Del. Morgan Griffith, R-Salem, who represents most of Southwest Roanoke County, shares his weekly newsletter from the General Assembly, which is now in session:
Newsletter for Jan 25 2010
This week, our second, has proven to move quickly as we get into the real crux of the legislative session. Committees begin to move full speed ahead through hundreds of bills, examining and debated each one carefully.
One of the most vigorous debates we had on the floor of the House was over former Governor Kaine’s proposal for a 1% surtax on all taxable income as a means of balancing the budget. Both the minority leader and I agree that now is not the time to raise taxes and accordingly, the proposal was defeated unanimously.
This office has received many letters of concern over the increase of electric utility rates by Appalachian Power. The Delegates and Senators from Southwestern Virginia recently met with representatives of Appalachian Power to relay our constituents’ concerns. I have introduced House Bill 1190 regarding electric utility regulation which I hope will pass and
provide a partial solution to the problem. My bill would return AEP to the same regulatory restraints that existed prior to the deregulation, which I opposed originally. I have also introduced a bill to study the issues related to the regulation of the industry under the Virginia Gas and Oil Act . We are not doing legislative studies this year due to the budget, so I am going to ask that it be sent to the Energy Commission.
I have introduced House Bill 288 which strengthens our stalking law. It states that a person may be convicted of stalking in a single instance if the behavior is accompanied by verbal threats of sexual assault, bodily injury or death.
My House Bill 426 prohibits a local public body from using another local public body’s contract for construction where the cost of the project is in excess of $200,000 and the other local public body is more than 75 miles from the local body procuring the construction. This was a problem which I tried to alleviate last year involving costly construction contracts based in more expensive areas of the state such as Northern Virginia districts.
Among our visitors for this week were James Talliferro, Assistant City Manager for Salem, Lorie McCollum, CEO of the Bradley Free Clinic of Roanoke and Karen Michalski-Karney, President of Virginia Association of Centers for Independent Living , also of Roanoke. We had Dana Oliver, who is the Registrar from Salem, and the supporters of TAP, Annette Lewis and Jo Nelson of Roanoke. Michelle Hillis came by for Virginia Association for Early Childhood Education and Thursday, Dr.Mark Finkler of the Roanoke Animal Hospital came to discuss animal bills.