Legislative Update #9, Feb. 8, 2017

A fairly lengthy docket in Senate Transportation today, which started at a later than expected 1:45.

A number of the non-controversial bills were quickly Reported unanimously, or passed by til next week at the request of the patron, which narrowed the list considerably.

Buddy Fowler’s HB1504, to strengthen the Vision Test slightly for Driver’s License applicants, sailed through on a 12-0 vote and now goes to the Senate Floor. His HB1514, to provide Immunity from Civil suits to Medical personnel who report patients to DMV who have conditions they feel will make them unsafe drivers, was referred from the Courts of Justice Committee to the Education and Health Committee which meets on Thursday a.m. Dunnavant’s two similar Senate bills are taking a different and slower route, but at some point soon I expect they will be conformed with Fowler’s bills, where the surviving bills should continue to sail right through.

I was disappointed that the bills carried by Del. Villanueva that we were interested in were Passed by for the Day at the request of the patron. This means that we should see them on the docket at Senate Trans next Wednesday after adjournment, so we will come back again to support — HB 1606 Prohibiting the Use of Handheld Communication Devices in Work Zones, & HB2023 the Maintenance Reimbursement bill. I was afraid at first that there might be some problem with 2023, but I was assured by both Sen. DeSteph and Del. Villanueva’s Aide that the bill is in good shape with the only problem being that Del. Villanueva had to be in two places at the same time and chose to go to the other meeting and carry these and several other bills over.

That left Champe & me free to go and visit the members of House Trans SubComm 1, where Sen. Surovell’s two bills, SB 1338 No Passing by Motor Vehicles in a Bike Lane, and SB1339, the Due Care for Vulnerable Users, will be heard at our least favorite time of 7 a.m. next Monday. Getting enough copies of each bill from the Bill Room, we made the rounds and contacted all six members of the SubComm or their aides, asking their support on Monday. We did not bother to visit Del. Scott Garrett, the SubComm Chair, who has yet to EVER vote for one of our Bike & Pedestrian Safety bills, so we are not expecting him to do so this time. Anyone, particularly constituents, are urged to contact the other SubComm members — Anderson, LeMunyon, Adams (from Martinsville), Pillion (the dentist from Abingdon, who trained at VCU), Plum & Ward and ask their support.

In case my prediction of a 4-3 win in this SubComm comes to pass, we should also contact any of the 15 other members of House Transportation since it probably would be heard by the full committee the very next day, on Tuesday morning. Particularly helpful would be contacts to the Northern VA Delegates — Hugo, Minchew, Dudenhefer, LaRock, Filler-Corn, & Plum; Hampton Roads Delegates Villanueva, Glenn Davis, Yancey, and RABA types can help by contacting Betsy Carr, Delores McQuinn, and Lamont Bagby, who comprise the only Richmond area representation on this Committee.

As I’ve mentioned earlier, all of every legislator’s contact information can be found on the website so let’s make some contacts. We’re actually quite close to having a very productive session, so help us push these bills over the top.

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