February 7, 2024
 |
Delegate Rob Bloxom

Hello. This is Rob Bloxom reporting from Richmond. We are quickly approaching the halfway point of this year’s General Assembly session. This is referred to as crossover, and it is where all the bills that originated in the House must be acted upon before being sent to the Senate for their consideration. The bills that Delegates introduce are labeled House Bills (HB) and the Senate’s are referred to as SB.

My Appropriation committee meetings are getting longer with a lot of bills because any bill that has a fiscal impact must come to us. If we have money available to fund this proposal as well as agree with the policy, then it will be included in our budget. A lot of bills are sent to us to kill as some committees would rather let someone else be the “bad guys”. It appears that money will be very tight, so we are passing several bills in Appropriations that anticipate federal funds on infrastructure, especially green infrastructure. If the federal money does not come in from Washington, then the fund is an empty bucket and the program, whether it is a tax credit, rebate, etc. will not be enacted.

This week I will focus on a few more pieces of legislation I am patronning or was patronning. The first two I will mention are ones that were actually taken from me by the majority party. This happens when the majority party sees a bill they like and want to carry it in order to get credit for the legislation. Some of my colleagues fuss and fume over this, but it is something I find amusing because the policy I want has an easier path to passing from the majority party, so I get what was wanted without having to work for it- a win, win situation in my viewpoint. One of the bills was about a reforestation fund to replace lost revenues to counties because of land use taxes on forest land. The other bill pertained to license plate readers placement on VDOT property. Both bills are on their way to passing in the House and will soon be on their way to the Senate.

The next bill I will talk about is House Bill 1346. It is a bill that tries to fix the situation a lot of candidates that ran for office in Accomack County recently found themselves. The penalties assessed were due to not reporting to the Board of Elections that no money was received nor spent in the campaign. This reporting is due on a thirty or fifteen day schedule depending on how near the election is. Since most candidates that were fined were unopposed and took no campaign contributions nor spent any money, they assumed they were exempt from this reporting requirement. I will also add that the current program the Board of Elections uses is an unclear and complicated one. The committee, however, amended the bill to only allow Soil and Water District candidates to receive this exemption. In the future they will not have to open a checking account in order to

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run for office and they sign that they will not take contributions nor spend any money campaigning. If at anytime they decide to receive or spend money, they could rescind their exemption and begin reporting. I originally had the bill to include all local offices but the committee would not accept that.

The last bill I will try to explain is House Bill 1465.This bill is trying to stop boats from intentionally and dangerously attempting to stop commercial fishing activities. There has been an increase in the number of boaters racing to where menhaden boats are starting a net set and trying to force the purse seine boats from completing their circle. No matter how you feel about the reduction industry, this is unacceptable behavior. Another bill similar to mine has passed the subcommittee but I feel the penalties with that bill will not deter their actions. That bill takes away the perpetrator’s license to hunt and fish for one year. That person would be allowed to continue fishing under someone else’s boat license so they would not even lose one day of fishing. My bill would impound the boat for a year. I will continue to keep you informed on the status of this legislation as the bills process through to crossover.

Please feel free to contact me while I am in Richmond at (804) 698-1000 or at the District Office in Mappsville at (757) 824-3456. If you are coming to Richmond, please visit me at my office on the seventh floor of the new General Assembly Building, Room 711.

Sincerely,

Robert S. Bloxom, Jr. 

Delegate – 100th District

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