By Delegate Rob Bloxom

 

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This is Rob Bloxom reporting from Richmond. We are moving beyond the halfway point of the session, and to say there have been a lot of distractions is a huge understatement. We are moving our bills forward as we send them to the Senate. Issues important to the Eastern Shore as well as the state of Virginia are speeding to final votes. Tax conformity, tax relief, coal ash recycling, inspection fees, and hundreds of more bills are being voted on, and unfortunately all the good work and necessary debate is being overshadowed by headlines about our Governor and a photograph from his past. I will not use this time in my weekly report to address this. I only know it is a sad day for the Eastern Shore and of course, the entire commonwealth.

Another bill that has received a lot of attention, and indeed should have, was Delegate Kathy Tran’s bill to loosen restrictions on third trimester abortions. Thankfully, this bill was quickly killed in committee. It did bring a quick response from around the state and the nation. I will try to summarize this measure. Today a third term abortion is allowed when three doctors agree that the continuation of the pregnancy would….”substantially and irremediably” impair the mental or physical health of the woman. The proposed bill would have allowed one doctor use the much lower standard striking the words ” substantially and irremediably”, effectively allowing the doctor who would benefit monetarily from the procedure to say it was appropriate or necessary. It would have been abortion on demand up to the time of birth. Even to those that consider themselves pro- choice, this is beyond their scope of comprehension. The outcry I feel was warranted, and I am glad that my colleagues on the committee voted against this measure.

The House budget was presented this past weekend. The Governor proposed his amendments, and he would have spent 700 million more dollars than what was previously allotted in the budget. The big difference between the House budget and the Governor’s is that any excess that occurs due to changes in the tax code will be sequestered in our budget and returned to the taxpayer. Our budget did do some additional funding for key areas that are important to the Eastern Shore. I hesitate to raise people’s expectations when there is still a long way to go in finalizing our spending with the Senate priorities.

I am proud to represent the constituents of the 100th  District, and I always welcome your questions, comments, and input. Please don’t hesitate to call my office at (804) 698-1000, or send us an email at delrbloxom@house.virginia.gov with any concerns you may have.