Over the last year, one of the issues most concerning to my constituents in Hanover, King William, and New Kent counties has been the recently approved permit to authorize the land application of industrial residual waste, which is comprised of natural animal wastes and pulp or paper by-product. As I have taken a close look at this issue, I crafted a solution that responds to those concerns, addresses negative environmental impacts, and keeps the burden away from local taxpayers. Among the legislation I filed this session was a measure prohibiting the use of this material in our district notwithstanding the approved state permit (HB1363). In addition, I filed legislation to empower localities whose leaders were likewise rightly concerned with the ability to employ a monitoring program- paid for by the producer of the waste, not taxpayers- similar to existing programs that monitor and test bio-solid waste (HB1364). I encourage a careful reading of the legislation This judiciously crafted legislation was strongly embraced by local county attorneys, local elected leaders and ultimately leading statewide environmental organizations such as the League of Conservation Voters and the Virginia Chapter of the Sierra Club. With funding provided and a mechanism to stop the application of industrial waste, the unanimous appeal of this legislation was clear. Localities and individuals across the Commonwealth will benefit greatly from this legislation that finally enables a push back against the land application of such materials. Unfortunately false and misleading information has recently been published by a citizens group suggesting that the very legislation which they once stood and supported now has untoward consequences. What is most amazing is that none of those who are now concerned have had the courtesy to speak with me in person or testify in committee about the same. Instead some have sought to surreptitiously work back channels to attain opinions of the Attorney General (OAG) in hopes that he would issue an opinion in their favor. Unfortunately for their extreme and erroneous anxiety, the OAG stated that the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) had all the authority it needed to lawfully approve the land application of waste back in December. So one can conclude objectively that these recent arguments have no foundation in truth, logic and fall victim to the time honored admonition to legislators that they should have “read the bill."

You may ask why I am choosing to dignify this effort of bloggers and other activists with a response. The truth is that I am compelled to because I believe in my personal honor and the truth. Just like I denounced slanderous yellow signs falsely alleging my position on Medicaid expansion I similarly write in response to an less-than honest article based on crack reporting of an anonymous memorandum written by a so-called “Environmental Law Group.” This frivolous memo asserts that the Commonwealth’s DEQ has no authority under existing law to permit the land application of industrial sludge as fertilizer. The memo further suggests that legislation sponsored by Senator Rosalyn Dance in the Senate and by me in the House to authorize local governments to test and monitor the land application of industrial sludge would, somehow, grant authority to DEQ to permit the land application. Unfortunately, however, this memorandum ignores existing Virginia statutes, case law and reality. You cannot grant a power to an entity that it already enjoys.

Virginia Code Section 62.1-44.15, originally enacted in 1970, authorizes the State Water Control Board and DEQ to regulate and require permits for industrial wastes.  Pursuant to this authority, the Board and DEQ have been regulating and issuing permits for the land application as fertilizer of industrial residuals from several food and paper producers in the state.  DEQ has applied essentially the same testing and monitoring requirements for this industrial sludge as it has used for the land application of “biosolids” which are the residuals from sewage treatment plants

The Virginia Supreme Court ruled in 2001 that local governments cannot enact general ordinances or zoning ordinances which would prohibit or render impracticable the use of biosolids as fertilizers when it is permitted by the state. Blanton v. Amelia County, 261 Va. 55 (2001).  There are two federal district court decisions from the same time period that are in accord. Synagro-Wwt, Inc v. Louisa County, 2001 U.S. Dist.., Lexis 10987 and O’Brien v. Appomattox County, 293 F.Supp. 2d 660 (2003).  There is no basis for arguing, thinking or hoping that the result would be different for the land application of industrial sludge as fertilizer.

In spite of this minority viewpoint of our legislative efforts, I remain committed to constituent concerns that not enough is known about the long term environmental impacts of the land application of industrial waste. To that end, I am also a co-patron of HJ 506 which requires a detailed and specific scientific study, by agencies other than DEQ, of the long term impacts of the land application of both biosolids and industrial sludge.  The bill to prohibit land application of industrial waste in the three counties I represent unfortunately failed in committee.  The other two bills passed both Houses of the General Assembly and will go to the Governor for signature. In light of the previously approved permit, this result is the best possible. For anyone to suggest that we should not monitor something already state approved to be applied to land is uninformed at best and insincere at worst. This issue is important for all Virginians, and it deserves to be reported responsibly. Rolling Stone proves that you should always consider the source.