Delegate Sam Rasoul works hard in Richmond to make our Valley a better place to live, work, and raise a family. We have a wide variety of bills and resolutions this year, which you can view and track here! Here are some highlights:
- HJ18 calls for term limits in the General Assembly
- HB82 would allow third party political organizations to become more competitive in Virginia
- HB303 would create independent redistricting, putting power back into the hands of the voters and preventing politicians from drawing their own district boundaries
- HB1040 would introduce an open primary system, which has led to numerous positive impacts in states like Nebraska and California
- I have proposed HB1050, a solar tax credit. I am working with Senator Edwards, who has an identical bill in the Senate (SB142)
- HB302 or “Asha’s Law” after the lone elephant at Natural Bridge Zoo, calls for a ban on the use of bullhooks and similar devices on elephants
Gun Violence Reduction:
- I am carrying HB1049 to address gun show vendor registration issues, which is part of Governor McAuliffe’s agenda to reduce gun violence
A More Efficient Healthcare System:
- HB319 would provide continuing education credits for medical professionals who volunteer their time, which would increase access to healthcareservices for many of the neediest Virginians
- HJ108 calls for a study to eliminate fraud and wastein the Medicaid system
- HB1035 would create an savings plan for eldercarein the same format as the highly successful Virginia 529 College Savings Plan
Criminal Justice Reform:
- I am cosponsoring legislation to increase the felony larceny threshold after over 80% of you said you wanted it raised in my Citizen’s Assembly survey
- HB1041 would remove the six-month loss of driver’s license for simple marijuana possession
- I will be putting forward legislation to increase the minimum wage to $11.84 by 2018 and index it to inflation
Below are some highlights of legislation Delegate Rasoul worked on in the 2015 session.
GOOD GOVERNMENT & FIGHTING CORRUPTION
HJ 545 Makes application to the United States Congress to call a constitutional convention for the purpose of proposing an amendment to the United States Constitution to ensure free and fair elections.
HJ 584 Would form an independent redistricting commission that takes away the decision from elected officials to determine the election districts.
HB 1463 Changes the definition of “party” or “political party” to mean an organization of citizens of the Commonwealth that received at least four percent of the total vote cast for any statewide office filled in either of the two preceding statewide general elections. Currently, the threshold is 10 percent of the total vote cast for any statewide office filled at either of the two preceding statewide general elections.
HB 1465 Establishes a procedure for allocation of prison population in state and federal correctional facilities to their known last residence for the purposes of state and legislative and local redistricting. Under current law, such persons are allocated to the location of the facility as reported in the decennial census.
HB 1297 Classifies machinery and tools owned by a business and used directly in producing or generating renewable energy as a separate class of property for tax rate purposes. The bill authorizes localities to lower taxes that are generally applicable in the locality to machinery and tools.
HB 1464 Requires localities to submit annually a report to the State Veterinarian detailing the number of persons who have violated the animal cruelty statute with respect to equine animals as well as the nature of each violation and the penalty imposed in each instance.
GUN VIOLENCE REDUCTION
HB 1864 Requires a promoter of a firearms show to include in his list of vendors or exhibitors submitted information about whether a vendor or exhibitor was selling or transferring a firearm and the vendor or exhibitor’s dealer identification number, if applicable.
HB 1344 Specifics that vehicles of VDOT’s Safety Service Patrol may be equipped with flashing, blinking, or alternating amber warning lights as allowed for other vehicles used for towing or servicing disabled vehicles. Virginia’s “move over” law applies to such vehicles.
HB 1881 Ensures that the Department of Social Services cannot prohibit opportunities for certain programs providing high-risk supervised visitation for noncustodial parents to compete for grant funds made available by the federal Access and Visitation Program.
HB 1862 Provides that if a person dies testate and a wrongful death action is filed, the court may consider the beneficiaries designated in the will when determining the distribution of damages.
HB 1863 Allows court-appointed counsel for parents in child welfare cases to submit a waiver application for additional compensation.
HB 1399 Requires a lender, upon written request by the borrower, to establish and maintain an escrow account for flood insurance premiums. The requirement applies to loans secured by certain residential real estate in Virginia. The requirement applies only if the lender has established escrow accounts for taxes, hazard insurance, fees, or other charges with respect to property securing the loan.
HB 1726 Allows investments in buildings that incorporate residential and commercial or industrial uses to qualify for an enterprise zone real property investment grant with regard to the portion of the investment associated with the exclusive commercial space, which is the area within the peripheral walls and ceiling of any portion of the building that is used for a commercial or industrial use. Where less than 30 percent of the building’s space will be devoted to commercial or industrial use, expenditures associated with the exclusive commercial space may qualify for a grant under the enterprise zone program.
HB 1860 Creates the Truth in Donating Act, legislation that will protect Virginians from unknowingly donating to organizations posing as charitable groups. A statement reading “Donations made here support a for-profit business, do not qualify as a charitable contribution, and are not tax-deductible” would need to accompany any receptacle used to deposit donations at a for-profit entity. The bill also specifies that the sign or label shall be placed immediately below the opening in the receptacle used to deposit donations. The bill provides that the penalty for violation of the Act is a Class 3 misdemeanor.
Below are some highlights of legislation that Delegate Rasoul worked on in the 2014 General Assembly Session.
HJ 10 Early Childhood Education: Recognizes the inestimable value of early childhood education to children and sets a goal of extending the availability of early childhood education so that the Virginia Preschool Initiative and Head Start together serve 50,000 children in the Commonwealth by 2019.
HB 1182 Exemption from A-F school grading for alternative schools: Exempts school from the A-to-F school grading system for which the Board of Education has approved an alternative accreditation plan to meet the graduation and completion index benchmark.
HB 318 Abolishes the A-to-F grading system for measuring individual school performance.
HB 36 Student Athletes and Concussions: Updates the guidelines for school board policies on concussions in student-athletics to include information provided to coaches, student-athletes, and parents on the effects of concussions on academic performance.
HB 742 Electronic Textbooks in K-12 Schools: Allows elementary schools to purchase electronic textbooks as long as they are provided to each student free of charge. Requires reporting on (i) the level of broadband connectivity of each local school division, and (ii) the ability of each student within each school division to access electronic textbooks, both at school and outside of school.
SB 732 Expanding Early Childhood Education: Requires, on and after July 1, 2019, all school divisions to provide early childhood education programs for four-year-olds and five-year-olds who are not eligible to attend kindergarten or at-risk early childhood education programs and whose parents voluntarily wish to enroll them in such programs.
HB 1128 Cooperative Career & Technical Education: This bill would update the the career and technical education portion of the state code to allow for multiple school districts to collaborate on career and technical education programs for middle and high school students. This bill also encourages collaboration with local work force investment boards.
HB 887 Establishes a Technical Education Governor’s School: Requires the Board of Education to develop model criteria and procedures for establishing a jointly operated high school with a career and technical education focus to be recommended to the Governor and the General Assembly for funding as a Governor’s Career and Technical Education School.
HB 1226 Cyberstalking: Expands the language in the stalking section of the Virginia code to cover more instances of cyber stalking that use emails, mobile devices and social media.
HB 1154 Expungement for Dismissed Charges: This bill would allow a person’s criminal record to be expunged if their misdemeanor charges were dismissed without adjudication of guilt
HB 315 Financial exploitation of incapacitated persons: Expands the class of victims of the crime of financial exploitation of mentally incapacitated persons to include persons incapacitated due to physical illness or disability, advanced age, or other causes. Currently, victims must suffer from a mental incapacity. The bill also increases the penalty for financial exploitation of incapacitated persons to a Class 3 felony. The bill also allows for forfeiture of personal property used in connection with the crime.
HB 595 Human Trafficking Policy: establishes training standards and guidelines to ensure that law-enforcement personnel are sensitive to and aware of human trafficking offenses and the identification of victims of human trafficking offenses.
SB 373 New Penalties for Human Trafficking: Creates new felonies for trafficking in persons for forced labor or sexual servitude and adds the new felonies as a predicate criminal act under the criminal gang statute.
GOOD GOVERNMENT & FIGHTING CORRUPTION
HB 1159 Prohibiting Political contributions during procurement process: expands this prohibition to include the mayor, chief executive officer of a locality, school superintendent, and any member of a local governing body in the current prohibition against accepting contributions greater than $50
HB 37 Absentee voting for those 65 and older: Allows people age 65 and older to vote by absentee ballot. The bill requires the application for absentee ballot from such persons to include proof of age.
HB 47 Repealing the Hybrid Vehicle Tax: Repeals the $64 annual license tax on hybrid electric motor vehicles that was first imposed beginning July 1, 2013. The bill also provides for refunds of the license tax paid on hybrid electric motor vehicles for registration years beginning on or after July 1, 2014.
HB 418 Outlaws housing discrimination based on sexual orientation: Adds discrimination based on sexual orientation as an unlawful discriminatory housing practice. The bill defines “sexual orientation” as a person’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, or gender identity or expression. “Sexual orientation” does not include sexually deviant disorders (paraphilias) as defined in the Diagnostic and Statistic Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV).
HB 562 Prohibiting Discrimination against Public Employees based on Sexual orientation: Prohibits discrimination in employment based on sexual orientation. The bill defines “sexual orientation” as a person’s actual or perceived heterosexuality, bisexuality, homosexuality, or gender identity or expression.