By Delegate Rob Bloxom
Hi! This is Rob Bloxom with this week’s Capitol Report.
The Subcommittees have full agendas. The Subcommittee is where the bills get a full hearing in the House. Only the most mundane bills will go directly to a full committee. In the Subcommittee, testimony is heard and a full line of questioning is allowed. The patron of the bill will present his case for the bill and then the proponents will testify followed by the opponents. Agency heads and the Governor’s Administration are on call for questions the subcommittee may have about the proposal. We then decide if the bill is passed to the full committee or is defeated. Bills will be amended in subcommittee and sometimes even a whole new bill will be substituted.
This process is hard to follow online and can even be hard to follow in person. Until an amendment or substitute is accepted by the committee, the public cannot see the new changes. I, as the patron of a bill, will try to have the changes distributed to the committee members before the meeting so they have a chance to read them. Sometimes it is impossible to give the committee an advance copy because the negotiations are still occurring up until the bill is heard. This is the case on a lot of bills and sometimes a delegate will vote against the bill in subcommittee just to flag it so it will not be in the uncontested column. This alerts other delegates to look closely at the bill.
When the bill gets to the full committee, a short description of the bill is read followed by a vote on that measure. If the bill gets out of subcommittee, it will usually pass the House to await a hearing in the Senate.
This week will highlight the bills the Governor and this Administration asked me to carry. I started with five bills, but one was pulled because of conflicts with Federal Code. Three are what I consider to be non-controversial “making government work better”.
The first is allowing local governments to use the VRA bond pooling to help fund housing projects. This is just another tool the local government can use to help create more housing inventory. The second is the releasing of the incentive payment for the Rocket Lab expansion.
The third is bringing the state in compliance with FEMA and the Federal Flood Insurance Program.
The fourth, however, is a bit controversial. It is restricting foreign governments from purchasing Virginia agricultural land. There have been six different substitutes on this bill with Farm Bureau, the Attorney General’s office and the Governor’s Administration trading new versions. This has not been docketed yet but a lively discussion should occur. I look forward to the debate.
With four weeks left in this session, I will be keeping you updated on the bills as they move through this legislative process. You can also track the progress of the bills at https://lis.virginia.gov.
We welcome your visit to our office here at the Pocahontas Building.
If you are coming to Richmond, you can contact our office at
804-698-1000 to set up an appointment. Please feel free to contact my staff or me with any additional questions you may have by calling the Richmond office or our District office at 757-824-3456. You may also email me at [email protected].
Until next week,