News


STATEMENT OF SENATE MAJORITY LEADER NORMENT ON MCAULIFFE EXECUTIVE ORDER 65

May 12, 2017


WILLIAMSBURG, VA, 12 MAY 2017: Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today issued the following statement regarding Governor Terence R. McAuliffe's (D) Executive Order 65:

"Governor McAuliffe has, once again, ignored the Constitution of Virginia and longstanding court precedents regarding the limits of his authority. With just eight months and a day remaining in his term, he has provided yet another case study in executive arrogance.

"As he has a law degree, the Governor knows his unconstitutional order will ultimately have no practical effect. He also must be keenly aware of his own track record in court in his failed attempts to run roughshod over the General Assembly.

"I am left to surmise this action by the Governor amounts to a thinly veiled press release to promote his 2020 presidential ambitions. While I do not want to begrudge him being the standard bearer for the Clinton faction in the current Clinton-Sanders struggle for control of the Democrat Party, that is not an excuse for violating the constitutional limits on his powers.

"The Senate Republican Caucus stands firmly with Speaker Howell in his pledge to 'vigorously defend' legislative branch prerogatives against executive overreach. We genuinely hope we do not have to impose on the time of the Virginia Supreme Court again to provide constitutional guidance to this Governor."

###






Senate of Virginia to Begin Live Streaming in Committee Rooms for 2018 Session

May 11, 2017


~ Pilot project includes Capitol's Senate Room 3 and Pocahontas's Senate Committee Room ~

RICHMOND, VA, May 11, 2017 - Senate Rules Committee Chairman Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover) today announced that live streaming of standing committee meetings held in the Senate Committee Room in the newly renovated Pocahontas Building and Senate Room 3 in the Capitol will be available during the 2018 General Assembly session.

Beginning with the 2018 session, all standing committee meetings conducted in either the Senate Committee Room or Senate Room 3 will be streamed live. Additionally, videos of meetings held in those rooms will be archived and made available for later viewing. Accommodations will also be made to allow media outlets to secure audio and clean video feeds of meetings conducted in those rooms.

"Today's announcement will allow the public to view meetings of Senate committees live, increasing public access and legislative transparency," noted Senator McDougle, who also serves as Senate Republican Caucus Chairman. "Utilizing the Pocahontas Building as a pilot project for live streaming will give us the ability and the experience to outfit the new General Assembly Building with the technology to ensure those interested in the legislative process will be able to view everything from their home computer or mobile device."

"This is another step forward for legislative transparency," said Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City). "Although the General Assembly will be in the Pocahontas Building temporarily, the Senate will actually be increasing remote access to the public and media during our transition. I greatly appreciate the efforts of Senate staff in making this advance possible."

The Office of the Clerk of the Senate will release guidelines for video streaming this fall.

# # #






NEWS RELEASE: Senate Majority Leader on Invalidated McAuliffe Vetoes

May 04, 2017


Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) issued the following statement regarding the invalidation of two attempts by Governor Terence R. McAuliffe (D) to veto line items in House Bill 1500:

"Frustratingly, this is not the first time Governor McAuliffe has ignored the Constitution of Virginia and longstanding court precedents regarding the limits of his authority. As has been the case with so many decisions made during his tenure, these failed attempts appear to be motivated to score political points with his party's base rather than to actually affect policy.

"I am heartened that this will, hopefully, be the last time the Clerk of the House has to write to this governor to inform him of his latest overreach. I sincerely hope that the experiences of the last four years will serve as a cautionary lesson for his successor."

###






General Assembly Wrap Up

March 14, 2017


With the completion of another session, we reflect on the accomplishments that have been achieved for the Commonwealth and its citizens. I am proud to report we have passed legislation addressing several key policy issues.

The General Assembly approved a package of bills that takes essential steps towards combating the opioid epidemic in the Commonwealth. This was done by addressing both prevention of use, and changing the way those who are currently addicted receive treatment and services. Additionally, we worked to improve operation of the Virginia Economic Development Partnership in order to ensure that the Commonwealth can become the premier state for doing business.

The Governor will now have the opportunity to sign these bills, or veto them, with suggested amendments. On April 5, we will reconvene to consider these proposals on legislation and the budget.

Budget

When session began, we were facing a $1.2 billion shortfall. But within forty-six days, we created and approved a fiscally responsible package of budget amendments that, unlike the Governor's plan, prioritize funding and emphasize core government services and actual needs without proposing higher fees. Approved with bipartisan support in the House and Senate, the budget raises the base pay of State Police and provides pay increases to classified state employees and public school teachers.

To learn more about this session's budget accomplishments, see the following:

Consolidating Briefing Report is a comprehensive PowerPoint that explains the Budget conference report. 

On April 5, we will reconvene to consider the Governor's recommended amendments to budget. 

Legislation

Typically the last few days of the General Assembly involve long sessions, as the House and Senate work together to reconcile differences in legislation. This is done by creating conference committees composed of three delegates and three senators who work to reach an agreement that the General Assembly as a whole can approve. One of my bills, Senate Bill 1312 was in this stage of the legislative process.

SB 1312 is an ethics reform bill that makes important changes to the Virginia Code. This legislation clarifies how both lobbyists and elected officials must register and disclose information. One such change provided that candidates for constitutional office file their statement of economic interest with the local general registrar instead of the Department of Elections. This change will save taxpayers money and increase transparency by having all d ocuments pertaining to these candidates available in one location.

Another important bill I introduced this year that will have a significant impact on the Commonwealth and our community is Senate Bill 1578. This legislation has successfully passed both chambers and is currently awaiting action by the G overnor. SB 1578 (commonly referred to as the Airbnb bill) upholds local government authority to establish and maintain applicable state and local laws, ordinances and regulations. The legislation also permits localities to establish a short term rental registry and require operators within the locality to register annually or face a penalty. 

You may read more about the bills that have been acted upon by the Governor on the General Assembly's website

The Governor has vetoed 11 bills as of March 14 which are listed below: 

HB 1428 Absentee voting; photo identification required with application 

HB 1432 Switchblade knife; exception to carry concealed 

HB 1468 Compliance with detainers; U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement 

HB 1578 Students who receive home instruction; participation in interscholastic programs (Tebow Bill) 

HB 1582 Concealed handgun permits; age requirement for persons on active military duty 

HB 1596 Virginia Public Procurement Act; public works contracts; prevailing wage provisions 

HB 2002 Refugee and immigrant resettlements; reports to Department of Social Services 

HB 2077 Emergency Services and Disaster Law of 2000; reference to firearms, emergency shelter 

HB 2198 Coal tax; limits aggregate amount of credits that may be allocated or claimed for employment, etc 

HB 2264 Department of Health; restrictions on expenditure of funds related to abortions and family planning 

SB 1105 Registered voters and persons voting; reports of persons voting at elections

Judges

In addition to our legislative work this session, we elected several judges to the circuit and district courts, including some in the 3rd Senatorial District. The following judges will begin their terms on July 1 of this year:

  • The Honorable Christopher R. Papile, from Newport News, is reappointed as a judge of the Seventh Judicial Circuit court for an eight year term.
  • Corry N. Smith, Esquire, from Hampton is elected as a judge of the Eighth Judicial District for a term of six years.
  • The Honorable Stan Del Clark from Isle of Wight is chosen to serve the juvenile and domestic relations court as a judge of the Fifth Judicial District for a term of six years.
  • The Honorable Stephanie E. Merritt from New Kent's General District court is selected to be a member of the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission for an unexpired term ending June 30, 2019.
  • The Honorable Thomas W. Carpenter is appointed as a judge to the Seventh Judicial District for a term of sex years
  • Robert H. Simpson from Williamsburg is selected as a member of the Judicial Inquiry and Review Commission for a term of four years.
  • The Honorable Alfred W. Bates III from Suffolk is chosen as a judge of the Fifth Judicial District Court for a term of six years.

Two other judges were elected by the General Assembly and began their terms on February 1, 2017.

  • The Honorable Thomas W. Carpenter from Newport News was appointed as a judge of the Seventh Judicial District for a term of six years.
  • The Honorable Matthew W. Hoffman from Newport News was selected as a judge of the Seventh Judicial District for a term of six years.

On March 1 the Honorable Bonnie L. Jones from Hampton began serving as a judge of the Eighth Judicial Circuit for a term of eight years.






HB1500 Conference Report

February 23, 2017


To see the updated Virginia State Budget list, please go to the Budget Amendments - HB1500 (Conference Report)






Senate Republicans Congratulate Speaker Howeel on his Service to Virginia

February 20, 2017


SENATE REPUBLICANS CONGRATULATE SPEAKER HOWELL ON HIS YEARS OF SERVICE TO THE COMMONWEALTH

RICHMOND VA, 20 FEBRUARY 2017: Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today issued the following statement on Speaker William J. Howell's (R-Stafford) announcement that he will not seek reelection to the House of Delegates: 

"Having served the Commonwealth and the citizens of Stafford and Fredericksburg with distinction for three decades, Speaker Howell has announced his well-deserved retirement from the House. 

"Speaker Howell's legacy of accomplishment is extraordinary, as he repeatedly demonstrated his commitment to conservative principles and reform. His leadership was instrumental in promoting transportation reforms and funding, land conservation, and fiscally responsible policies will positively affect Virginia for generations. 

"His fierce defense of the General Assembly's prerogative as a co-equal branch of Virginia's government has been unwavering. That is something I have greatly appreciated as Senate Majority Leader. I have also enjoyed having a strong ally committed to preserving history and promoting historical tourism in the Commonwealth. 

"Now, Speaker Howell has decided to concentrate on the equally challenging but much more rewarding assignment of being a grandparent. He and Cessie have sacrificed much of their own lives on behalf of the Commonwealth. They deserve the thanks and gratitude of the entire General Assembly and the people of Virginia. 

"On behalf of the entire Senate Republican Caucus, I wish the Speaker, Mrs. Howell, and their entire family a blessed and prosperous future." 

###






General Assembly Update: Week Six

February 17, 2017


The General Assembly has had a record number of visitors during the 2017 General Assembly session. In fact, during the first month we surpassed the number of visitors we had for the entire 2016 session. I am excited to see so many citizens across the Commonwealth engaged in the legislative process. 

Many of our visitors may not be aware this is the last session for the current General Assembly Building. The four buildings that have been merged into one office building have served lawmakers for 40 years and one of the buildings has a far longer history, dating back to the Taft Administration. 

During the 2018 General Assembly session, there will be temporary offices in the Pocahontas Building, which is directly across the Capitol's Bank Street entrance. This building previously housed the Attorney General's Office and the Virginia Lottery. Over the next few years, a new and permanent General Assembly Building will be built on the current site. It will be ready to welcome even more visitors from across Virginia for years to come. 

Legislation: Senate Bills 1564

This Monday, February 13, 2017, Senate Bill 1564 , after being referred to the House Committee for Courts of Justice, has been recommended by a unanimous vote, with one member not voting. Senate Bill 1564 prioritizes an application for a search warrant to perform a blood test on a person suspected of committing a DUI related offense over matters that do not involve an imminent risk to another's health or safety. 

Senate Pages

The Senate Page program is a unique and important educational opportunity that seeks to mold talented young Virginians into future leaders. Adolescent men and women in each Senate district apply for this program through the Senate Clerk's Office.  The duties of the Pages include a variety of administrative task that help the General Assembly run smoothly. 

This year there was a record number of applications for this competitive leadership program and a record number Pages were selected, 46. I am proud to inform you that our region was represented by 2 outstanding young people, Mr. Gunnar Phillips, and Ms. Meredith Vick. 

Mr. Phillips is an eighth grader at Poquoson Middle School and enjoys football, lacrosse, hunting, and volunteering at the Poquoson Seafood Festival. Mr. Phillips favorite thing about session was being in chambers and hearing bill debates. He personally followed the dog hunting bill because his family hunts regularly.

Ms. Vick is currently a freshman at Lafayette High School and enjoys field hockey and participating with the Future Business Leaders of America. Ms. Vick's favorite thing about being a Page was mock session; she personally followed the group home bill that Senator Norment submitted on behalf of multiple constituent requests. 

Both Pages felt honored to have met the governor and plan to continue following the activities of the General Assembly as they continue their education.

Visitors

This week I enjoyed welcoming many folks from the district, including:

  • Mr. Henry Butler, Dean, Scalia Law School
  • Mr. Andrew Mortensen, Gloucester County
  • Dr. John William Tuner, Reverend at St. James Presbyterian Church
  • Ms. Stephanie Weber, Williamsburg
  • Hampton Healthy Families
  • Three-Rivers Healthy Families
  • Cadets from Virginia Military Institute

If you are in the Richmond area during our final week, please stop by my office in Room 626 of the General Assembly Building.

Please continue to send me your thoughts on important pieces of legislation. You may contact my office by sending an e-mail to District03@senate.virginia.gov or a letter to Senate of Virginia, PO Box 396, Richmond VA 23218-0396. You can also call us at 804.698.7503. 

Very truly yours,

Senator Tommy Norment






General Assembly Update: Week Five

February 10, 2017


The halfway point was marked on Wednesday with crossover. On Tuesday, the House and Senate completed work on bills filed by their respective members, and forwarded successful bills to the other chamber. For the remainder of session, each chamber will focus on legislation from the other side of the Capitol.

Among the hundreds of bills exchanged were the budget amendments set forth by each chamber. This is the single largest piece of legislation considered by the General Assembly, and there are many details on which agreement must be met. Should you want to read further about Senate's version of the state budget please visit the Senate Finance Committee's website

Due to the $1.2 billion revenue shortfall, the Senate's budget amendments focus on balancing the budget while preserving core services and critical needs. This means the Senate budget amendments have avoided across-the-board reductions for public schools, increased funding for mental health initiatives, and preserved safety net programs. The plan gives 2% salary increases to public teachers and 3% salary increases to classified state employees (which legislators are not). Additionally, the plan prioritizes compensation for State Police raising, the starting salary from $36,207 to $43,000 in an effort to recruit and retain new officers, an area in which we have fallen behind.

The Senate's plan is in stark contrast to the Governor's plan. The Senate addressed compensation by increasing salaries rather than using the one-time bonuses given in the Governor's plan. Further, the Senate plan prioritizes economic development initiatives, restoring half of the funds to the GO Virginia economic development initiative, which Governor McAuliffe cut in his plan. 

Legislation- Senate Bill 1578

Because all successful legislation has switched chambers and it is too late to introduce any new bills, from this point forward all of my bills that passed the Senate will be considered by the House. One of my bills that passed the Senate recently is Senate Bill 1578.

I am proud to say that this legislation passed the Senate with strong bipartisan support by a 36-4 vote. This bill would give localities the authority to require the registration of spaces used for short-term rental, which are currently unmonitored by health and safety authorities. These regulations already exist for the small business owners in the Bed and Breakfast industry who are required to comply with various health and safety regulations for their guests. With new types of short-term rental properties however, a growing number of properties are not covered in the code. The number and condition of these properties is presently unknown due to the inability to identify all such properties. By allowing registration of all short-term rentals, localities could monitor and set minimum standards for these places to protect renters. 

Budget Amendments

The Senate's proposed budget includes several amendments I introduced:

  • Item 129 #2s - Provides an additional $10,000 from the general fund to support Special Olympics athletes attending Summer Games and provide hands-on experience for the medical community through the Healthy Athlete exams and treatment programs given to participating athletes. 
  • Item 138 #6s - Adds $237,500 of funding for Project Discovery, a program that helps students graduate from high school and make the transition to a post-secondary education. 
  • Item 237 #2s - Provides additional funds for the 115 on-site educational staff positions at Jamestown and Yorktown. This program serves 200,000 students annually.
Visitors

The record-breaking volume of visitors this session will certainly be remembered for years to come as one of the most notable aspects of the last session in this General Assembly Building. Visitors from home continued to arrive this week and we were happy to meet with so many large groups. 

  • Mr. Ben and Mrs. Sheryl Burrell, Toano
  • Ms. Janet Casanave, Toano
  • Mr. David Cromwell, Busch Gardens President of Operations
  • Mr. Bruce C. Gottwald, 2017 Outstanding Virginian
  • Mr. Floyd D. Gottwald, Jr., 2017 Outstanding Virginian
  • Mr. John and Mrs. Phyllis Mateer, Williamsburg
  • Members of the Chesapeake Bay and River Association of Realtors
  • Members of the League of Women Voters
  • Members of the Peninsula Association of Realtors
  • Members of the Virginia Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
  • Members of the Williamsburg Area Association of Realtors
  • Members of the Women's Council of Realtors, Virginia 

There are still two weeks left before we're scheduled to adjourn. If you'll be in the Richmond area in that time, please stop by our office.

These last two weeks will be fast-paced, but I hope to continue to hear your thoughts on the House's legislation that we'll be considering. You may contact my office by sending an e-mail to District03@senate.virginia.gov or a letter to Senate of Virginia, PO Box 396, Richmond VA 23218-0396. You can also call us at 804.698.7503.






General Assembly Update: Week Four

February 06, 2017


As we enter the first week of February, we are almost at the halfway point of the legislative session. Tuesday, February 7 is crossover, the point at which all bills introduced in the Senate must be approved or rejected by the Senate. After crossover the Senate will only hear legislation which originated in the House, and vice versa. 

The one exception to this deadline is budget amendments, as these must be passed in their respective chambers by this upcoming Thursday. On Sunday, February 5, the Senate Finance Committee and House Appropriations Committee each reported out their versions of the budget bill. Please look to the newsletter on Friday which will provide an update about proposed budget amendments.

Legislation: Senate Bill 1390

Last week was very busy as the Senate and House considered many pieces of legislation prior to crossover. Several bills that I introduced were acted on in committees and will come to a vote on the Senate Floor today and tomorrow. 

One bill that I introduced, Senate Bill 1390, was passed unanimously by the Senate last week. Illegal cigarette resale has become a growing problem along the east coast. This is a practice where cigarettes are purchased in states where they are cheaper and then illegally resold in states where tobacco products are more expensive. 

SB 1390 creates the regulatory framework necessary to ensure resale companies will not be able to continue evading taxes and profiting from illegal resale in other states. The Virginia Crime Commission unanimously endorsed this proposal. This legislation is currently awaiting a vote in the House Committee on Finance. If signed into law it will crackdown on crime and increase tax revenues for the Commonwealth.

District News: American Revolution Museum 

The new American Revolution Museum in Yorktown will celebrate its grand opening March 23 - April 4. More exciting details about this and the incredibly successful year had by the Jamestown Settlement and the American Revolution Museum in Yorktown can be found in the news release on the sidebar of this newsletter. 

The opening of this museum is tremendous news for the Historic-Triangle as it will serve as an educational resource highlighting the Commonwealth's rich history. The tourism sector has a significant impact on Virginia's economy and I am excited about this new marquee destination. 

Visitors

We continue to break records with the number of visitors traveling across the state to see their representatives at work. I enjoyed welcoming many folks from the district, including:

  • The Honorable Phillip Bazzani Gloucester County Chair of Board of Supervisors
  • The Honorable Nate Green, James City County Commonwealth Attorney
  • Sherry Hunt, Hampton-Newport News CSB
  • Candace Kuhn, Quinton
  • George Mahome Jr., Williamsburg
  • The Honorable John Meyer, former Chairman of the Gloucester County Board of Supervisors
  • Robin and Venner Milewski, York County
  • Tu Ritter, Yorktown
  • Kerri Ross, Providence Forge
  • Bob and Carolyn Spencer, Toano
  • Natalie Ward, Hampton-Newport News CSB
  • The Virginia Alliance of Boys and Girls Club
  • Members of the James City County Board of Supervisors
  • NASA
  • Thomas Nelson Community College

If you are in the Richmond area in the next three weeks, please stop by my office in Room 626 of the General Assembly Building.

Please continue to send me your thoughts on important pieces of legislation. You may contact my office by sending an e-mail to District03@senate.virginia.gov or a letter to Senate of Virginia, PO Box 396, Richmond VA 23218-0396. You can also call us at 804.698.7503.

Very truly yours,

Senator Tommy Norment






General Assembly Update: Week Three

January 31, 2017


Of all the legislation considered during each session, the budget typically receives the most attention, and this year is no different. Although we are only amending the two-year budget that is already in place, the budget amendment process is lengthy. As co-chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, I have been working diligently with my colleagues to make this year's process smooth. It requires the House Appropriations and Senate Finance Committees to initially work separately to create two proposals. Then, the two come together, combining their respective proposals into one plan. That proposed budget is then submitted to both chambers for approval and then finally forwarded to the Governor.

 

This year, it came to our attention that the compensation for state law enforcement has not kept pace with their local counterparts. As a result, we are struggling to retain our state troopers. To combat this problem, I have been working with the Chairman of the House Appropriations Committee in the months leading into session to develop a plan that will provide a double-digit pay raise to state troopers and a 3% raise to classified state employees. If you would like to read more regarding the announcement we made earlier in the week in a news conference you may access that press release here or read the article from the Richmond Times Dispatch here

  Legislation 
 

This year I created a resolution to commend Pierce's Pitt Bar-B-Que in Williamsburg in honor of their 45 years of award winning service. Cooking over 400,000 pounds of meat a year, they are not only a local favorite but receive national recognition. I am proud to have such a strong - and famous - small business in our area and to have given them well-deserved recognition on behalf of the Senate of Virginia. You can read more about their story here and about this resolution here

One of the big points in our agenda this year is working to combat the opioid crisis. Last week we passed two bills from the Senate to help minimize the prevalence of prescription opioids to prevent them being used as a gateway for illegal usage. 

SB 1180 is a bill that directs the Board of Dentistry and Medicine to adopt regulations for the prescribing of opioids and products containing buprenorphine. 

SB 1230 requires prescriptions for controlled substances containing an opiate be issued as an electronic prescription beginning July 1, 2020. The reason for the delayed start date is to allow for the Secretary of Health and Human Services to convene a work group to review the actions necessary for the implementation of the bill's provisions. 

  2017 Legislative Survey
 

We want to hear from you to better understand your thoughts and concerns on many of the key issues that will be addressed through legislation this session. To help us do this effectively, we have created a survey where you may indicate your preferences on specific topics and leave notes. The survey can be completed online by clicking here

No information submitted through this survey will be shared with anyone outside of our office or used for any purpose other than to guide decisions and actions throughout the legislative process. 

  Visitors
 

We've set surprising records for number of visitors to the General Assembly Building this year. On Monday, we had 4,858 visitors and 4,942 on Tuesday-- numbers we haven't seen in nearly 30 years! These record numbers are somewhat surprising given that they are not a reflection of any specific controversial issue. Rather, people are just visiting to hear and share with their lawmakers. We were happy to see such a large number of constituents this week.

  • Russell Beyer, New Kent
  • The Honorable Randy Carter, Clerk of the Circuit Court, Suffolk
  • Mark Marrow, Pastor of Crosswalk Community Church and Drew Louis
  • Thomas Miller, New Kent County
  • The Honorable Kristen Nelson, Clerk of the Circuit Court, York-Poquoson
  • General J.H. Binford Peay, III, Superintendent for Virginia Military Institute
  • Kevin Rasmussen, James City County
  • The Honorable Barbara Ramsey, Williamsburg City Council Member
  • Karen Riordan, Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance 
  • The Honorable Deborah Robinson, York County Treasurer
  • Lisa Thomas, Child Development Resources
  • The Honorable Tara Thomas, Gloucester County Treasurer
  • The Honorable Harry Whitt, King William County Treasurer
  • The Honorable Benny Zhang, Williamsburg City Council Member
  • Dental Hygienists Students from Thomas Nelson
  • Homes Educators Association of Virginia
  • Isle of Wight 4-H Club 
  • LEAD Historic Triangle
  • Members of the Military Officers Association of America
  • Members of the New Kent County School Board
  • Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy
 

Please continue to send me your thoughts on important pieces of legislation. You may contact my office by sending an e-mail to District03@senate.virginia.gov or a letter to Senate of Virginia, PO Box 396, Richmond VA 23218-0396. You can also call us at 804.698.7503.






Republican Budget Leaders Announce Major Steps to Secure Future for State Employees

January 25, 2017


Republican Budget Leaders Announce Major Steps to Secure Future for State Employees

Budget will include 3% pay raise for state employees and higher starting pay for Virginia State Police

RICHMOND, VA, January 25, 2017 - The Virginia House of Delegates Committee on Appropriations Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) and the Senate of Virginia Committee on Finance Co-Chairmen Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) and Emmett W. Hanger, Jr. (R-Augusta) today outlined the employee compensation elements of House Bill 1500 and Senate Bill 900.

The proposal includes a 3% pay raise for state employees, funds to raise the starting salary of Virginia State Police, and funds to address salary compression issues for sheriff's deputies. The committees responsible for the budget bills will unveil their complete proposals on February 5, 2017.

"I am very pleased that the House and Senate agree that compensation is a top priority of our respective bodies," said House Appropriations Chairman Jones. "Today's announcement is the first step in a multi-step process in dealing with compensation for out state employees. Last year we said that addressing state employee pay and addressing the critical needs of the Virginia State Police were our top priority. Unfortunately, our employees lost the scheduled pay raise due to the failure to meet the 2016 revenue projections, despite the fact that the state's funding for pay raises for all employee groups was tied to meeting the revenue forecast, teachers and college faculty still received pay raises last year. The reality is that state employees and state police only have the General Assembly to turn to. Our actions today go a long way toward securing a better and brighter future for Virginia's state employees. While we have reached agreement on state employee compensation, there is still much work to be done. The House and Senate will continue to meet over the coming days to reach a final conservative budget proposal that invests in the core functions of government and is structurally balanced."

"From the beginning of this session, addressing the deficiencies in pay for our State Police was a major priority for the Senate," said Senate Finance Co-Chairman Hanger. "Although we are facing a challenging year addressing the budget shortfall, providing a compensation increase for the men and women who keep the Commonwealth safe became a focal point of our efforts before the session started. The Senate Finance Committee and House Appropriations Committee have been working on solutions to this challenge, and I am very grateful to the members of our respective staffs for the diligence they have shown in working toward a resolution."

"I think this may be a landmark year for cooperation between House Appropriations and Senate Finance," said Senate Finance Co-Chairman Norment, Senate Majority Leader. "From the beginning, we have identified our shared goals and collaboratively addressed them. When you're confronting a revenue shortfall, there are tough choices with no easy answers. But, I think we're poised to send a budget agreement to the Governor with strong support from both parties and both chambers."






General Assembly Update: Week Two

January 20, 2017


At the end of our second week of session, most political attention across the Commonwealth and nation has shifted 100 miles to the north of Richmond for the 45th Presidential Inauguration. With this session limited to forty-six days and over 2,000 bills and resolutions to consider, getting down to work quickly is a necessity.

Legislation 

At this point, nearly all bills have been assigned to a committee where legislators will present them for deliberation and committees will vote to possibly allow the legislation to continue on for consideration by the entire body.  The Senate and House have until Tuesday, February 7 to complete work on bills introduced in their respective Chambers.

This week I worked with my committees on our assigned legislation and began presenting my own bills to my colleagues. Although there were minor changes in committees assignments this year, to fill the seats of legislators that are no longer serving in the Senate, my committee assignments remained the same. If you would like to view a full listing of my committee assignments you may find them on my General Assembly page

One of the bills that I submitted this year was passed unanimously out of the Transportation Committee and will go on to be considered by all members of the Senate. SB 855 designates the Route 143 Bridge over Interstate 64 the "Trooper Chad Phillip Dermyer Memorial Bridge" in memory of Trooper Dermyer who was tragically killed in the line of duty at the Richmond Greyhound Bus station on April 5, 2016. Having served the public as a Marine, Newport News Police Officer and Virginia State Trooper, we honor and remember his sacrifices and those of his family with the naming of this bridge. The location of the bridge was a recommendation from the friends and family of Trooper Dermyer as he served most of his career in Newport News. 

2017 Legislative Survey

We want to hear from you to better understand your thoughts and concerns on many of the key issues that will be addressed through legislation this session. To help us do this effectively, we have created a survey where you may indicate your preferences on specific topics and leave notes. The survey can be completed online by clicking here

No information submitted through this survey will be shared with anyone outside of our office or used for any purpose other than to guide decisions and actions throughout the legislative process. 

Visitors

Although two federal holidays and one state holiday fall during every General Assembly session, the legislature will still meet on those days. It is important that we maintain this schedule not only because of the number of bills that we must consider in a short period of time but also because it allows constituents who have those days off to visit and discuss their thoughts with their representatives in person.

We enjoyed seeing a number of visitors on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and throughout the week.

  • Ira Agricola, Hampton Roads Chamber, Executive Vice President of Government Affairs
  • Donna Atkins, Poqouson
  • William A. Bell Jr, 1st Vice President of Virginia Electoral Board Association
  • Dr. William J. Bennett, Williamsburg Dental Group
  • Dr. Tom Cherry, Williamsburg
  • David Coe, Executive Director, Colonial Behavioral Health
  • The Honorable Stan Clark, Former Isle of Wight Board of Supervisor Member
  • Michelle DeWitt, City of Williamsburg Economic Development Director
  • Dr. Ralph L. Howell Jr., RL Howell DDS & Associates, PC 
  • Steve Huxtable, Virginia National Guard, Department of Military Affairs
  • Dr. N. Ray Lee, Oyster Point Oral and Facial Surgery
  • Dr. Pamela Lundberg, Williamsburg Eyecare
  • Tara Morgan, Hampton Voter Registrar
  • Matt Scott, Hampton Electoral Board
  • Members of American Legion Post 75
  • Members of American Legion Post 88
  • Members of League of Women Voters

If you will be in Richmond between now and February 25, please stop by our offices in Room 626 of the General Assembly Building.

Please continue to send me your thoughts on important pieces of legislation. You may contact my office by sending an e-mail to District03@senate.virginia.gov or a letter to Senate of Virginia, PO Box 396, Richmond VA 23218-0396. You can also call us at 804.698.7503. 






General Assembly Update: Week One

January 13, 2017


This week we began the 398th session of the Virginia General Assembly. When we arrived in Richmond  on Monday, the Capitol was covered in snow, but it quickly melted with the 70-degree temperatures we experienced  on Thursday. During our first week back, we heard from the Governor at the State of the Commonwealth Address  on Wednesday, and we welcomed four new Senators. 

Since it is an odd numbered year, the General Assembly will meet for 46 days rather than the 60 day sessions we hold in even number years. 2017 is a short session, because we already passed the two-year budget last year. We will still make amendments to the budget, but this will require less time.

State of the Commonwealth 

The Governor addressed the General Assembly with his priorities for the session many of which propose to grow government and restrict personal liberties. He acknowledged the divided state of the nation as a whole and applauded Virginians on their ability to work collaboratively. Unfortunately, he also used his captive audience to promote his party's agenda.

Nonetheless, there is much work to be done, and I intend to cooperate with the Governor and members of the General Assembly to do what is best for Virginians.  We will bring the budget back into balance and look at reforms to Medicaid and economic development programs along with a number of other issues.

2017 Legislative Survey

We want to hear from you to better understand your thoughts and concerns on many of the key issues that will be addressed through legislation this session. To help us do this effectively, we have created a survey where you may indicate your preferences on specific topics and leave notes. The survey can be completed online by clicking here

No information submitted through this survey will be shared with anyone outside of our office or used for any purpose other than to guide decisions and actions throughout the legislative process. 

Visitors

Although our first week back in Richmond was a relatively short one, t here were many visitors around Capitol Square. We thoroughly enjoyed seeing a number of friendly faces from home. 

  • The Honorable Sheila Noll, York County Board of Supervisors Chairwoman
  • The Honorable Joe McLaughlin, New Kent County Sheriff
  • The Honorable Darrell Warren, Gloucester County Sheriff
  • Brandon Ancorroh, Aylett
  • Mary A. Clark and Penny Doyel, Virginia Federation of Republican Women
  • Hampton City Schools Career & Tech Education 
  • Virginia Assembly of Independent Baptists

If you will be in Richmond between now and February 25, please stop by our offices in Room 626 of the General Assembly Building.

Please continue to send me your thoughts on important pieces of legislation. You may contact my office by sending an e-mail to District03@senate.virginia.gov or a letter to Senate of Virginia, PO Box 396, Richmond VA 23218-0396. You can also call us at 804.698.7503. 

Very truly yours,

Senator Tommy Norment






Let Your Opinion Be Known!

January 11, 2017


As we begin the 2017 General Assembly Session today, we want to hear from you to better understand your thoughts and concerns on many of the key issues that will be addressed through legislation over the next forty-five days. To help us do this effectively, we have created a survey where you can indicate your preferences on specific topics and leave notes. The survey can be completed online by clicking here.

No information submitted through this survey will be shared with anyone outside of our office or used for any purpose other than to guide decisions and actions throughout the legislative process.

Please join me in Richmond over the next forty five days to observe our legislative process, voice your opinion regarding legislation, or tour Virginia's Capitol. Our office is located in Room 626 of the General Assembly Building. If you would like to make an appointment, please call my capital office at 804-698-7503 or email us at district03@senate.virginia.gov.

I appreciate the trust you have placed in me to serve as your voice in the Senate of Virginia, and thank you for sharing your thoughts so that I can better represent you.

Very truly yours,

Senator Tommy Norment






Senate Republicans Welcome Senator-Elect Peake

January 10, 2017


NEWS RELEASE: Senate Republicans Welcome Senator-Elect Peake

 

WILLIAMSBURG, VA, 10 JANUARY 2017: Republicans retained their majority in the Senate of Virginia tonight, as Republican nominee Mark J. Peake won a special election in the 22nd Senatorial District. 

"Mark Peake ran an outstanding campaign," noted Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City). "He has worked tirelessly for months, building strong support and taking his positive message directly to the voters. 

"Mark is already well-known and respected by the members of our caucus. He will hit the ground running in the Senate, and will be an effective legislator from day one. I know that every Republican senator is looking forward to serving with Mark and grateful for all the hard work he and his campaign put into winning this race."

 

The 22nd District includes Amherst, Appomattox, Buckingham, Cumberland, Fluvanna, Goochland, and Prince Edward Counties, and portions of the City of Lynchburg and Louisa County. 

###






Senate Republicans Mourn The Passing of Former Senator & Senate President Pro Tempore Chuck Colgan

January 03, 2017


WILLIAMSBURG, VA, 3 JANUARY 2017: Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today issued the following statement regarding the passing of former Senator and Senate President Pro Tempore Charles J. "Chuck" Colgan: 

"Few lawmakers ever attain the level of respect and admiration that Senator Colgan enjoyed throughout his four-decades of service in the Senate of Virginia. He was committed to service above all else and was the embodiment of a standard of statesmanship reminiscent of a bygone era. 

"Known for his genial and affable demeanor, Senator Colgan counted legislators from both sides of the aisle and in both chambers as his friends. His experience proved invaluable to enacting fiscally responsible budgets, negotiating effectively for his constituents and the Commonwealth. 

"When Senator Colgan retired in 2015, the Senate of Virginia said 'goodbye' to one of its giants. The people of Manassas, Manassas Park, and Prince William were the direct beneficiaries of his outstanding service and legendary effectiveness for forty years. But, the entire Commonwealth also owed a debt to the Senator from Manassas. 

"On behalf of the Senate Republican Caucus, I extend our deepest and heartfelt sympathies to Carmen and the entire Colgan family on their loss. Every senator shares their grief on the passing of a truly great Virginian." 

### 






Commonwealth of Virginia 2016 Electoral College

December 19, 2016


Please follow the link to view the Commonwealth of Virginia 2016 Electoral College footage.






Happy Thanksgiving!

November 24, 2016


Today, we all prayerfully come before God in worship, praise and thanksgiving for the numerous and m arvelous  gifts that He has bestowed on our country and ourselves. It is through God's divine blessing, guidance and protection that our nation and especially the Commonwealth have continued to prosper through adversity, and that our democratic systems of governance and the institutions that give them meaning, have flourished.

As we spend time with our families today and look back on events over the past year let us all stop to reflect on the history and the meaning of the holiday. Let us give thanks for the many blessings that have been given to each of us. Like many, I am eternally grateful for my family and friends and the freedoms that we all enjoy. 

I especially would like to give thanks for the trust you have placed in me to serve as your voice in the Senate of Virginia. It is a great responsibility and a high honor.

I wish you and your family a happy and blessed Thanksgiving. 

Very truly yours,

Senator Tommy Norment

Paid for and Authorized by Friends of Tommy Norment





Honoring our Veterans

November 11, 2016


Since 1954, the 11th of November has provided an opportunity for American citizens across the country to honor those courageous members of our armed forces that have dedicated their lives to the preservation of peace and liberty. Our commonwealth is home to over 780,000 veterans and over 25 military bases representing all branches of the United States' defense services. In honor of Veterans Day, I would like to extend my deepest appreciation to the men, women, and families devoted to serving our nation. I am proud to share my home with such heroic individuals.

While we remain thankful for the sacrifices of our veterans every day; let us embrace this holiday as an occasion to commemorate the patriotism and love of country embodied by those currently enlisted, and to memorialize the bravery and strength of those who gave their lives to protect our futures. 

God Bless America and God Bless our Soldiers. 

Very truly yours,

Senator Tommy Norment






Victory at Yorktown (history.com)

October 19, 2016


Please follow the link to view this day in history: October 19th, Victory at Yorktown (1781).






Lawmakers ponder options at Bon Air for juvenile justice reform (RTD Article)

October 08, 2016


Please follow the link to view the article, "Lawmakers Ponder Options for Bon Air Juvenile Correctional Facility."






Thousands expected at 37th Guinea Jubilee (Gazette-Journal)

September 22, 2016


Please follow the link to view the article, "Thousands Expected at 37th Guinea Jubilee."






I-64 Widening in Henrico and New Kent counties

September 14, 2016


Please follow the link to learn more about "I-64 Widening in Henrico and New Kent Counties."






Statement of Senate Majority Leader Norment on Decision of U.S. Attorney's Office to End McDonnell Prosecution

September 08, 2016


Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today issued the following statement regarding the decision of the U.S. Attorney's office to end the prosecution of former Governor Robert F. McDonnell and former First Lady Maureen P. McDonnell:

"This is extraordinarily good news for the McDonnell family and a relief to the people of Virginia.

"The interests of justice would not have been served by another trial, especially in light of the Supreme Court's unanimous decision overturning the conviction of Governor McDonnell.

"It is my hope, and I firmly believe the hope of the overwhelming majority of Virginians, that the McDonnell family will rebuild their lives after this ordeal.  Having dedicated his life to serving the people of Virginia for more than a quarter century, Governor McDonnell has earned the right to be judged by the entirety of his public service career and his many accomplishments and achievements. I am proud to call Governor McDonnell 'my friend.'

"On behalf of the Senate Republican Caucus, I thank Governor McDonnell for his service to the people of Virginia and wish the McDonnell family all the best in their future endeavors."






Senate Republicans earn top 21 spots in Virginia FREE 2016 rankings

September 01, 2016


The 21 members of the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus have earned the top 21 spots in Virginia FREE's 2016 legislative rankings for the Senate of Virginia.

With a membership comprised of individuals, trade associations, and corporations operating businesses in Virginia, Virginia FREE ranks members of the General Assembly annually on their support for a wide range of legislation important to economic development. For 2016, Republican senators outpaced their Democrat counterparts, securing all of the top spots in the group's rankings. Virginia FREE's 2016 General Assembly rankings can be found here

"I am very proud of our caucus today, and am grateful to the members of Virginia FREE for this recognition," Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) remarked. "Senate Republicans earned these high rankings because our senators are committed to creating jobs with policies that encourage economic growth.

"I am exceptionally pleased with all of the members of the Senate Republican Caucus, who continue to demonstrate their dedication to revitalizing the Commonwealth's economy.  We will not waver in our commitment to restoring Virginia to its rightful place as America's best state for business."






Senator Norment Files Vote Restoration Amendment

September 01, 2016


Williamsburg, Virginia, 1 September 2016: Senate of Virginia Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) filed legislation today to amend the Constitution of Virginia to allow those convicted of non-violent felonies to have their political rights automatically restored after all the terms of their sentence have been completed.

Senator Norment's proposed amendment, Senate Joint Resolution 223, would restore the right to vote to those convicted of non-violent felonies, provided they have completed the entirety of their sentence and any probation, and have paid in full any fines, court costs, and restitution. The amendment also assigns to the General Assembly the responsibility of defining offenses that would be classified as violent. Those convicted of violent felonies would not be qualified to vote.

"There is only one right way to automatically restore the vote to those convicted of non-violent felonies who have completed their sentences and paid their fines and restitution," Senator Norment said. "That right way requires an amendment to the Constitution of Virginia, approved by the General Assembly and the people of Virginia.

"I believe those convicted of non-violent felonies deserve a second chance. This amendment would give them that opportunity. But, they would first have to complete all of the terms of their sentence, including paying their fines, court costs, and any restitution. These were the conditions required by all of Governor McAuliffe's predecessors.

"This amendment would guarantee those who have their right to vote restored are truly deserving of that second chance. And to ensure the unnecessary drama that ensued after Governor McAuliffe issued his unconstitutional rights restoration order on April 22 does not repeat itself, this amendment would remove the executive from the rights restoration process.

"I will be presenting this legislation in the 2017 General Assembly session and hope that my fellow legislators will join me in supporting it."

To be adopted, amendments to the Constitution of Virginia must be approved by the General Assembly in two successive sessions with an intervening election and then receive an affirmative vote from the people of Virginia in a general election. Senator Norment's proposed amendment would, therefore, have to be approved during the 2017 and 2018 General Assembly sessions and then receive a positive vote from Virginians in the November 6, 2018 general election.

Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. represents the 3rd District in the Senate of Virginia. The 3rd District includes Gloucester, King and Queen, King William, and New Kent Counties, the City of Poquoson, and portions of Isle of Wight, James City, Surry, and York Counties, and the Cities of Hampton and Suffolk.

###






General Assembly Republicans file contempt motion against Governor McAuliffe

August 31, 2016


Attorneys for Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford), Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City), and four Virginia voters will file a contempt motion today against Governor Terence R. McAuliffe (D) with the Supreme Court of Virginia.  The petitioners are requesting an order from the Court requiring the Governor and other respondents to show cause for why they should not be held in contempt for violating the Supreme Court's July 22 decision in Howell v. McAuliffe.

In granting a writ of mandamus against Governor McAuliffe and other respondents, the Court ruled that the governor replaced a general rule with a categorical exception, effectively suspending the constitutional prohibition on felon voting and violating the Constitution of Virginia's anti-suspension provision. The contempt motion argues that the effect of the August 22 action is practically the same as the first set of executive orders, resulting in another unconstitutional suspension of the laws.

"'The practical effect' of Governor McAuliffe's August 22 decision to issue over 200,000 individual restoration orders is precisely the same: his newly announced process will effectively suspend Virginia's general constitutional prohibition against felon voting for over 200,000 felons," reads the motion.  "In both scenarios, the Governor has 'effectively reframe[d] Article II, Section 1 to say' what he wants it to say rather than what the People of Virginia actually inscribed in their Constitution.  This Court did not reduce the suspension clause of the Constitution to a printing requirement. The Court held instead that the suspension clause is an 'essential pillar of a constitutional republic,' whose protections do not depend upon how many reams of paper and autopen machines the Governor deploys to work his will."

The full motion can be found here. The petitioners also filed a motion to expedite the proceedings, which can be found here

"After a thorough legal review, it is clear that Governor McAuliffe has once again illegally suspended the Constitution of Virginia," said Speaker Howell.  "There is no practical difference between his latest action and his first set of executive orders.

"We have carefully considered the gravity of our request.  I deeply respect the Supreme Court and its role as a co-equal branch of government.  However, the seriousness of Governor McAuliffe's flagrant and repeated violation of the Constitution requires us to take action.  The governor will undoubtedly continue to falsely demagogue our motivations, but we cannot stand idly by.  We have an obligation to check the excesses of executive power and hold the governor accountable to the Constitution and the rule of law."

"We have 'a government of laws and not of men,'" Senator Norment noted.  "In our system of government, when one official flagrantly ignores the laws, it is the solemn duty of those of us who have the authority to stand up and take action.  Having been told by the highest court in the Commonwealth that his process violated our Constitution, the Governor has responded with dismissive rhetoric and ignored the Court's ruling.  We have no choice but to seek relief and demand he comply with the Rule of Law.

"I believe in redemption.  And there is a way, within the bounds of the law, to ensure those deserving of relief have their rights restored.  But no matter how noble the goal, allowing the Governor - or any government official - to usurp the Rule of Law is detrimental to our system of self-government.  It cannot stand." 

###






Statement of Senate Majority Leader Norment on McAuliffe Case-By-Case Rights Restoration

August 22, 2016


WILLIAMSBURG, VA,  22 AUGUST 2016 : Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today issued the following statement on Governor Terence R. McAuliffe's (D) restoration of political rights for 13,000 felons:

"I am pleased Governor McAuliffe has complied with the decision of the Supreme Court of Virginia, one month to the day after it was issued.  Had the Governor followed the Constitution of Virginia on April 22 when he initially attempted this, those affected by today's announcement might not have endured the roller-coaster of bureaucratic incompetence his executive overreach exposed.

"This episode should serve as a cautionary tale for those who would declare policies by fiat, circumventing the protections enshrined in the Constitution of Virginia.

"The Governor's decision to lash out at the Court and the General Assembly after his unconstitutional order was overturned was petulant and imprudent.    He, and he alone, is responsible for the fiasco that ensued after his April 22 announcement. His pronouncements questioning the integrity of the Court and falsely assigning blame to General Assembly leaders have been disgraceful.

"I sincerely hope the Administration has taken greater care in issuing these case-by-case restoration orders than it demonstrated over the last four months.    I also hope it will finally comply with Virginia's Freedom of Information Act by releasing the complete list of those who were eligible under his original order."

###






Norment Statement on McAuliffe's criticism of Supreme Court

August 16, 2016


WILLIAMSBURG, VA, 16 AUGUST 2016: Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today issued the following statement on Governor Terence R. McAuliffe's (D) statements criticizing the Supreme Court of Virginia: 

"Once again, Governor McAuliffe has demonstrated his outrageous disdain for the two co-equal branches of Virginia government of which he is not a member. In so doing, he disregards the Constitution of Virginia and diminishes the foundations of the Commonwealth's government. If this governor wants to run a dictatorship, he should drive one of his GreenTech cars to South America. 

"The Supreme Court of Virginia struck down Governor McAuliffe's unconstitutional order because it was unconstitutional. To suggest any alternate motivation is disrespectful and contemptible. 

"The decision of the Court was consistent with the interpretation of the Constitution shared and practiced by all of Governor McAuliffe's predecessors. His attempt to blame others for having his own misguided overreach of executive authority thwarted is despicable, but not surprising. His questioning of the justices' motivations, however, demonstrates a contempt for all who do not capitulate to his agenda. 

"Governor McAuliffe owes the judges of the Supreme Court an apology. His comments were intemperate and disrespectful. He should acknowledge this and inform the Court - and the people of Virginia - as soon as possible."






Norment News: Sales Tax Holiday and Supreme Court Decisions

August 05, 2016


10th Anniversary of Virginia's Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday

For Virginians, this is a great weekend to go shopping. This weekend marks the 10th anniversary of Virginia's Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday. That means that today through Sunday, purchases of a wide variety of items related to sending kids back to school - including clothing - are available tax free. 

As they say in television ads, "But wait, there's more!" Not only is this weekend the Back-to-School Sales Tax Holiday, it is also the Hurricane and Emergency Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday and the Energy Star and WaterSense Sales Tax Holiday. That means that purchases of everything ranging from batteries and flashlights to energy efficient appliances and water-saving plumbing items are tax free. 

The combined sales tax holidays are a wonderful opportunity to take advantage of for Virginia families. Adding to the savings, a lot of retailers will be competing for your business this weekend with sales timed to coincide with the tax savings. So whether you're trying to equip a child for a successful school year or looking to replace an old appliance, this is the weekend to make your purchase. These links will help you find out which purchases will be sales tax free this weekend:

Supreme Court Decisions

Two Supreme Courts have made decisions on two issues that have been extensively covered by the media. Issuing a decision in a case I filed, the Supreme Court of Virginia struck down Governor McAuliffe's attempt to restore the political rights of felons as a group. The Governor was attempting to add 206,000 felons to Virginia's voter rolls by circumventing the review process. This move was clearly outside of his constitutional authority. The consequences of his actions make it clear why the Constitution of Virginia only gives a governor the authority to restore these rights on a case-by-case basis. 

A short while after the Governor issued his order on April 22 (two days after the General Assembly adjourned for the year), we learned some of those who were having their rights restored were still incarcerated in other states (one had been deported to Peru). We then learned that over 100 habitual sexual offenders currently under civil commitment at a facility in Crewe were included in the order. By the Governor's own admission, we found out that over 40,000 of the felons had been convicted of violent crimes, including murder and rape. And because the restoration of political rights is often the greatest obstacle to having gun rights restored, hundreds of felons who took advantage of the Governor's orders were applying to have their gun rights restored. 

The unintended consequences of the Governor's order provide a textbook example of the pitfalls of implementing policy with only a political goal - winning an election - in mind. Now that the Supreme Court of Virginia has reined him in, the Governor is limited to restoring the rights of felons after a case-by-case review. All of his predecessors respected that limitation. Now, he must adhere to it as well. 

The other court decision affecting Virginia came from the Supreme Court of the United States. On Wednesday, it put a hold on a lower court order requiring Gloucester County Schools to allow students to select a restroom based on a student's "gender identity." Since it appears likely the Supreme Court will take up the Gloucester case in its coming term, a final decision involving this controversy isn't likely until the end of the coming school year. While emotions run high on both sides of this debate, the Court acted responsibly in putting this matter on hold until the case can be heard and decided. 

I hope you're enjoying these final few weeks of Summer 2016. Hopefully, the stifling hot temperatures are behind us (although this is Virginia, so you never know). 

Very truly yours,

Senator Tommy Norment

Paid for and Authorized by Friends of Tommy Norment





Coleman Bridge set for Full traffic stop this week (Daily Press)

August 02, 2016


Please follow the link to the article discussing the following topic, "Colman Bridge Set for Full Traffic Stop This Week."






Extreme Heat

July 29, 2016


Please follow the link to the article discussing the following topic, "Emergency Preparedness for Extreme Heat."






Virginia to offer TSA's pre-check at DMV offices (Daily Press)

July 22, 2016


Please follow the link to the article discussing the following topic, "Virginia to Offer TSA’s Pre-Check at DMV Offices."






Statement of House Speaker William J. Howell and Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr.

July 22, 2016


RICHMOND, VA -  Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. issued the following statement  Friday  on the Supreme Court's ruling declaring Governor Terry McAuliffe's executive order restoring the political rights of 206,000 convicted felons as unconstitutional. The full opinion can be found  here. 

"The Supreme Court of Virginia delivered a major victory for the Constitution, the rule of law and the Commonwealth of Virginia. Our nation was founded on the principles of limited government and separation of powers. Those principles have once again withstood assault from the executive branch. This opinion is a sweeping rebuke of the governor's unprecedented assertion of executive authority. We are grateful to the justices of the Supreme Court for their prompt and thorough attention to this case." 

###






FOIA Council: McAuliffe's List for Felon Voting Order Can't be Kept Secret as Working Paper (RTD Article)

July 13, 2016


Please follow the link to the article discussing the following topic, "List for Felon Voting Order." 






Statement of Senate Majority Leader Norment on Dallas Attack

July 08, 2016


WILLIAMSBURG, VA, 8 JULY 2016: Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today issued the following statement on the attack on and murders of police officers in Dallas, Texas: 

"An attack on law enforcement is an attack on the safety of every citizen and on our entire system of justice. We mourn the loss of the officers in Dallas and share in the grief of their families, the people of Dallas, and the law enforcement community throughout the United States.

"The safety of all Americans depends upon the brave men and women who risk their lives every day in service to their fellow citizens. Having worked closely with law enforcement professionals in Virginia for decades, I know first-hand just how dedicated our police officers and sheriff's deputies are. And, I know the extent of the tremendous sacrifices made by them and their families.

"Today, our prayers are with the families and colleagues of the fallen officers in Dallas. While we are all affected by these horrific events, their grief is immeasurable."

###






News Laws Go Into Effect Today

July 01, 2016


Each year, July 1st marks the date that legislation approved during the most recent General Assembly Session takes effect.

The 2016 session was a particularly busy one for me as it was my first year working on the biennial budget as Co-Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. Although I was limited in the amount of legislation that I could submit this year due to the budget, I was successful in passing a few key bills that will have a profound impact on the Commonwealth. One such bill is SB449 which is an economic development initiative that establishes the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board. GO Virginia as it is commonly known aligns the business community, the higher education community, state government and local government in order to foster private-sector growth, strengthen our workforce, promote local collaboration. A full list of the legislation that I submitted this year can be accessed here

For further information regarding all of the new laws going into effect today, July 1, I would encourage you to visit a website maintained by the Division of Legislative Services. Additionally, you may access a selection of summaries of legislation from the Division of Legislative Services document 

In Due Course.






Majority Leader Norment Statement on McDonnell v. U.S.

June 27, 2016


WILLIAMSBURG, VA,  27 JUNE 2016 :

Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today issued the following statement on the decision of the Supreme Court of the United States in McDonnell v. United States:

"Today's decision by the Supreme Court of the United States should come as a relief, not only to Governor McDonnell and his family, but to the people of Virginia.

"As became clear during oral arguments in April, the verdict against Governor McDonnell would have had far reaching effects had it been allowed to stand.  Former White House Counsels who served under our previous four presidents said the verdict would 'cripple the ability of elected officials to fulfill their role in our representative democracy.'

"The Court's decision clarifies the law, making clear there is a difference between acceptable political activities and crossing the line. By unanimously deciding this case in Governor McDonnell's favor, the Court has unambiguously determined that his conviction was unjust.

"For those of us who have worked with Governor McDonnell and known his family for the nearly quarter century he devoted to serving the people of Virginia, this has been a wrenching and difficult time.    But throughout these last two years under what had to be unbearable circumstances, his dignity and grace has confirmed the confidence placed in him by the people of Virginia when they elected him governor."

###






Virginia SFC 2016 Meeting

June 23, 2016


Please follow the link to the page entailing the details of the Senate Finance Committee’s 2017 Regular Session Meetings Agendas.






Sex offenders who are still locked up may have won right to vote again in VA (Washington Post)

June 16, 2016


Please go to the article source to learn more about Sex Offenders Voting in Virginia.






Technology RU Online Map

June 07, 2016


Please go to the following page to learn more about the RU Online Map.






McAuliffe's Clemency order comes under scrutiny (Washington Post)

June 03, 2016


Please follow the link to the article discussing McAuliffe's Clemency Order to learn more about the topic.






19-year-old making bid for Poquoson City Council (Daily Pres)

June 03, 2016


Please follow the link to the page to learn more about the 19-year-old making bid for Poquoson City Council.






Supreme Court grants expedited hearing

June 02, 2016


RICHMOND, VA - The Supreme Court of Virginia agreed yesterday to expedite the legal challenge to Governor Terry McAuliffe's executive order purporting to restore the political rights of more than 206,000 convicted felons. The Supreme Court will hear the case, brought by Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford), Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City), and four other Virginia voters, at a special session on July 19, 2016.

"We are pleased the Supreme Court recognizes the urgency of our challenge to Governor McAuliffe's unprecedented and unconstitutional expansion of executive power," said Speaker Howell. "A plain reading of the Constitution, 240 years of Virginia history and precedent-setting Virginia Supreme Court cases make the case against the executive order overwhelming. We are confident the constitution and rule of law will prevail." 

"Governor McAuliffe's unprecedented executive overreach left the legislative branch with no choice but to challenge his order in the most expeditious manner possible," said Majority Leader Norment. "Clearly, the Supreme Court understands the urgency of this, and I am confident the Court will ultimately find the order unconstitutional." A full copy of the court's order on the motion to expedite can be found here." 

###






American Revolution Museum at Yorktown on the way!

May 31, 2016


Please follow the link to the article to learn more about the Yorktown Victory Center.






Memorial Day 2016

May 30, 2016


For many, Memorial Day marks the unofficial beginning of summer, an opportunity to enjoy the company of family and friends at a cookout or gathering.  But, please do not forget the important meaning of this day, and of those who paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we can enjoy the enduring blessings of freedom.

On this Memorial Day, we honor all who have laid down their lives in service to our nation.  We must also remember that the pains of war live on in the families who have lost loved ones.  Memorial Day is about remembering those lost while serving the United States and ensuring their sacrifices - and those of their families - are never forgotten.

I encourage you to join me in taking time today to reflect on the sacrifices made on our behalf and America's, and pray for those who have lost loved ones.

Very truly yours,

Senator Tommy Norment






Howell and Norment: Court challenge seeks to halt executive order for restoration of felon rights (RTD Article)

May 24, 2016


Please follow the link to the article to learn more about the Restoration of Felon Rights.






Virginia voters to file suit against Governor McAuliffe's unconstitutional executive order

May 23, 2016


RICHMOND, VA - Attorneys for General Assembly Republicans are filing suit in the Supreme Court of Virginia to halt enforcement of Governor Terry McAuliffe's (D) order restoring the political rights of more than 206,000 convicted felons, Speaker of the House William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) announced Monday.

Six Virginia voters, including Howell and Norment, are asking the Supreme Court to issue writs of mandamus and prohibition to stop the implementation of the order.  In accordance with Supreme Court rules, the petition will be filed with the Court later today, after the Respondents receive notice.

 

"The Constitution of Virginia forbids this unprecedented assertion of executive authority," the filing states. "Governor McAuliffe's executive order defies the plain text of the Constitution, flouts the separation of powers, and has no precedent in the annals of Virginia history.  The Governor simply may not, with a stroke of the pen, unilaterally suspend and amend the Constitution."

 

"Governor Terry McAuliffe exceeded the authority granted to him by the Virginia Constitution and we simply cannot ignore this unprecedented executive overreach," said Speaker Howell.  "Along with fellow citizens, we are asking the Supreme Court of Virginia to stop the implementation of the order and any similar orders he may issue in the future. The case against the Governor's executive order is overwhelming. A plain reading of the Constitution, 240 years of practice, and precedent-setting Virginia Supreme Court cases lead to the unambiguous conclusion that the Governor's order is unconstitutional and cannot stand."

 

"The Governor has willfully ignored constitutional limitations on his power, demonstrating his complete and total disregard for the Commonwealth, the people of Virginia, and the principles of representative government," Majority Leader Norment said.  "We have three separate and co-equal branches of government to serve as checks and balances to prevent abuses of power.  To fulfill the legislative branch's constitutional duty to check the excesses of executive power, we are compelled to challenge this order.  The weight of the case against the Governor's action is staggering, and we are confident we will prevail on the merits."

 

###






New Wildlife Management Area Established New Kent County

May 16, 2016


Please follow the link to the article discussing the New Life Wild Management Area in New Kent County.






Senate Republicans Mourn Passing of Former Senator and Delegate Johnny Joannou

May 06, 2016


WILLIAMSBURG, VA, 6 MAY 2016 :  On behalf of the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus, Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today issued the following statement on the passing of former Delegate and Senator Johnny S. Joannou of Portsmouth:

"Delegate Joannou was a dedicated public servant, representing the citizens of Hampton Roads with distinction throughout his 34 years as a member of the Virginia General Assembly.

"Having first been elected to the House during Mills Godwin's second term as Governor, Delegate Joannou retained the dedication and pragmatism of the elected officials of his era.  As a native son of Portsmouth, he proved to be an effective advocate and champion for the city he loved.  Throughout his 13 terms in the House and two in the Senate, he placed principle and the interests of his district ahead  of partisanship. He was fiercely devoted to the people of Portsmouth and never shied away from reaching across the aisle to achieve positive results for the people who elected him to serve.

"On a personal note, I enjoyed working with Delegate Joannou on the conference committees on the budget. His depth of knowledge and extensive experience made him an effective and invaluable conferee who was instrumental in securing Virginia's reputation for sound fiscal management."

###






House and Senate Republicans retain Charles J. Cooper to challenge McAuliffe's Rights Restoration Order
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 02, 2016


RICHMOND, VA, 2 MAY 2016 - Speaker of the House William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today announced that House and Senate Republicans have retained attorney Charles J. Cooper to challenge Governor Terence R. McAuliffe's (D) order restoring the civil rights of over 206,000 convicted felons. Mr. Cooper is a founding partner and chairman of Cooper & Kirk PLLC and a nationally recognized litigator and appellate attorney.

"Governor McAuliffe adopted an unprecedented view of executive authority and exceeded the powers granted to him by the Constitution of Virginia when he issued the order restoring the rights of more than 200,000 convicted felons," said Speaker Howell. "It is the obligation of the legislative and judicial branches to serve as a check on overreaches of executive power. To that end, we are prepared to uphold the Constitution of Virginia and the rule of law by challenging Governor McAuliffe's order in court.

"We have retained Attorney Charles J. Cooper to challenge the Governor's order. Mr. Cooper is an experienced attorney with over 35 years of public and private practice experience. An Assistant Attorney General under President Ronald Reagan, he has argued cases before the United States Supreme Court. The National Law Journal named Mr. Cooper one of the 10 best civil litigators in Washington. He will immediately begin developing the best path to challenge the Governor's action as quickly as possible. Our goal is to challenge this order and to win, and that means we must act with due diligence as we prepare to move forward. Taxpayer funds will not be used for this lawsuit."

"Governor McAuliffe's disregard for the Constitution of Virginia and the rule of law must not go unchecked," said Majority Leader Norment. "His predecessors and previous attorneys general examined this issue and consistently concluded Virginia's governor does not have the power to issue blanket restorations. By doing so now with the acknowledged goal of affecting the November election, he has overstepped the bounds of his authority and the constitutional limits on executive powers.

"We have retained Mr. Cooper to examine the legal options to remedy this Washington-style overreach by the executive branch. Mr. Cooper is an extremely qualified attorney and we have every confidence he will proceed prudently, judiciously, and expeditiously."

Biography of Charles J. Cooper

Charles J. Cooper is a founding member and chairman of Cooper & Kirk, PLLC. Named by The National Law Journal as one of the 10 best civil litigators in Washington, he has over 35 years of legal experience in government and private practice, with several appearances before the United States Supreme Court and scores of other successful cases on both the trial and appellate levels.

Shortly after serving as law clerk to Judge Paul Roney of the Fifth (now Eleventh) Circuit Court of Appeals, and to Justice (later Chief Justice) William H. Rehnquist, Mr. Cooper joined the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice in 1981. In 1985 President Reagan appointed Mr. Cooper to the position of Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Legal Counsel. Mr. Cooper reentered private practice in 1988, as a partner in the Washington, D.C. office of McGuire Woods. From 1990 until the founding of Cooper & Kirk in 1996, he was a partner at Shaw, Pittman, Potts & Trowbridge where he headed the firm's Constitutional and Government Litigation Group.

Mr. Cooper's practice is national in scope and is concentrated in the areas of constitutional, commercial, and civil rights litigation. He is currently representing private clients in a variety of commercial cases, including antitrust, intellectual property, and contract disputes. Mr. Cooper also represents a number of state and local government bodies, as well as private clients, in a wide range of constitutional and federal statutory cases.

In 1998 Mr. Cooper was appointed by Chief Justice William H. Rehnquist to serve as a member of the Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure of the Judicial Conference of the United States. Mr. Cooper is a member of the American Law Institute and the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, and he has spoken and published extensively on a wide variety of constitutional and legal policy topics.

###

Read More...



Speaker Howell and Majority Leader Norment Call on Governor McAuliffe to Convene Special Session
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 26, 2016


Richmond, Va, 26 April 2016: In a letter to Governor Terence R. McAuliffe (D), Speaker of the House William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today called for the convening of a special session of the Virginia General Assembly to consider the Governor's "Order for the Restoration of Rights," issued Friday.

Article V, Section 5 of the Constitution of Virginia gives the governor the authority to call for special sessions of the General Assembly.

The letter from Speaker Howell and Majority Leader Norment calls Governor McAuliffe's order "a matter of great consequence to the people of the Commonwealth of Virginia," characterizing the action as a "flagrant disregard for the Constitution of Virginia."

Governor McAuliffe issued the order despite determinations by previous governors, including then-Governor Timothy M. Kaine (D), that the Constitution of Virginia restricts the governor's power to restore rights to a case-by-case basis. Governor McAuliffe's order violated this limitation on his power, simultaneously restoring these rights to 206,000 convicted felons.

In addition to the request for a special session to be convened, Speaker Howell and Majority Leader Norment are requesting detailed information regarding those to whom the order applies. Specifically, they are calling for a list of the individuals to whom the order applies with information on the offenses for which they were convicted and the complete sentence imposed. Since Governor McAuliffe's order restored these rights without requiring the convicted felons eligible to have paid their fines, court costs, or restitution to victims, the General Assembly leaders are also requesting that information.

-END-

ATTACHMENT: Speaker Howell and Majority Leader Norment Letter to Governor McAuliffe, 26 April 2016





SENATE MAJORITY LEADER NORMENT EXPRESSES OUTRAGE AT GOVERNOR MCAULIFFE'S UNCONSTITUTIONAL EXECUTIVE ORDER
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 22, 2016


WILLIAMSBURG, VA, 22 APRIL 2016: Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today issued the following statement regarding Governor Terence R. McAuliffe's (D) executive order unilaterally expanding Virginia's electorate by including all convicted felons:

"Today, we learned once again that Terry McAuliffe will go to extreme lengths to win an election. To him, the Constitution of Virginia can be disregarded if it stands in the way of what he perceives to be an electoral advantage for his long-time patrons, the Clintons.

"Considering that the entire General Assembly was in session just two days ago, the timing of this action should give all legislators pause. Perhaps this governor does not expect to have to work with the General Assembly next session, as he might be planning on an appointment to an office headquartered in a different capitol city.

"With this action, what scant civility remains between the General Assembly and this Governor has been stretched to the breaking point. By consistently placing partisanship above all other considerations, including longstanding constitutional limitations on his power, he has demonstrated his complete and total disregard for the Commonwealth, the Constitution, and the people of Virginia."

###





Senate Republicans Mourn Passing of Senator John Miller
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 04, 2016


Richmond, Va, 4 April 2016: On behalf of the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus, Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today issued the following statement on the passing of Senator John C. Miller (D-Newport News):

"Senator Miller's untimely passing is a great loss. This is a very sad day for the Senate, the people of Hampton Roads, and the Commonwealth.

"As a long-time television reporter, John was very familiar to the people of our region long before they confirmed their trust in him with their votes. He continued that record of service at Christopher Newport University, and ultimately as a member of the Senate of Virginia.

"John was a tireless advocate for education and for Virginia's public schools. He was also a staunch defender of the interests of the Peninsula and of the people of the First Senatorial District.

"On behalf of the entire Senate Republican Caucus, I extend our deepest and sincerest sympathies to Sharron Miller, the Miller family, and John's staff. We know the people of Virginia share in their grief during this sad time."

###





General Assembly elects Court of Appeals Judge Stephen R. McCullough to Supreme Court

March 10, 2016


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RICHMOND, VA - The Virginia General Assembly on Thursday elected Court of Appeals Judge Stephen R. McCullough to fill the vacancy on the Virginia Supreme Court left by Justice LeRoy Millette. Prior to being elected to the Court of Appeals, McCullough worked in the Attorney General's Office from 1999-2011, serving in various senior level capacities.

"Today, the Virginia General Assembly fulfilled its constitutional duty by electing Judge McCullough to the Virginia Supreme Court," said House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford). "Despite repeated misguided attempts to circumvent the clear language of the Constitution of Virginia, legislators reaffirmed their exclusive responsibility to elect judges to Virginia's courts.

"Judge McCullough is an eminently qualified jurist who will make an outstanding addition to Virginia's highest court. We are grateful to him for his willingness to serve the Commonwealth."

"Today's vote ends a seven-month-long attempt to usurp the constitutional authority of the General Assembly," said Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City). "The united commitment of House and Senate Republican leadership to fulfill our duty by filling this vacancy has overcome unconstitutional attempts to adjourn last August's special session and to cede legislative authority to the executive.

"Judge McCullough's election closes this chapter in Virginia history. Upon reflection, it is our hope that our Democrat colleagues will examine and reflect upon their efforts to deny another outstanding jurist, Judge Alston, this opportunity to serve on the Court."

"We have been reminded in recent months of the critical role the judiciary plays in our government," said Senate Courts of Justice Committee Chairman Mark D. Obenshain (R-Rockingham)."To protect our rights and liberties, we must elect judges who will adhere to the Constitution and apply the law as written. Judge McCullough has already demonstrated he is a principled jurist of outstanding character. We are fortunate to have him on the Supreme Court."

"Judge McCullough is an experienced appellate judge who will make significant contributions to the Supreme Court," said House Courts of Justice Committee Chairman Dave Albo (R-Fairfax). "Throughout the last 19 years, he served the Commonwealth with the utmost distinction. From his time in the Attorney General's office as Solicitor General and an Assistant Attorney General to his current tenure on the Court of Appeals, Judge McCullough has gained wide respect from his peers."

Read More...



House and Senate negotiators reach budget agreement
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
March 09, 2016


~ Final votes on conference report expected Friday ~

RICHMOND, VA - Budget negotiators for the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate of Virginia have completed work on the budget conference reports for House Bills 29 and 30, Senate Finance Co-Chairs Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) and Emmett W. Hanger, Jr. (R-Augusta) and House Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) announced Wednesday. Under the procedural resolution agreed to by both chambers, final votes on the conference reports are expected on Friday. The conference reports will be posted this afternoon between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m.

"Thanks to the leadership of Republican majorities in the House and the Senate, budget negotiators have completed their work ahead of schedule for the second consecutive year," said Senate Majority Leader Norment. "The conferees have worked closely and collaboratively to finalize a two-year budget that carefully directs taxpayer dollars toward the shared priorities of the Senate and the House. I want to thank my colleagues on the conference committee for their tireless efforts this session."

"At the start of session, Speaker Howell reminded the General Assembly that almost as important as the budget itself is the manner in which we craft it. The House and Senate for the second straight year are prepared to produce a conservative, responsible, and balanced state budget ahead of schedule, a sharp contrast to how business is done in Washington," said Chairman Jones. "The conference report represents a bipartisan and bicameral agreement on Virginia's priorities. We are investing in the core functions of state government while carefully guarding taxpayer resources. I look forward to the passage of the conference report."

"This conference report responsibly addresses the challenges facing the Commonwealth, prioritizes funding for our schools and public safety professionals, and is fiscally conservative," said Co-Chairman Hanger. "Crafting a budget requires all sides to forge compromises to ensure we fulfill our constitutional obligations. The conferees took that responsibility very seriously, and the budget we have produced is testimony to their commitment to the Commonwealth and their colleagues."

"Under Republican leadership for the last two years, the General Assembly has demonstrated what effective governance looks like. While Washington is mired in gridlock, the House and Senate have produced consecutive budgets ahead of schedule," said House Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman R. Steven Landes (R-Augusta). "I am proud of the conference report that both bodies will vote on later this week. It reflects our mutual willingness to invest in Virginia's priorities, guard taxpayer dollars, and set Virginia on a prudent fiscal course for the years ahead."

2016-2018 State Budget


Key Takeaways


  • The House and Senate have produced a conservative, responsible and balanced state budget ahead of schedule for the second year in a row.
  • We are taking a number of steps to set Virginia on a responsible fiscal course - eliminating state liabilities, reducing borrowing and making one-time investments rather than committing to long-term spending.
  • We are also making healthy investments in K-12 and higher education. Our K-12 investments come with added flexibility compared to the Governor's budget proposal. Our investments in higher education will help hold down tuition costs for Virginia families.
  • The budget makes strategic investments in economic development, but adds additional oversight to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.
  • The budget does not include Obamacare's Medicaid expansion or the Medicaid provider tax gimmick that Governor McAuliffe proposed. Instead, we continue to build on our work to strengthen the healthcare safety net.

Structurally Balanced Budget


  • The budget proposal does not include any tax or fee increases.
  • Deposits $605 million in the state's rainy day fund, restoring the fund to 90% of its previous balance. By the end of the biennium, the fund will be at $845 million.
  • Funds the annual contribution to the Virginia Retirement System at 100% of the Board certified rate, fulfilling our requirement two years ahead of schedule. The House of Delegates first proposed fully funding VRS in November, before the Governor's budget proposal was released.
  • Accelerates the $189.5 million repayment to the VRS for the contribution rate deferral in 2010. This is six years ahead of schedule. This saves $44 million per year moving forward.
  • Eliminates the Accelerated Sales Tax on over 90% of businesses by the end of FY 2018.
  • Proposes a bond package of ~$2.1 billion, which is smaller than the $2.4 billion package originally proposed by the Governor.
  • Allocates excess revenues to reduce the amount of money borrowed for the bond package. Under the House proposal, if revenues exceed the modified forecast that money will be used to pay down the balance of the bond package.

Flexibility in K-12 Education


  • The budget proposal makes significant investments in K-12 education, increases flexibility for local school divisions, and makes targeted investments in early childhood education. Invests over $900 million in new funding for K-12 education compared to previous biennium, $73 million more than originally proposed by Governor McAuliffe.
  • Includes a 2% teacher pay raise in the first year of the budget.
  • Re-establishes the lottery proceeds distribution in the second year of the budget, sending 29% of lottery proceeds back to local schools by FY18. The House goal is to fully restore the 40% distribution, which was the policy prior to 2010.
  • Funds the pilot program for mixed-use delivery models in early childhood education and includes $3.2 million to increase Virginia Preschool Initiative slots.
  • Includes $36 million for Cost to Compete in Northern Virginia.
  • Includes $35 million for the at-risk add on to direct funding to schools with disproportionate free and reduced lunch populations.

Making College More Affordable


  • The budget proposal builds on our continued effort to make college more affordable for Virginia families and includes $78.6 million more than Governor McAuliffe proposed for higher education funding.
  • Includes $114 million for operating and maintenance at colleges and universities to mitigate tuition increases.
  • Includes $48 million for undergraduate financial aid.
  • Includes $12.5 million for the New Economy Workforce Credentialing program.

Economic Development


  • The budget funds strategic and targeted investments in economic development, while promoting increased accountability and oversight in coordination with our legislative priorities.
  • The budget allows the Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission to undertake ongoing and continuing oversight of economic development initiatives and tax preferences.
  • Increases accountability by directing funds to GO Virginia and research funding. The budget includes $35 million for GO Virginia.
  • Includes $1.5 million for broadband initiatives in currently unserved areas.

Stronger Healthcare Safety Net


  • The budget does not include Obamacare's Medicaid expansion or the Medicaid provider tax that both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have called a "gimmick."
  • Invests new funding to build a stronger healthcare safety net to create new two PACT teams and raise the eligibility for the GAP program to 80% of the federal poverty level.
  • Creates 355 new waiver slots in addition to the DOJ mandated waiver slots. This investment will shorten the urgent waiting list by 200 slots.
  • Stops the closure of Catawba Hospital and creates a comprehensive statewide study of mental health institutions.
  • Includes $16 million for hospital inflation.

Investing in Our State Employees


  • Includes a 3% pay raise in the first year of the budget for state employees and college faculty, and a 2% pay raise for state supported local employees. The Governor's budget proposal provided a pay raise in the second year. Public Safety
  • Includes a 3% pay raise for state police and a yearly adjustment to address salary compression for senior employees.
  • Provides $21 million for jail per diem funding.
  • Includes $400,000 for voluntary background checks at gun shows.
  • Includes funding for 20 new state troopers in the Special Operations Division.
  • Funds a new State Police Area Office in the New River Valley.
  • Press Release PDF







Senate Will Elect Court of Appeals Judge Stephen McCullough to Fill Supreme Court Vacancy

March 09, 2016


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RICHMOND, VA, 9 MARCH 2016: The Virginia Senate Republican Caucus today announced they will elect Virginia Court of Appeals Judge Stephen R. McCullough to the vacancy on the Supreme Court of Virginia.

The selection of Judge McCullough was made after former Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II informed the Caucus that he would not accept the nomination at this time.

"Tiero and I gave serious and prayerful consideration to accepting this honor," Cuccinelli informed the Caucus. "As attractive an opportunity to serve the Commonwealth on the Court would be, it simply is not the right time for our family."

Senator Richard H. Stuart (R-Stafford), who presented the resolution advancing the former Attorney General's nomination, announced that he would amend it in favor of Judge McCullough.

"I know Ken would have made, and I hope someday will make, an outstanding justice," said Stuart. "But, I understand family considerations must come first. Ken strongly recommended Judge McCullough, who has an impeccable reputation on the bench, for the vacancy, and I am pleased to advance and support his nomination to the Court."

"Having worked with Steve McCullough during my service as Attorney General, I know he has a spectacular mind, is principled on the law, and has been an outstanding Appeals Court jurist," noted Cuccinelli. "He is an excellent choice to serve as justice."

"Our Caucus strongly supported Judge Alston for this vacancy, and he has consistently acquitted himself with dignity and grace throughout this ordeal," noted Senate Courts of Justice Committee Chairman Mark D. Obenshain (R-Rockingham). "Judge Alston would have been, and I hope one day will be, an outstanding addition to the Court. But, the Governor and General Assembly Democrats denied this exceptional jurist this opportunity to serve on the Court."

"Judge McCullough will be elected by the Senate and the House before the General Assembly adjourns Sine Die," remarked Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City). "The General Assembly will have fulfilled its constitutional obligation to fill judicial vacancies, the best efforts of some to thwart that notwithstanding."

###

Read More...



House and Senate negotiators reach budget agreement

March 08, 2016


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

~ Final votes on conference report expected Friday ~

RICHMOND, VA - Budget negotiators for the Virginia House of Delegates and Senate of Virginia have completed work on the budget conference reports for House Bills 29 and 30, Senate Finance Co-Chairs Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) and Emmett W. Hanger, Jr. (R-Augusta) and House Appropriations Committee Chairman S. Chris Jones (R-Suffolk) announced Wednesday. Under the procedural resolution agreed to by both chambers, final votes on the conference reports are expected on Friday. The conference reports will be posted this afternoon between 4:00 and 6:00 p.m.

"Thanks to the leadership of Republican majorities in the House and the Senate, budget negotiators have completed their work ahead of schedule for the second consecutive year," said Senate Majority Leader Norment. "The conferees have worked closely and collaboratively to finalize a two-year budget that carefully directs taxpayer dollars toward the shared priorities of the Senate and the House. I want to thank my colleagues on the conference committee for their tireless efforts this session."

"At the start of session, Speaker Howell reminded the General Assembly that almost as important as the budget itself is the manner in which we craft it. The House and Senate for the second straight year are prepared to produce a conservative, responsible, and balanced state budget ahead of schedule, a sharp contrast to how business is done in Washington," said Chairman Jones. "The conference report represents a bipartisan and bicameral agreement on Virginia's priorities. We are investing in the core functions of state government while carefully guarding taxpayer resources. I look forward to the passage of the conference report."

"This conference report responsibly addresses the challenges facing the Commonwealth, prioritizes funding for our schools and public safety professionals, and is fiscally conservative," said Co-Chairman Hanger. "Crafting a budget requires all sides to forge compromises to ensure we fulfill our constitutional obligations. The conferees took that responsibility very seriously, and the budget we have produced is testimony to their commitment to the Commonwealth and their colleagues."

"Under Republican leadership for the last two years, the General Assembly has demonstrated what effective governance looks like. While Washington is mired in gridlock, the House and Senate have produced consecutive budgets ahead of schedule," said House Appropriations Committee Vice Chairman R. Steven Landes (R-Augusta). "I am proud of the conference report that both bodies will vote on later this week. It reflects our mutual willingness to invest in Virginia's priorities, guard taxpayer dollars, and set Virginia on a prudent fiscal course for the years ahead."

2016-2018 State Budget

Key Takeaways

  • The House and Senate have produced a conservative, responsible and balanced state budget ahead of schedule for the second year in a row.
  • We are taking a number of steps to set Virginia on a responsible fiscal course - eliminating state liabilities, reducing borrowing and making one-time investments rather than committing to long-term spending.
  • We are also making healthy investments in K-12 and higher education. Our K-12 investments come with added flexibility compared to the Governor's budget proposal. Our investments in higher education will help hold down tuition costs for Virginia families.
  • The budget makes strategic investments in economic development, but adds additional oversight to ensure that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely.
  • The budget does not include Obamacare's Medicaid expansion or the Medicaid provider tax gimmick that Governor McAuliffe proposed. Instead, we continue to build on our work to strengthen the healthcare safety net.

Structurally Balanced Budget

  • The budget proposal does not include any tax or fee increases.
  • Deposits $605 million in the state's rainy day fund, restoring the fund to 90% of its previous balance. By the end of the biennium, the fund will be at $845 million.
  • Funds the annual contribution to the Virginia Retirement System at 100% of the Board certified rate, fulfilling our requirement two years ahead of schedule. The House of Delegates first proposed fully funding VRS in November, before the Governor's budget proposal was released.
  • Accelerates the $189.5 million repayment to the VRS for the contribution rate deferral in 2010. This is six years ahead of schedule. This saves $44 million per year moving forward.
  • Eliminates the Accelerated Sales Tax on over 90% of businesses by the end of FY 2018.
  • Proposes a bond package of ~$2.1 billion, which is smaller than the $2.4 billion package originally proposed by the Governor.
  • Allocates excess revenues to reduce the amount of money borrowed for the bond package. Under the House proposal, if revenues exceed the modified forecast that money will be used to pay down the balance of the bond package.

Flexibility in K-12 Education

  • The budget proposal makes significant investments in K-12 education, increases flexibility for local school divisions, and makes targeted investments in early childhood education.
  • Invests over $900 million in new funding for K-12 education compared to previous biennium, $73 million more than originally proposed by Governor McAuliffe.
  • Includes a 2% teacher pay raise in the first year of the budget.
  • Re-establishes the lottery proceeds distribution in the second year of the budget, sending 29% of lottery proceeds back to local schools by FY18. The House goal is to fully restore the 40% distribution, which was the policy prior to 2010.
  • Funds the pilot program for mixed-use delivery models in early childhood education and includes $3.2 million to increase Virginia Preschool Initiative slots.
  • Includes $36 million for Cost to Compete in Northern Virginia.
  • Includes $35 million for the at-risk add on to direct funding to schools with disproportionate free and reduced lunch populations.

Making College More Affordable

  • The budget proposal builds on our continued effort to make college more affordable for Virginia families and includes $78.6 million more than Governor McAuliffe proposed for higher education funding.
  • Includes $114 million for operating and maintenance at colleges and universities to mitigate tuition increases.
  • Includes $48 million for undergraduate financial aid.
  • Includes $12.5 million for the New Economy Workforce Credentialing program.

Economic Development

  • The budget funds strategic and targeted investments in economic development, while promoting increased accountability and oversight in coordination with our legislative priorities.
  • The budget allows the Joint Legislative Audit & Review Commission to undertake ongoing and continuing oversight of economic development initiatives and tax preferences.
  • Increases accountability by directing funds to GO Virginia and research funding. The budget includes $35 million for GO Virginia.
  • Includes $1.5 million for broadband initiatives in currently unserved areas.

Stronger Healthcare Safety Net

  • The budget does not include Obamacare's Medicaid expansion or the Medicaid provider tax that both Republicans and Democrats in Congress have called a "gimmick."
  • Invests new funding to build a stronger healthcare safety net to create new two PACT teams and raise the eligibility for the GAP program to 80% of the federal poverty level.
  • Creates 355 new waiver slots in addition to the DOJ mandated waiver slots. This investment will shorten the urgent waiting list by 200 slots.
  • Stops the closure of Catawba Hospital and creates a comprehensive statewide study of mental health institutions.
  • Includes $16 million for hospital inflation.

Investing in Our State Employees

  • Includes a 3% pay raise in the first year of the budget for state employees and college faculty, and a 2% pay raise for state supported local employees. The Governor's budget proposal provided a pay raise in the second year. Public Safety
  • Includes a 3% pay raise for state police and a yearly adjustment to address salary compression for senior employees.
  • Provides $21 million for jail per diem funding.
  • Includes $400,000 for voluntary background checks at gun shows.
  • Includes funding for 20 new state troopers in the Special Operations Division.
  • Funds a new State Police Area Office in the New River Valley.


###

Press Release PDF

Read More...



SENATE COURTS OF JUSTICE COMMITTEE NOMINATES FORMER ATTORNEY GENERAL CUCCINELLI FOR SUPREME COURT VACANCY

March 08, 2016


RICHMOND, VA, 8 MARCH 2016: The Senate Courts of Justice Committee today advanced the nomination of former Virginia Attorney General Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II for the vacancy on the Supreme Court of Virginia.

Senator Richard H. Stuart (R-Stafford) filed the resolution to advance the 47-year-old former Attorney General, who served in the Senate of Virginia from 2002 to 2010, for the vacancy.

"Attorney General Cuccinelli is extremely well qualified to serve on the Court, and he will receive an affirmative vote from all 21 members of the Senate Republican Caucus," noted Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City).

"The intransigence of the Governor and the Senate Democratic Caucus led us to examine qualified candidates who could fill this vacancy and secure the constitutionally required 21 votes in the Senate and 51 votes in the House. While I would never want to usurp the prerogative of the House, I can confirm that Attorney General Cuccinelli will receive 21 votes in the Senate.

"We plan to have the full Senate take up and vote on the Attorney General."

###

Read More...



General Assembly Update: Week Eight

March 07, 2016


As we enter the ninth week of session many begin the final countdown to the conclusion of the 2016 session. This year the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on Saturday, March 12. While some of the debates have grown longer as we near the final weeks of session the Senate and House have been efficient throughout the legislative process. In fact, this year's session may likely be remembered most for its efficiency and timeliness, which stands in contrast to the budget sessions of 2010 and 2012 that ended in budget standoffs that took weeks to resolve.

When the spending plans of the two chambers are approved by a majority of Delegates and Senators, the differing proposals are negotiated by a conference committee. As Co-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Finance I am proud to serve as a member of this important conference committee. The work of a conferee is to create one budget bill from the approved Senate and House budgets. As with every bill, the final, negotiated version of the budget must receive the approval of at least 51 Delegates and 21 Senators in order to pass from the General Assembly.

In our dedication to transparency and to increase public awareness of the details within the Commonwealth's budget, the House of Delegates and Senate have written a 48-hour waiting period into the General Assembly's procedures. This means that after an agreement on the budget is reached there will be at least 48 hours when the negotiated budget will be available online for the public to review - before legislators vote on it.

Last year, the House and the Senate instituted this budget transparency initiative for the first time. As a result, budget negotiations were completed ahead of schedule and, consequently, the General Assembly session ended a day early. With results like that, it's easy to understand how last year's trial run became this year's policy.

Legislation

During this session I introduced a number of bills that will benefit our community and the Commonwealth. I am proud to report that the follow legislation has passed both chambers of the General Assembly:

SB 423 has passed the House and Senate unanimously. As you may be aware, asset forfeiture is when law enforcement agencies seize property involved in criminal proceedings. Over the course of the last year the Crime Commission, which I am Chairman of, has been studying this issue to craft thoughtful legislation. The language from this bill emerged based on the Crime Commission findings.This legislation prohibits law-enforcement agencies from requesting or requiring that a person who claims lawful right to a property from waiving this right. Additionally, the Department of Criminal Justice Service is now required to report annually the amount of all cash, negotiable instruments and proceeds from drug and non-drug asset seizures. The Department shall also ensure that such report is available to the public.

SB 562 has also passed the House and Senate unanimously. Many Virginians have seen their monthly premiums and deductibles increase substantially because of federal overreach in healthcare. This legislation authorizes insurance companies to offer health benefit plans that were legally sold prior to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, as long as federal authority has suspended enforcement of provisions of Title I of the PPACA or regulations promulgated there under or the requirements of the PPACA are amended by any federal law.

SB 563 extends the sunset for the sales and use tax exemption for machinery and tools used in the extraction and processing of natural gas and oil from July 1, 2016 to July 1, 2022.

SB 564 excludes from the Freedom of Information Act materials associated with an application or renewal of a teaching license. This legislation passed unanimously out of the Senate and received 93 votes in the House of Delegates.

SJ 88 Directs the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to study early childhood development programs to determine the best strategy for future early childhood development investments. Currently, the Commonwealth spends $80 million per year on students who fail at least one grade between kindergarten and third grade. In fact one in eight children enter kindergarten without the basic skills needed to succeed in school. Children not reading proficiently in third grade are ultimately four times more likely not to graduate from high school. Through this resolution JLARC will begin to study specific childhood development programs from prenatal to age five, and will report to the General Assembly its findings to enable legislators to build a strategy for future childhood development investment.

SJ 101 and SJ 102 honor our veterans who have served our nation dutifully. Senate Joint Resolution 101 designates Virginia as a Purple Heart State. Senate Joint Resolution 102 designates August 7, 2016 and each succeeding year as Purple Heart Day in Virginia. As the son of an Army Colonel and Normandy Beach survivor, it gives me a tremendous amount of joy and pride to support the veterans of our Armed Forces. Since its inception, thousands of Virginia's have been awarded the Purple Heart, commemorating the sacrifices they have made in service to our nation. These resolutions honor the brave men and women who have been injured defending our nation.

Visitors

The visitors to Capitol square last week included many friendly faces from home and across the Commonwealth:
  • President Taylor Reveley, College of William & Mary
  • Dr. John T. Wells, Dean & Director of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science
If you are visiting Virginia's Capitol between now and March 12, please remember to stop by our offices in Room 626 of the General Assembly Building.

Please continue to send me your thoughts on important pieces of legislation. You may contact my office by sending an e-mail to District03@senate.virginia.gov or a letter to Senate of Virginia, PO Box 396, Richmond VA 23218-0396. You can also call us at 804.698.7503.

Read More...



General Assembly Update: Week Seven

February 29, 2016


Last week the Senate and House of Delegates released and approved their respective versions of Virginia's two-year budget. This approval process in done during even-numbered years when the General Assembly meets for 60 days. During the shorter sessions in odd-numbered years amendments are made to the approved budget.

The Senate's budget was approved by a 38-to-1 bipartisan vote and as a Co-Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, I am proud to say that it is structurally balanced, reduces state-supported debt, and trims discretionary spending. When adjusted for population growth and inflation, General Fund expenditures have decreased by 5% over the last decade.

These cuts to discretionary spending do not mean that core services are being neglected. In fact, the Senate plan directs more funding to our public schools. It also pays for the state's share of funding for a 2% teacher pay raise that would go into effect this year. Sheriffs and the State Police also see an increase in funding to address salary compression.

The approved Senate budget is $3 billion less than what Governor McAuliffe proposed. There are no new taxes or tax rate increases in the plan. And, the Senate budget does not adopt ObamaCare's Medicaid expansion.

The Senate's approved budget also provides funding to ensure Virginia remains on the forefront of economic growth, workforce development, and job creation. One important example is GO Virginia, a legislative priority I have sponsored for this session. This initiative to encourage and enhance cooperation between business, education, and government entities to grow our economy, would receive nearly $39 million in funding. New workforce development initiatives received $23 million, including a new program providing tuition assistance to students seeking credentialed or certified education in high-demand fields.

The next step in the budget process is for the House and Senate to work in conference on reconciling differences between the two plans and approve a budget to send to the Governor.

Budget Amendments

I have worked to include a number of amendments in the budget that would impact important priorities in our community and across the Commonwealth. Some of the priorities that I introduced amendments for and are in the Senate budget include:

  • Project Discovery - This program encourages student to stay in and graduate from high school and provides tools for students to transition to college. A majority of the students in this program are first-generation college students
  • AirBnb - Legislation that would allow AirBnbs to operate unregulated in Virginia passed by a one-vote margin in the Senate. I opposed this legislation because it would negate local zoning ordinances, allowing these commercial enterprises to operate without having to meet the same standards required of hotels and traditional bed and breakfasts. The amendment I fought to include in the budget would delay the enactment of this legislation unless it is reenacted by the 2017 General Assembly. It would also require the Virginia Housing Commission to complete a study on the issue and report back to the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee and House Appropriations Committee. It is my hope that, after the study of the implications of this emerging industry, legislators will be able to negate potential negative consequences and retain local authority.
  • State Public Libraries - Additional funding was put in to purchase summer reading program materials and STEM instructional materials. After returning from summer break students who participated in summer reading programs at their local public library outperformed those who did not in tests. State aid to public libraries has been reduced over the last 15 years, declining by over $5 million in constant dollars to the level in 1999.
If you would like to access the full overview of the Senate Finance Committee's proposed amendments to the 2016-2018 Biennial Budget, click here.

Visitors

The visitors to Capitol square last week included many friendly faces from home and across the Commonwealth:
  • The Honorable and Mrs. Stan Clark, Former Isle of Wight County Board of Supervisor member
  • Mr. John Knaul, William & Mary College
  • he Honorable Anita Parker, Gloucester County School Board, Petsworth District
  • Dr. Cynthia Williams, Williamsburg
If you are visiting Virginia's Capitol between now and March 12, please remember to stop by our offices in Room 626 of the General Assembly Building.

Please continue to send me your thoughts on important pieces of legislation. You may contact my office by sending an e-mail to District03@senate.virginia.gov or a letter to Senate of Virginia, PO Box 396, Richmond VA 23218-0396. You can also call us at 804.698.7503.

Read More...



SENATE APPROVES COMMONWEALTH'S TWO-YEAR BUDGET BY 38 TO 1 BIPARTISAN VOTE

February 25, 2016


RICHMOND, VA, 25 FEBRUARY 2016: The Senate of Virginia today approved its version of Virginia's 2016-2018 Biennial Budget, Senate Bill 30 (SB 30) by a bipartisan vote of 38 to 1.

The Senate's version of the state's two-year spending plan is structurally balanced, reduces state-supported debt, and trims discretionary spending.

The Senate's approved budget is $3 billion less than the proposal introduced by Governor McAuliffe. There are no new taxes or tax rate increases in the plan. The focus on lean budgeting and slow growth in discretionary spending continues a decade-long trend. General fund expenditures have actually decreased by 5% over the last decade when adjusted for population growth and inflation.

The Senate plan provides additional funding to increase Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals, but does not include Governor McAuliffe's proposal to adopt the federal Affordable Care Act's Medicaid expansion scheme.

Prioritizing education, SB 30 increases funding to K-12 public schools and provides the state's share of funding for a 2% teacher pay raise that would begin before year's end.

Economic growth, workforce development, and job creation have all received special attention in the Senate's budget proposal. GO Virginia, the initiative to encourage regional cooperation between business, education, and government entities received nearly $39 million in funding in SB30. New workforce development initiatives received $23 million, including a new program providing tuition assistance to students seeking credentialed or certified education in high-demand fields.

The Senate plan provides a 2% pay raise for state employees. To aid in the retention of experienced law enforcement personnel, it includes funding to address salary compression for sheriffs' deputies and the Virginia State Police. Unique among the budgets proposed this session, SB 30 also includes a salary initiative to increase compensation for deputy district court clerks.

"The strong bipartisan support for this spending plan proves that it meets our obligations while being fiscally responsible," noted Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City), Co-Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. "Today, the Senate advanced a budget that is lean, conservative, and fiscally sound."

"The members of the Finance Committee worked diligently to craft a budget that addresses the challenges facing the Commonwealth," said Senator Emmett W. Hanger, Jr. (R-Augusta), Co-Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee. "The bill earned unanimous support in the Finance Committee and strong bipartisan support from the entire Senate today. I am confident our conferees will do an outstanding job of advocating this plan when we meet with our House counterparts."

The Senate also named its conferees to the Committees of Conference on House Bills 29 and 30 today. In additiona to Senators Hanger and Norment, Senators Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax), Stephen D. Newman (R-Bedford), Frank M. Ruff, Jr. (R-Mecklenburg), Richard L. Saslaw (D-Fairfax), and Frank W. Wagner (R-Virginia Beach) will represent the Senate in budget negotiations with the House of Delegates.

###

Read More...



General Assembly Update: Week Six

February 19, 2016


This week marked a significant point in the General Assembly Session, as crossover occurred on February 16. Crossover is not only the halfway point for the General Assembly session, but is also the deadline for passing all bills out of the Senate to the House, and vice versa. For each bill, the consideration process starts anew, replicating the same steps it just completed. I must now go before House committees to present my bills. If my legislation is reported out of committee I will have to find a member of the House of Delegates to present my bill on the floor in the hopes of passing the bill and sending it to the Governor's desk to be signed into law.

At this point, it's nice to take a step back and reflect on all the pieces of legislation that have been considered so far. When the deadline for submitting bills concluded in late January, lawmakers had submitted almost 2,000 bills. As of crossover, only around forty percent of the bills introduced have made their way to the chamber down the hall. This number will continue to be drawn down as Senators and Delegates consider each other's legislation.

Senate Bill 29 and 30

When the General Assembly approves a budget and the governor signs it, the spending plan goes into effect for two years. The Commonwealth's budgets are approved during even-numbered years and adjusted during odd-numbered years. Unlike the federal government, Virginia has a strict balanced budget requirement in its constitution. This requirement ensures that the state cannot spend money it does not have.

This year I and my fellow Co-Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, Senator Hanger, are carrying the two budget bills, Senate Bill 29 and Senate Bill 30. SB 29 amends the current budget that Virginia is operating under through FY 2016. These adjustments are made to reflect revenue and spending changes. SB 30 will establish the budget under which the Commonwealth will operate from 2016-2018. There is no legislation that has a greater impact on Virginia and it's citizens than the budget. It is in this document that the policy priorities of the state are set. The budget ensures that our localities, schools, and emergency responders have the funds to operate. I am honored to be entrusted with the important task of ensuring the funds paid to the state by Virginians are allocated wisely.

On Sunday, February 21, the Senate Finance Committee will meet to approve its version of the budget. As Co-Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, I have been working diligently for the past few weeks to prepare our report. If you would like to access the full overview of the Senate Finance Committee's proposed amendments to the 2016-2018 Biennial Budget, click here.

Statement of Economic Interest

In the Commonwealth of Virginia, elected officials are required to disclose their investments to the public. This week, the Daily Press published a story about my report. After I noticed the story was not accurate, my office was able to determine that a section of my filing did not scan properly when it was submitted.

Once my office discovered the error, we immediately acted to correct it - and notified the paper. Unsurprisingly, the Daily Press highlighted our scanning mishap with a front-page headline.

Full public disclosure and transparency are very important for public officials, and I am glad we fixed the error so quickly after learning of it.

If you'd like to view my full Statement of Economic Interest, click here.

Visitors

The visitors to Capitol square last week included many friendly faces from home and across the Commonwealth:

  • Mr. Bruce Allen and Mr. DeAngelo Hall, Washington Redskins
  • Ms. Janet Casanave, James City County
  • Miss Sequoia Clark, James City County Resident and Virginia STEAM Academy Student
  • Mr. Charles Haley, Member of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame and recent inductee into the NFL Hall of Fame
  • Mrs. Phyllis Mateer, James City County
  • Mrs. Lara Overy and Mrs. Tracy Keller, Girl Scout Council of Colonial Coast
  • Members of Atlantic Bay Mortgage
  • Members of Chesapeake Bay & Rivers Association of Realtors
  • Members of the Virginia Peninsula Association of Realtors
  • Virginia Military Institute Cadets
If you are visiting Virginia's Capitol between now and March 12, please remember to stop by our offices in Room 626 of the General Assembly Building.

Please continue to send me your thoughts on important pieces of legislation. You may contact my office by sending an e-mail to District03@senate.virginia.gov or a letter to Senate of Virginia, PO Box 396, Richmond VA 23218-0396. You can also call us at 804.698.7503.

I hope you stay safe and warm during Virginia's first substantial snow of 2016.

Read More...



General Assembly Update: Week Five

February 11, 2016


Thursday, February 11 marked the 30th day of the 2016 General Assembly's 60 day session, the numerical halfway point. This upcoming Tuesday is the true midway point as February 16 is designated as crossover. This date serves as the deadline for all 140 lawmakers to pass legislation out of the chamber in which a bill was originally introduced. On the next day, the Senate will only hear bills that have passed out of the House of Delegates and the House of Delegates will only discuss bills passed by the Senate. Capitol Square has been a very hectic place this last week as we move closer to crossover. With a limited amount of days available to complete our work, the days can be very long but ultimately always productive.

Senate Bill 449

The effects of the recession and federal sequestration are unfortunately still impacting many communities across the Commonwealth. Virginia's status as a leader in job creation has been slipping in recent years and l arge regional employers are cutting back employees hours and positions with sm all businesses struggling to keep their doors open. I have continually fought to keep our state a business friendly environment with a regulatory and tax structure that allows Virginia based businesses to grow and attracts new businesses to the Commonwealth. It is my hope that SB 449 will prove to be a useful tool to enhance our economy.

SB 449 establishes the Virginia Growth and Opportunity Board to administer grants for regional economic and workforce development. Regional councils will be established across the Commonwealth, consisting of representatives from government, the private sector, and the educational community . Other states have used this model successfully and the introduction of this legislation hopes to build upon their success.

This legislation passed the Senate on Friday, February 12. I look forward to shepherding this bill through the House of Delegates and seeing it signed into law by the Governor.

Visitors

The visitors to Capitol square last week included many friendly faces from home:

  • Dr. Don Cherry,Williamsburg
  • Dr. Walter Clemons, Superintendent of Gloucester County Public Schools
  • Dr. William Harvey, President of Hampton University
  • The Honorable Mark Marshall, Isle of Wight County Sheriff
  • The Honorable Joe McLaughlin, New Kent County Sheriff
  • Mr. Sandy Wanner and Mr. Don Robertson, Interim and Acting County Administrators for Isle of Wight County
  • The Honorable Darrell Warren, Gloucester County Sheriff
  • The Hampton City School Board
  • The James City County Board of Supervisors and County Administrator Bryan Hill
If you are visiting Virginia's Capitol between now and March 12, please remember to stop by our offices in Room 626 of the General Assembly Building.

Please continue to send me your thoughts on important pieces of legislation. You may contact my office by sending an e-mail to District03@senate.virginia.gov or a letter to Senate of Virginia, PO Box 396, Richmond VA 23218-0396. You can also call us at 804.698.7503.

I hope you stay safe and warm during Virginia's first substantial snow of 2016.

Members of the Williamsburg-James City County School Board

Read More...



General Assembly Update: Week Four

February 05, 2016


As the first week of February comes to a close, the General Assembly session is nearing the halfway mark. By February 16, every bill filed by a Senator or Delegate must be acted upon by the chamber in which it was introduced. The next day, February 17, is crossover and at that point the Senate will begin considering the bills approved by the House and the House will consider those approved by the Senate.

Only about 40% of the bills filed in a given session will ultimately become law. In order to complete the process, every bill approved by the General Assembly must receive a majority vote in each committee and on the House and Senate Floor. Following this extensive process the legislation must then be signed into law by the Governor.

This process ensures that every bill is thoroughly considered and that unanticipated consequences such as conflicts with additional sections of the code or higher than anticipated costs - can be addressed and rectified.

SJ 101 & SJ 102

During this past week, two significant resolutions were before the Senate Committee on Rules, Senate Joint Resolution 101 and 102. I introduced both of these resolutions and I am proud to shepherd them through the General Assembly. SJ 101 would designate the Commonwealth of Virginia as a Purple Heart State and SJ 102 would designate August 7 in 2016, and in each succeeding year as Purple Heart Day.

The Badge of Military Merit was established on August 7, 1782 by General George Washington to honor Revolutionary War soldiers who were injured or killed in combat. On Washington's Birthday, President Hoover revived the presentation of this medal as the Purple Heart.

As the son of an Army Colonel and Normandy Beach survivor, it gives me a tremendous amount of joy and pride to support the veterans of our Armed Forces. Since its inception, t housands of Virginia's have been awarded the Purple Heart, commemorating the sacrifices they have made in service to our nation. Since 2012, 14 states have become Purple Heart States. As the birthplace of General Washington and home to so many men and women who have served our nation, it is only appropriate that Virginia recognize and honor those who sacrificed for our nation.

SJ 88

Every legislator finds a few core issues that they work for every year and one such issue that I have devoted much of my attention to through my career is education. I have been fortunate to have attended Virginia's public schools from grade school through college, teach as an undergraduate and law school professor and I have had my children educated in our outstanding public schools. I have the privilege of serving as Chairman of the Senate Finance Subcommittee on Education and do my small part to improve our educational system.

This session, I introduced Senate Joint Resolution 88 which directs the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC) to study early childhood development programs. Currently, the Commonwealth spends $80 million per year on students who fail at least one grade between kindergarten and third grade. In fact one in eight children enter kindergarten without the basic skills needed to succeed in school. Children not reading proficiently in third grade are ultimately four times more likely not to graduate from high school. Through this resolution JLARC will begin to study specific childhood development programs from prenatal to age five, and will report to the General Assembly its findings to enable legislators to build a strategy for future childhood development investment. On Friday, February 5 this resolution received the support of the Senate Committee on Rules and will now be considered by the entire Senate.

Meet the Pages

During the General Assembly Session a number of young adults are given the opportunity to serve as Pages for House and Senate members. They are an essential part of session, assisting legislators with day to day duties, while they gain valuable knowledge about the Virginia legislature. This year there are three pages from the Third Senatorial District.

Mr. Peyton Emerson is from Williamsburg and attends Hornsby Middle School. Peyton enjoys participating in travel soccer and the playing the trumpet for his church band. Peyton is a member of the National Junior Honor Society and assists with the Jamestown Yorktown Foundation Salvation Army. Peyton's hobbies include biking, basketball, and playing FIFA with his friends on XBOX.

Mr. Jack DeVore is from Williamsburg and attends Hornsby Middle School. Jack plays football for Hornsby Middle School and is a member of the National Junior Honor Society and the James City County All-District Band. Jack's hobbies include golf, football, and music.

Mr. Brendan Smith is from Poquoson and attends Poquoson Middle School. Brendan is a member of Boy Scouts Troop 28, the Junior Varsity Cross County Team, and is a Youth Sunday school teacher. His hobbies include soccer, student government, and community service.

Visitors

The visitors to Capitol square last week included many friendly faces from home:
  • Ms. Robin Eaton and her son Reid, Quinton
  • Colonel Mike Hopkins, Astronaut that visited the International Space Station
  • Mr. and Mrs. Tom Miller, New Kent County
  • The Honorable Kristen Nelson, York-Poquoson Clerk of the Court
  • Ms. Marilyn Riddle, James City County
  • Mrs. Ann Robeson, York County
  • Ronald Thompson, Saint Stephens Church
  • William & Mary College Students, Virginia 21
If you are visiting Virginia's Capitol between now and March 12, please remember to stop by our offices in Room 626 of the General Assembly Building.

Please continue to send me your thoughts on important pieces of legislation. You may contact my office by sending an e-mail to District03@senate.virginia.gov or a letter to Senate of Virginia, PO Box 396, Richmond VA 23218-0396. You can also call us at 804.698.7503.

I hope you stay safe and warm during Virginia's first substantial snow of 2016.

Read More...



General Assembly Update: Week Three

February 01, 2016


Much of the news from around Virginia last week was dominated by efforts to recover from the "Blizzard of 2016". While Richmond struggled to overcome the snow, the General Assembly continued onward. Every day last week included legislative action, as both the House and Senate met to discuss and consider legislation during committee meetings and during session in the Capitol.

Memorial Resolution

This week the Senate and House passed Senate Joint Resolution 69 and its House counterpart HJ 74. These memorial resolutions celebrate the life of Dr. James O. Shaw, Jr. and were patroned by myself, Senator Miller, Delegate Pogge, and Delegate Mason.

Tragically Dr. Shaw passed away on July 29, 2015, but during his time on earth he was a pillar of our community and lived a life dedicated to the service of others.

Dr. Shaw was born in the Commonwealth and graduated from Varina High School before continuing his education at Randolph-Macon College and the Medical College of Virginia. Following his graduation Dr. Shaw would go on to complete his internship and residency at Yale University and a Fellowship at Scripps Research Institute where he conducted cancer research. After teaching pulmonary medicine at the University of Texas Dr. Shaw returned to Virginia to work at Riverside Hospital.

In 1995 Dr. Shaw founded the Lackey Free Clinic. Despite being diagnosed with cancer in 1997, Dr. Shaw remained as Medical Director for the clinic until 2009. In 2004 they opened a dental clinic and one of Virginia's first free chronic-care clinics for patients with diabetes, hypertension, and asthma. The most recent expansion to the Lackey Free Clinic came in 2013 when the clinic added 6 exam rooms and 2 patient education rooms.

The Lackey Free Clinic has served thousands of patients for over two decades. What started as a small operation in a vacant Sunday School classroom has grown to include 450 volunteers, 14 part-time employees, and 16-full-time employees.

Dr. Shaw is survived by his wife of 50 years, Cooka and their children, Travis and Ashley. The General Assembly has been instructed to prepare a copy of the resolution; which will be presented to his family.

Legislation

Many Virginians were rightfully concerned when Attorney General Mark Herring unilaterally revoked Virginia's reciprocity agreements for concealed-carry permits with 25 states.

Several legislative remedies to reinstate the reciprocity agreements and restore the rights of Virginia's concealed-carry permit holders were introduced this session. I signed on as a co-sponsor to one of these measures, Senate Bill 610, introduced by Senator Bryce Reeves of Spotsylvania. This legislation is a product of bipartisan compromise in the Senate and House working together with the Administration to reach an agreement that would restore the 2nd Amendment rights of residents while ensuring public safety. On Friday, January 29, Governor McAuliffe agreed to support the legislation as well which will impact 421,000 Virginians who hold concealed carry permits.

Visitors

The visitors to Capitol square last week included many friendly faces from home:
  • Mr. Ira Agricola, Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce
  • President John Dever, The Honorable Bruce Goodson, and Thomas Nelson Community College Board of Director Members
  • The Honorable Michael Hipple, Chairman of the James City County Board of Supervisors
  • The Honorable Shelia Noll, Vice-Chairman of the York County Board of Supervisors
  • Mr. Ed Overton, Colonial Soil and Water Conservation District Member
  • Mrs. Lara Overy, Williamsburg
  • Mr. Charles Piersa, Member of the King William Farm Bureau
  • Mrs. Karen Riordan, Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance
  • The Honorable Lawrence Simpkins, President of King and Queen County Farm Bureau and Chairman of the King and Queen County Board of Supervisors
  • Mr. Bobby Vassar, Bay Aging
  • Virginia Federation of Republican Women
If you are visiting Virginia's Capitol between now and March 12, please remember to stop by our offices in Room 626 of the General Assembly Building.

Please continue to send me your thoughts on important pieces of legislation. You may contact my office by sending an e-mail to District03@senate.virginia.gov or a letter to Senate of Virginia, PO Box 396, Richmond VA 23218-0396. You can also call us at 804.698.7503.

I hope you stay safe and warm during Virginia's first substantial snow of 2016.





General Assembly Update: Week Two

January 22, 2016


Winter Storm Jonas

One topic unrelated to the General Assembly session that has captured the attention of many Virginians, dominating the news and the casual conversations around Capitol Square: the incoming snowstorm. There are few things that captivate the attention of those within Virginia's Capitol as much as potential snowfall. The snowstorm prompted the General Assembly to call a very rare snow day today- only the second in Virginia's history.

Our area is under a winter storm warning from the National Weather Service from today until 1:00 a.m. on Saturday. The temperature will range from low to mid-30s with three to five inches in our district. Roads are expected to become snow and ice covered, leading to hazardous conditions. Travel will be substantially impacted on Friday. Please do not drive on the roads unless you have to at this point in time. Below are some tips for staying safe during this storm:

General Tips

  • Please make sure to remain in layers, and keep your children in layers as well, as the weather will get extremely cold tonight. Watch out for signs of hypothermia and frostbite.
  • Be sure to fill up your gas tanks, as the winter conditions may make getting around very difficult for at least the next day or two.
  • Please do NOT leave pets outside! The cold temperatures may be deadly for pets, so be sure to keep them indoors.

Transportation

  • To keep up with the Virginia Department of Transportation's (VDOT) progress in plowing, please see the following website which provides information on VDOT's plan for snow removal, as well as contact numbers to check on their progress.
  • For the latest weather updates please click here.

Electric

  • For Dominion, please visit the following site for basic emergency contact information. You can report an outage to Dominion by calling 1-866-DOM-HELP, and you can go to the following website to see outage information. Dominion also has pages for general preparedness tips for winter weather, which you can locate here.
  • For the Prince George Electric Cooperative, you can report an outage by calling 804-834-2424, or by visiting the following site.

Budget Amendments

Unlike the federal government (and, surprisingly, 13 states), Virginia has a strict balanced budget requirement in its constitution. This requirement ensures that the state cannot spend money it does not have. When the General Assembly meets in even-numbered years such as this one, we work to put together the budget that will guide the Commonwealth for the next two years.

On Friday, January 15, I introduced a number of budget amendments that would provide much needed additional funding to organizations and agencies within our district and throughout the state.
  • Item 51 #1s provides an increase for civil indigent defense for low-income Virginians. The funds will be provided to the Virginia Legal Services Corporation, which supports ten legal aid programs in 35 offices throughout the Commonwealth.
  • Item 138 #4s will provide additional funding to Project Discovery which will allow an increase of program participation by more than 2,000 students. Project Discovery is a post-secondary college access program currently offered through 22 Virginia Partner Agencies in grades four through twelve. The program successfully encourages students to stay in and graduate from high school and provides resources and tools for students and families to successfully make the transition to post-secondary education. Many participants in the Project Discovery program are first-generation college students.
  • Item 241 # 2s would increase the amount of state aid to public libraries to be used for summer reading materials and programs and STEM instructional materials. After returning from summer break students who participated in summer reading programs at their local public library outperformed those who did not in tests. State aid to public libraries has been reduced over the last 15 years, declining by over $5 million in constant dollars to the level in 1999.
  • Item 315#9s is a budget amendment that would provide funding for the establishment of mobile crisis services at Community Service Boards. These mobile crisis services will allow on-scene evaluation, treatment and intervention services in the community rather than at CSB offices or emergency rooms. This new initiative has been proposed as a pilot program for 8 CSBs in Virginia, one of which is our own Colonial Behavioral Health in Williamsburg.

Visitors

The Martin Luther King holiday, as always, brought over 1,000 visitors to the General Assembly on Monday. T he visitors to Capitol Square this week included many friendly faces from home:

  • Mr. Richard Ambler, social studies instructor accompanying 160 students from Jamestown High School
  • Mr. Christopher Burgess, Baylands Federal Credit Union of West Point
  • Michele DeWitt, Economic Development Director for the City of Williamsburg
  • Mr. Mark Matney, Williamsburg
  • Pastor Mark Morrow of Community Crosswalk Church graciously gave the opening invocation to the Virginia Senate on Monday January 18, 2016
  • Lisa Thomas, Deputy Director for Child Development Resources

Additionally, a number of organization visited the Capitol for their annual legislative day including:

  • NAACP
  • Virginia Citizens Defense League
  • Mom's Demand Action for Gun Violence
  • School Nutrition Association
  • American For Prosperity
  • Virginia Credit Union League
If you are visiting Virginia's Capitol between now and March 12, please remember to stop by our offices in Room 626 of the General Assembly Building.

Please continue to send me your thoughts on important pieces of legislation. You may contact my office by sending an e-mail to District03@senate.virginia.gov or a letter to Senate of Virginia, PO Box 396, Richmond VA 23218-0396. You can also call us at 804.698.7503.

I hope you stay safe and warm during Virginia's first substantial snow of 2016.

Read More...



General Assembly Update: Week One

January 15, 2016


This week legislators traveled from all corners of Virginia to meet in Richmond for the 2016 General Assembly session. This year is a long session which means we will be in Richmond to discuss the budget and important policy issues for 60 days. On Wednesday, January 12, I raised my right hand for the seventh-time in my career and swore to uphold the Virginia Constitution. Standing in the footsteps of some of our country's founding fathers, I pledged to uphold our laws, traditions, and work to strengthen our state. It is an honor to again serve in Jefferson's Capitol, a building filled with the memories of so many great Virginians.

While the ceremonies surrounding the commencement of a new term can seem formal, there is also an understated simplicity to the proceedings. We stand at our desks, raise our right hands, recite our oath, and begin our service to the citizens who have entrusted us with their votes just ten weeks earlier. What our nation's founders called "republican virtues" still inspire awe, not by grandeur but by the relative lack of it.

Committees

With only 60 days to craft the Commonwealth's two-year budget and consider over 2,000 pieces of legislation, the General Assembly has to begin their work very quickly. Both the House and Senate use a committee system to process legislation, assigning bills by topic to committees comprised of 13 or 15 senators.

In order for a piece of legislation to be considered by the entire Senate, it must first be recommended by the committee to which it was assigned. Shortly after being sworn in we approved our new committee assignments.

I have the distinct honor of serving as the Co-Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. In this Committee, decisions regarding how the funds of the Commonwealth will be dispersed are made - and it is a responsibility that I hold in the highest regard. As Co-Chair of the Finance Committee, I, along with my peers, will be passing a comprehensive, fiscally responsible balanced budget that keeps the Commonwealth prosperous, and the best state in the country to live, work, and raise a family in.

Additionally, I am serving on the Commerce and Labor, Courts of Justice, and Senate Rules Committees.

The Commerce and Labor Committee oversees legislation regarding the Commonwealth's workforce, business, and economic development.

The Courts of Justice Committee plays a crucial role in shaping our Commonwealth's justice system, passing legislation that aids in the discovery of truth in the furtherance of justice.

The Senate Rules Committee created and passed the comprehensive Ethics and Conflict of Interest bill last year, and will work this year on continuing its successes in making the legislative process open and transparent.

State of the Commonwealth

On the first evening of the General Assembly session the Governor gave his State of the Commonwealth Address. This is intended to be a report on the progress made during the past year and give the Governor the opportunity to discuss his legislative priorities for the upcoming session.

Governor McAuliffe detailed his agenda, much of which will be familiar. There is agreement on some of the items that he will be focusing on, including increased funding for public education, programs to enhance workforce development, and initiatives to attract more businesses and grow our economy. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle to accomplish these goals and in the process, bring thousands of new jobs to the Commonwealth and our community.

However, there are numerous issues on Governor McAuliffe's agenda in which I stand in opposition. One example is his continued desire for Virginia to further implement Obamacare through the expansion of Medicaid. I am opposed to this, as are a majority of elected officials in both the House and the Senate.

Legislation

The Affordable Care Act has usurped much of the Commonwealth's previous and long-standing authority to regulate health insurance, substituting "one-size-fits-all" federal provisions for local flexibility. The staggering price increases experienced by many Virginians these past few years have left wallets thinner and our economy weaker. If the federal government has their way, most of us will continue to see our premiums skyrocket whether the policies are individual or employer-provided.

I am proud to say that, under Republican leadership, the broken promise that under the ACA "if you like your policy you can keep it" has been adjusted. With the passage of my bill, SB 5014 during the 2014 special session, health care providers were given legal authority to continue offering plans in Virginia that were applicable to all regulations prior to the passage of Obamacare - allowing the citizens of the Commonwealth who want to keep their plans to actually keep them.

However, there is still more work to be done. That is why this year I am introducing a bill that will help our business community immensely. At the request of constituents in York County I have submitted SB562 that addresses health care plans for small and large businesses' employees. My bill will revert the definition of "small business" back to its prior definition of a business employing 1 to 50 people, and a "large business" will be defined as one that employs 51 or more people.

This change is important because "large employers" are able to offer lower premium rates for their coverage plans. By lowering the statutory definition of what is a "large employer," more Virginia businesses can take advantage of lower premiums, leading to better coverage at a lower rate.

I will continue to provide you with weekly updates on the progress of my legislation as the session continues. If you are interested in further information or would like to view a full list of the legislation I am introducing this year you may access it on my webpage.

Visitors

Although our first week back in Richmond was a relatively short one, we have already had a great deal of constituents and local business leaders from across the District stop by for a visit. Among those who visited our new office in the General Assembly Building this week were:

  • The Honorable Heather Cordasco
  • Pastor Doug Echols, Yorktown Bethel Baptist Church
  • Pastor Bob Eshleman, Faith Baptist Church in Williamsburg
  • Susanna Owens, Virginia Academy of Clinical Psychologists
  • W. Taylor Reveley, III, President of the College of William and Mary
  • Eric and Ann Robeson, Bethel Baptist Church
  • The Honorable Sue Sadler, Supervisor in the Stonehouse District, James City County
It was also Bankers' Day here at the Capitol, and some of our local community bankers stopped by, including Marhsall Warner of Chesapeake Bank, Leigh Houghland of Chesapeake Bank, Ben Ellington of Chesapeake Bank and Chris Everett of The Bank of Southside Virginia. Additionally our friends from Middleburg Bank joined us including Mike Maddocks, David Jolley and Gary Shook.

As always, we are happy to have lots of visitors join us at the Capitol. We will be here in our Richmond office until the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on March 12. My legislative assistants, Kalia Sokos and Zach LeMaster, are also in Richmond, and our office is in Room 626 of the General Assembly Building. You may contact us by sending an e-mail to District03@senate.virginia.gov , or by sending a letter to me at Senate of Virginia, Post Office Box 396, Richmond VA 23218-0396. You may also call us at 804.698.7503.

Read More...



SENATE REPUBLICANS EXAMINE REMEDIES TO ATTORNEY GENERAL'S SECOND AMENDMENT RECIPROCITY REVOCATION

December 23, 2015


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

RICHMOND, VA, 23 DECEMBER 2015: Senate Republicans today announced that measures to remedy Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring's unprecedented decision to revoke Virginia's conceal-carry permit reciprocity for two dozen states will be considered in the 2016 session.

"Disappointingly, the Attorney General appears to be doing his part to repay Mayor Bloomberg for the millions he invested in his failed attempt to return the Democrats to the majority in the Senate," noted Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City). "Since the former New York Mayor had previously spent heavily to secure the Attorney General's narrow victory in 2013, it is clear his record-breaking campaign donations have paid dividends.

"We are already seeing the predictable reactions of our sister states who have been slighted by this myopic overreach." "Republican senators are already working on legislative remedies to the Attorney General's overreach," remarked Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover). "I know Senator Carrico and Senator-elect Chase have been working individually with colleagues in both chambers to offer measures that would curtail this infringement on constitutional rights."

"Our constitutional rights, including our Second Amendment rights, are guaranteed, not selectively limited based on the whims of an elected official," said Senate Republican Caucus Co-Chairman Mark D. Obenshain (R-Rockingham). "When the Attorney General attempts to limit one of our constitutionally guaranteed liberties, he effectively threatens and undermines all of them. I am heartened that legislators in both chambers appear poised to consider measures to address this decision and take action to reaffirm the Second Amendment rights of Virginians."

###

Read More...



Media Advisory

December 23, 2015


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

SENATE REPUBLICANS EXAMINE REMEDIES TO ATTORNEY GENERAL'S SECOND AMENDMENT RECIPROCITY REVOCATION

RICHMOND, VA, 23 DECEMBER 2015: Senate Republicans today announced that measures to remedy Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring's unprecedented decision to revoke Virginia's conceal-carry permit reciprocity for two dozen states will be considered in the 2016 session.

"Disappointingly, the Attorney General appears to be doing his part to repay Mayor Bloomberg for the millions he invested in his failed attempt to return the Democrats to the majority in the Senate," noted Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City). "Since the former New York Mayor had previously spent heavily to secure the Attorney General's narrow victory in 2013, it is clear his record-breaking campaign donations have paid dividends.

"We are already seeing the predictable reactions of our sister states who have been slighted by this myopic overreach."
"Republican senators are already working on legislative remedies to the Attorney General's overreach," remarked Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover). "I know Senator Carrico and Senator-elect Chase have been working individually with colleagues in both chambers to offer measures that would curtail this infringement on constitutional rights."

"Our constitutional rights, including our Second Amendment rights, are guaranteed, not selectively limited based on the whims of an elected official," said Senate Republican Caucus Co-Chairman Mark D. Obenshain (R-Rockingham). "When the Attorney General attempts to limit one of our constitutionally guaranteed liberties, he effectively threatens and undermines all of them. I am heartened that legislators in both chambers appear poised to consider measures to address this decision and take action to reaffirm the Second Amendment rights of Virginians."

###





News Release
SENATE REPUBLICANS ANNOUNCE LEADERSHIP TEAM
November 19, 2015


RICHMOND, VA, 19 NOVEMBER 2015: The 21-member Virginia Senate Republican Caucus, the majority caucus in the Senate of Virginia, today announced its leadership team for the 2016-2020 term.

Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) will continue to serve as Senate Republican Leader. Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan T. McDougle (R- Hanover) will continue in that role. Senator Mark D. Obenshain (R-Rockingham) will serve as Senate Republican Caucus Co-Chairman. Senator William M. Stanley, Jr. (R- Franklin) was elected as Senate Majority Whip.

Senator Stephen D. Newman (R-Bedford) will be the Caucus's candidate for Senate President Pro Tempore when the Senate convenes on January 13, 2016.

Read More...



Senator Norment racks up endorsements for reelection

October 29, 2015


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Majority Leader endorsed by AgPAC, NFIB, Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, Humane Dominion, Virginia Sheriffs' Association, Virginia Association of Realtors, and The Daily Press

Williamsburg, Virginia, 29 October 2015: Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today announced he has been endorsed for reelection by a wide range of Virginia organizations.

AgPAC, the political action committee of the Virginia Farm Bureau, the National Federation of Independent Businesses, and the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce have all endorsed the campaign of the James City County lawmaker. Humane Dominion, the Virginia Sheriffs' Association, and the Virginia Association of Realtors have also endorsed Norment. The Daily Press endorsed Norment in its October 22 editorial.

"During my tenure in the Senate of Virginia, I have worked diligently to represent the people of my district and the best interests of the Commonwealth," Senator Norment noted. "It is both gratifying and humbling to receive the endorsements of organizations representing agriculture, businesses, pet lovers, and law enforcement professionals. I am honored to have their support and look forward to continuing my service to the people of the Third Senatorial District."

Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. represents the 3rd District in the Senate of Virginia. The 3rd District includes Gloucester, King and Queen, King William and New Kent Counties and the City of Poquoson, and portions of Isle of Wight, James City, Surry, and York Counties, and the Cities of Hampton and Suffolk.

Read More...



News Release

September 16, 2015


Statement of Speaker Howell & Senate Majority Leader Norment on Governor McAuliffe's decision to reappoint Justice Roush to the Supreme Court.
Read More...



News Release
SENATOR NORMENT HERALDS VIRGINIA'S RECOGNITION OF PURPLE HEART DAY
August 06, 2015


Majority Leader worked with Governor's Office to obtain recognition

Williamsburg, Virginia, 6 August 2015: Virginia will formally proclaim the first-ever Purple Heart Day for the state during the annual Purple Heart ceremony at Mount Vernon tomorrow. Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) has worked closely with the Office of Governor Terrance R. McAuliffe and Secretary of the Commonwealth Levar Stoney to gain formal recognition of the commemoration.

"National Purple Heart Day recognizes the brave men and women who have received this very special award for their sacrifice in combat," Senator Norment noted. "With one of the largest populations of active duty and retired members of the armed services, it is only fitting for Virginia to join in recognizing this day. I was honored to work closely with members of the Virginia Military Order of the Purple Heart to obtain this official recognition from the Commonwealth."

As Commander-in-Chief of the Continental Army, General George Washington established the Badge of Military Merit, the predecessor to the Purple Heart, on August 7, 1782. The award was revived and established as the Purple Heart in 1932. It is specifically a combat decoration, bestowed upon members of the armed forces who are wounded or killed in combat. It is estimated that more than 1.9 million Purple Hearts have been awarded.

"Virginia Commander of the Order of the Purple Heart Carroll D. Bartholomew and Mr. Richard Wise, Adjutant- Chapter 1965, brought this matter to my attention earlier this year, and I thank them for their hard work in gaining this recognition. I will also be filing legislation for the 2016 General Assembly session to make Virginia a "Purple Heart State," in support of the dedication and sacrifice of our excellent servicemen and women."

Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. represents the 3rd District in the Senate of Virginia. The 3rd District includes Gloucester, King and Queen, King William and New Kent Counties and the City of Poquoson, and portions of Isle of Wight, James City, Surry, and York Counties, and the Cities of Hampton and Suffolk.





News Release
SENATE REPUBLICANS POSITIONED TO RETAIN - AND EXPAND - MAJORITY IN NOVEMBER
July 27, 2015


RICHMOND, VA, 8 JULY 2015: The leadership of the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus today touted their nominees in the November 3 elections, noting that they are ideally positioned to retain and expand their party's majority in the Senate of Virginia. 

"Our Republican nominees have the qualifications, experience, and policy positions that will resonate with Virginians," remarked Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City). "And because the Democrats brought the Commonwealth to the brink of a budgetary shutdown during their 136 days in the majority last year, Virginians know from experience which caucus can be trusted to run the Senate. 

"Our slate of challengers and open seat nominees include business and legal professionals, physicians, and community leaders. Our sixteen incumbents, ten of whom are unopposed, have proven records of governing responsibly and effectively. Despite the millions in out of- state money being raised by Governor McAuliffe to return the General Assembly to gridlock, the quality of our nominees ideally positions our caucus to retain - and to expand - our majority in the Senate of Virginia." 

"We are on track to add three new Republican women senators and increase the size of the Senate Republican Caucus to the largest this decade," noted Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover). "Our nominees are running aggressive campaigns, knocking on doors, attending community events, and delivering their messages directly to the people they will represent."

Read More...



House Senate Letter to US District Court

July 14, 2015


The Honorable Allyson K. Duncan United States Circuit Judge

The Honorable Robert E. Payne Senior United States District Judge

The Honorable Liam O'Grady United States District Judge 

U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Virginia Richmond Division 701 East Broad Street Richmond, VA 23219

RE: Page, et al., v. Virginia State Board of Elections, et al., No. 3:13-cv-678; Notice of the Scheduling of a Special Session of the Virginia General Assembly

Dear Judges Duncan, Payne and O'Grady:

On June 5, 2015, this Court enjoined the Commonwealth of Virginia from holding elections for Congress until such time as a the legislative map of congressional districts is redrawn. See Page, et al., v. Virginia State Board of Elections, et al., No. 3:13-cv-678 (Dkt. No. 171) (filed June 5, 2015). The Court further ordered that the General Assembly exercise its primary jurisdiction in adopting a compliant remedial map "[a]s expeditiously as possible, but no later than September 1, 2015." Id. 

The Virginia General Assembly is writing to notify the Court that it will convene a Special Session of the House and Senate for purposes of adopting a new congressional map consistent with the Court's remedial directive. The General Assembly respects the order and takes very seriously the task of redistricting. However, our current challenge is to undertake the necessary deliberation with the full participation of the House and Senate prior to the Court's end of summer deadline all while the Intervener-Defendants' direct appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court is pending. These calendar constraints therefore make it impossible to schedule a Special Session before the end of August. Therefore, the General Assembly respectfully requests that the Court extend the deadline and accept this notice that the General Assembly will hold a Special Session beginning on November 9, 2015, for the purpose of considering and adopting a new congressional redistricting map for the Commonwealth of Virginia. 
... 


Read More...



News Release
REPUBLICAN MAJORITY SENATE LEADS TO BUDGET SURPLUS
July 13, 2015


RICHMOND, VA, 13 JULY 2015: The leadership of the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus today remarked on the announcement of the Commonwealth's $553 million budget surplus. 

"Today's announcement is the direct result of Republicans regaining the Senate majority in June of last year," declared Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City). "The budget that ultimately led to this surplus was only approved after the Senate Democrats' 136-day majority ended. On the very same day Senate Republicans regained the majority, we acted swiftly to approve a budget and end the Democrats' three-and-a-half-month budget stalemate.

"Not a single Senate Democrat supported that budget, which required the vote of every Republican senator to be approved. It is that budget, along with the swift action taken to remedy a newly identified revenue shortfall last November, that resulted in today's announcement of a surplus.

"Chairmen Stosch and Jones, and the staffs of the Senate Finance and House Appropriations Committees, have done an outstanding job delivering responsible, conservative budgets for the Commonwealth. Today's announcement will help to replenish our Rainy Day Fund, as well as result in pay increases for our school teachers and college faculty, sheriff's deputies and state police, and state employees. Those outcomes are strong reminders of the benefits of responsible budgeting, which in this case is a direct result of having a Republican majority in the Senate of Virginia."

"When you consider where we were in early June of 2014, with a budget stalemate having dragged for months with no end in sight, today's announcement is remarkable," noted Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover). "The difference between the Senate having a Democrat majority or a Republican one could not be more stark.

"Under the Democrat majority, Virginia endured a lengthy budget impasse that only ended when Republicans regained the majority. Under a Republican majority, we passed a budget immediately in June, addressed a newly discovered revenue shortfall in November, and approved a package of budget amendments in record time this February. That is a contrast Virginians need to remember.

"Senate Republicans have consistently stood for fiscal responsibility. As today's announcement confirms, we deliver on that pledge, to the benefit of the Commonwealth and the people of Virginia."

Read More...



News Release
Senate Majority Leader Norment announces candidacy for reelection
March 27, 2015


Williamsburg, Virginia, 27 March 2015: Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today announced that he will be a candidate for reelection. As the sole candidate to file for the Republican nomination, Norment will be the Republican nominee for Senate in the 3rd District in the general election on November 3.

"I am honored to serve the people of the 3rd District in the Senate, to serve my caucus and my party as Senate Majority Leader, and to serve the Commonwealth of Virginia," declared Norment. "After one of the most productive and successful legislative sessions in memory, I am ready to build upon my accomplishments to give the people of Virginia the effective, efficient, and fiscally conservative government they deserve. 

"I have been continually honored with the trust and confidence of the voters I represent and serve. In asking for the opportunity to be their voice in Richmond for another term, I offer my record of effectiveness and my pledge to continue the responsible governing that was the hallmark of this year's session." 

First elected in 1991, Norment served as Republican Floor Leader from 1998 through 2007 and as Republican Leader from 2008 through 2011. He has been Senate Majority Leader for all but 134 days of his current four-year term, the interruption occurring during the four-month period in 2014 when the Democrats were in the majority.

Norment currently serves as Co-Chairman of the Senate Committee on Courts of Justice. A member of the budget-writing Senate Finance Committee, Norment has been a budget negotiator on behalf of the Senate for the 2010, 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 sessions. He served as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Rules from 2004 through 2007.

"I put my experience as a lawmaker and my seniority in the Senate to work for the people of my district, delivering results and solutions that strengthen Virginia's government and improve our quality of life," noted Norment. "This year alone, my legislative agenda scored a success rate of nearly 90%. Of the 25 bills I filed, 20 were approved and two were incorporated into bills that were also approved. And, one of the few bills I filed that did not pass jump-started the negotiations that have led to a renewed opportunity for racing to return to Colonial Downs. 

"As Majority Leader, my responsibilities extend to leading the Senate in providing responsible and fiscally conservative government to the people of Virginia. By that measure, this year served as a model. We completed negotiations on a budget bill in record time, reaching an agreement a week before the session's scheduled adjournment. The budget we approved put the Commonwealth's fiscal house in order not by raising taxes, but by reducing General Fund expenditures by $1 billion. Not only did that budget pass the Senate 38 to 1 and the House 95 to 5, Governor McAuliffe signed it without amendments, the first time that's happened in 17 years. 

"We need to keep a good thing going. As we demonstrated this year, a General Assembly with a Republican Senate means positive results for Virginians. Instead of budget stalemates, endless sessions, and Washington-style rancor, the majority I am honored to lead reestablished 'The Virginia Way' We gained consensus without compromising principles, and the results are good for the people of the 3rd District and the entire Commonwealth. 

"Between now and November 3, I will be campaigning to earn the votes of the people of the 3rd District and to retain our Republican majority in the Senate. I am ready for the challenging campaign to retain our majority, and look forward to taking my record - and the record of the Republican majority I lead - directly to the voters." 

The 3rd District includes Gloucester, King and Queen, King William and New Kent Counties and the City of Poquoson, and portions of Isle of Wight, James City, Surry, and York Counties, and the Cities of Hampton and Suffolk.





News Release
Senate Majority Leader Norment reports on General Assembly session and success of legislative agenda
March 11, 2015


Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today recounted the results of this year's General Assembly session and the success of his legislative agenda. 

"The General Assembly approved a budget in record time, passed critical measures to improve safety on Virginia's college and university campuses, and strengthened the ethics and disclosure laws for elected officials," remarked Norment. "As a budget conferee, I was particularly pleased with the results of our work in achieving a balanced budget without Governor McAuliffe's massive fee hikes or higher taxes. And, I'm also excited about the overall success of my own office's legislative agenda this session. 

"All three of the bills I filed to address the problem of sexual assault reporting on campuses met with success this session. Two of them, Senate Bills 734 and 1192, were incorporated into the bills we ultimately approved by overwhelming margins. The third, Senate Bill 1193, requires public and private institutions to include a notation on the transcript of a student who is suspended, dismissed, or withdraws from the institution for any violation of the institution's code, rules or set of standards. Such notations will alert other institutions in the Commonwealth to the previous behavior of a prospective student that could threaten the safety of others. This legislation won widespread bipartisan support and is now on Governor McAuliffe's desk. 

"The progress we made to get Colonial Downs up and racing again - and the people of New Kent employed there back to work - was outstanding. It wasn't easy. The negotiations on this matter were challenging, but the resolution we reached is the first good news for the track in quite awhile. 

"The passage of my legislation related to groundwater management in our region, Senate Bill 1341, will help stave off the overreach of the EPA and state agencies, preventing unnecessary rationing in the near future. Additionally, Senate Resolution 272 creates a groundwater advisory committee to develop long-term solutions to groundwater management in the Eastern Virginia Groundwater Management Area. These measures were of critical importance to local governments in the eastern portion of the 3rd District. 

"The legislation I filed relating to the funding of local tourism projects is a major advance for that industry, which is critical to enhancing tourism and creating jobs in our region. The bill facilitates the growth of major tourism projects in Virginia with a private investment of $100 million or more. 

"My bill to increase the training, screening, and professional requirements for special conservators of the peace before they may be trusted to act in the interest of public safety was a top priority for Virginia's law enforcement professionals. I was pleased we were able to pass this bill and make important - and long overdue - progress on this important public safety concern. 

"Senate Bill 1197 is legislation that was suggested to me during a meeting with a constituent in our district office over the summer. This legislation is important, not only because it was a constituent request but also because it will create a database to collect information and evaluate the possible causes of stillbirth deaths. Additionally, the legislation directs hospitals to develop policies and guidelines to assist families coping with the heartbreak of losing a child due to a stillbirth. 

"As a conferee on the two highest profile bills of this session, the budget and my bill on ethics reform to lower the cap on gifts to $100, I really had my hands full. But in the end, it was one of the most productive and successful sessions I've experienced in my 24 years serving the people of the 3rd District. 

"All totaled, 20 of the 25 bills I filed for the 2015 session were approved. Two others, dealing with campus sexual assault, were incorporated into the bills that the General Assembly ultimately approved. That's an overall success rate of nearly 90%, making this an extraordinary productive session." 

Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. represents the 3rd District in the Senate of Virginia. The 3rd District includes Gloucester, King and Queen, King William and New Kent Counties and the City of Poquoson, and portions of Isle of Wight, James City, Surry, and York Counties, and the Cities of Hampton and Suffolk.





News Release
Statement of Senate Majority Leader Norment on the passing of former Delegate George Grayson
March 04, 2015


Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today issued the following statement on the passing of former Delegate George W. Grayson (D-James City): 

"It is with sadness that I learned of the death of former Delegate George Grayson today. Having represented James City and Williamsburg in the Senate for ten of the 27 years when George served our region in the House, I know the depth of his unyielding devotion to the people of the Historic Triangle. 

"Although nationally renowned for his expertise on Latin America, George had an extraordinary knowledge of the rich history of our area, a perspective that was on frequent display during his service in the House. 

"George was a champion for mental health, and I was privileged to work closely with him on behalf of Eastern State Hospital and its patients. George also understood the vital importance of tourism to our region, and worked tirelessly to advance Virginia's commitment to promoting the Historic Triangle. And, the College of William and Mary and the importance of higher education to Virginia were never underrepresented in the House of Delegates during George's tenure. He consistently stood up for the College and successfully fought for its needs.

"For those of us who knew him, his genial manner, quick wit, and sense of humor will leave a lasting impression. Whether debating an issue in the House, lecturing students in the classroom, or appearing before civic organizations in the 97th District, George enthralled his audiences with witty comments and humorous observations. He had a willingness to poke fun at himself that endeared him to his audiences and his constituents. 

"George Grayson had a tremendous effect on our region, the College, and the Commonwealth. Today's news means we have lost a Virginia original. I send my sincerest sympathies to George's family, his colleagues at the College, and the constituents he served devotedly and with distinction." Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. represents the 3rd District in the Senate of Virginia. The 3rd District includes Gloucester, King and Queen, King William and New Kent Counties and the City of Poquoson, and portions of Isle of Wight, James City, Surry, and York Counties, and the Cities of Hampton and Suffolk. 





Senate Republicans Comment on Session Conclusion
SENATE CONFEREES ON ETHICS BILL REFUTE FALSE CLAIMS IN WASHINGTON POST STORY
March 03, 2015


RICHMOND, VA, 3 MARCH 2015: The leadership of the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus today commented on the results of the 2015 General Assembly session. Additionally, the two Republican Senators who served on the Committees of Conference for the ethics bill refuted the accuracy of a story that appeared in the March 1, 2015, edition of the Washington Post.

"With Republicans leading both chambers, the 2015 General Assembly was among the most productive and successful sessions in recent memory," declared Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City). "Approving a fiscally responsible budget that did not increase the tax burden on Virginians, bringing business standards to the ABC, and passing an ethics reform package that builds upon the more stringent standards enacted last year are accomplishments of which members of both chambers can be very proud. 

"That's why the headline and story in Sunday's Washington Post were so disappointing. The headline, which asserted 'Senate Republicans were set to sink ethics bill,' is false, inaccurate, and wholly without merit. The opposite is the case. Senate Republicans worked tirelessly on the Committees of Conference to reach an agreement on these bills that could pass both chambers. And, we repeatedly expressed our willingness to stay in Richmond as long as it took to ensure the 98-page ethics bill on which we were working was sound policy. 

"When Speaker Howell involved himself in the negotiations, the only other people participating in the meeting were Delegate Cox, Senator Watkins, and me. I can emphatically state that the Speaker never 'threatened to shame [us] publicly if [we] passed nothing.' Instead, the Speaker made it clear that if we did not reach an agreement and complete our work in twenty minutes, the House would adjourn Sine Die without approving an ethics bill. This pledge was entirely consistent with the House Republican leadership's position in the later weeks of session, which strongly prioritized adjourning session early. 

"Negotiations continued after the Speaker's intervention, and several substantive changes were made to the legislation after Senator Watkins and I, and later Senator Jill Vogel (R-Fauquier), completed reviewing the bill. As it was clearly House leadership who raised the possibility of adjourning without passing an ethics bill, it is unconscionable that anyone would attempt to assign this conduct to the Senate Republicans or their conferees.  

"Senate Republicans were prepared to stay for as long as it took - and we are confident the General Assembly still would have adjourned as scheduled - to complete the challenging task of strengthening the reforms to Virginia's conflict of interest laws we enacted last year. Although House leadership expressed their willingness to adjourn without a bill, substituting a House Resolution, which would not carry the force of law, for genuine ethics reform, we are pleased House conferees continued to work toward an agreement. And, Virginia is better for the result." 

"As one of two Republican Senators who served on the Committees of Conference on the conflict of interest bills, I know first-hand that Senate Republicans were never 'set to sink [the] ethics bill,' as the Post story claimed," noted Senator John C. Watkins (R-Powhatan). "That claim is absolutely, positively false. We said we didn't want to adjourn until work on the bill - and several other bills - was completed. 

"We spent a lot of hours this session - and pretty much the entire day on Friday - working to reach an agreement on ethics. It is disheartening, though not surprising, that anyone would promote misleading information to the media regarding the negotiations related to this legislation. But, that is exactly what appears to have happened in this circumstance." 

"This was a remarkably successful session for Senate - and House - Republicans," Senator Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover) remarked. "While the incorrect characterizations included in the Post story may have been intended to mar our extraordinary record of accomplishment, the true positive record remains unscathed. 

"We passed landmark legislation on ethics, campus security, child trafficking, and ABC reform, as well as approving a balanced budget without raising taxes or instituting Governor McAuliffe's proposed fee increases. Senate Republicans are proud of our record, and are ready to take that record directly to the people of Virginia."





News Release
SENATE REPUBLICANS REPORT ON RESULTS AT ADJOURNMENT OF 2015 SESSION
February 27, 2015


RICHMOND, VA, 27 FEBRUARY 2015: The Virginia Senate Republican Caucus today expressed satisfaction on the conclusion of the 2015 Session of the Virginia General Assembly.

The General Assembly reached an agreement on the budget bill, House Bill 1400, nearly a week before the session's end. This is in stark contrast to last year's session when the Senate was under Democrat control, when a budget stalemate lasted into June. 

"Comparing last year's session to this year's, it's abundantly clear that Senate Republicans not only know how to govern, but know how to do so responsibly," noted Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City). "We put the people of Virginia first, approving a budget ahead of time and passing legislation that will strengthen our economy, maximize our resources, improve education, and increase access to healthcare. 

"This session will be remembered for its productivity and for meeting the challenge of crafting amendments to the budget that put our fiscal house on firmer ground without raising taxes. Senate Republicans consistently led the way in achieving this result, and we are very pleased with the result." 

Below is a select list of bills, sponsored by members of the Senate Republican Caucus and previously highlighted at Crossover. The list includes the final disposition of these bills at Sine Die.

See More





Norment News
Minimizing the Impact of the ACA. SB5014 signed by the Governor.
December 01, 2014


On November 10 the General Assembly approved legislation that will allow insurance companies to continue offering health care policies that are not compliant with the provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to the current holders of those policies. The bill that I introduced, Senate Bill 5014, and House Bill 501, introduced by Delegate David Yancey, were overwhelmingly approved by both houses of the Virginia General Assembly. The bills do include an emergency clause and following the Governor's signing of the bills they went into effect immediately.

The bills are an effort to address a problem brought to light during the October 2013 ACA rollout. During that period, millions of Americans learned that their health insurance plans would be cancelled if they were not compliant with the provisions of the ACA. In response to the outcry, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services gave states the option of allowing insurance companies to continue offering non-compliant health care policies to the current policy holders for a limited period of time. But for insurance companies to have the option of continuing to offer these policies, states had to enact legislation.

The bills do not and cannot mandate that insurance companies continue to offer the policies, as doing so would exceed the authority of the General Assembly.

As the cancellation notices have been going out over the last few weeks, I have been absolutely inundated with phone calls and emails about this issue and I felt compelled to try to do something to address this.The Virginia General Assembly cannot overturn the ACA. But, we can do everything possible to try to mitigate its negative effects on the people of Virginia.

I encourage constituents who believe that they may qualify for this extension and renewal of their previous policy to contact their insurance companies and inquire whether they will adhere to the General Assembly's bill. If you have additional questions please feel free to contact my office at district03@senate.virginia.gov or 757-259-7810.





News Release
Statement of House Speaker William J. Howell and Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment
October 07, 2014


September 25, 2014

RICHMOND, VA - Virginia House of Delegates Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) and Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) issued the following statement Thursday:

"Earlier this month, we pledged to take the additional steps necessary to restore the public's trust after the events of the last 18 months.  Our pledge still stands.

"We hold those appointed to lead this commission in high regard and appreciate their willingness to serve the Commonwealth. The General Assembly looks forward to reviewing the Commission's findings when it completes its work.

"Ultimately, the responsibility to make changes to Virginia's ethics, transparency, and disclosure laws rests with the General Assembly. We know legislators in both chambers and in both parties are resolved to doing what is right for Virginia and committed to restoring the people's trust in their government.

"Accordingly, we have already begun working on additional reforms that will build upon the bipartisan ethics reform package that secured unanimous approval earlier this year. This is a process that will continue as we move forward."

To read more please click on the link below: 

Read More...



News Release
Senate Republicans Mourn Passing of Delegate Vince Callahan
October 07, 2014


News Release 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

20 September 2014

 

SENATE REPUBLICANS MOURN PASSING OF DELEGATE VINCE CALLAHAN

 

RICHMOND, VA, 20 SEPTEMBER 2014:  Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today remarked on the passing of former Delegate Vincent F. Callahan, Jr.

"During his forty-year tenure in the House of Delegates, Vince Callahan served the people of Virginia with honor and distinction," noted Norment.  "His service was the epitome of 'The Virginia Way,' as Vince's diligence and persistence led to him becoming one of the most effective and respected members in the history of the House of Delegates.
"It's hard to remember now, but when Vince first entered the House in 1968, he was one of just 15 Republican delegates.  By the time of his retirement in 2007, he was not only in the majority but had led the House Appropriations Committee for ten sessions, becoming the first Republican in Virginia history to chair that committee.
"First as Co-Chairman and then as Chairman, Vince worked to form bipartisan consensus on the budget among the members of House Appropriations, making him a formidable negotiator for the House's position in its budget negotiations with the Senate.  Taking his fiduciary duty very seriously, Vince worked to ensure Virginia's reputation as a leader in responsible fiscal management was secure.
"Feisty, friendly, unpretentious, and with a raucous sense of humor and quick wit that were legendary, Vince was the modern-day embodiment of President Theodore Roosevelt's 'Man in the Arena.'
"The thoughts and prayers of the entire Senate Republican Caucus are with Vince's family today.  We have lost a great Virginian, whose contributions to the Commonwealth endure and will be long remembered."






News Release
Statement of Senate Majority Leader Norment on U.S. v. McDonnell verdict
October 07, 2014


News Release

 

For Immediate Release                                                                    

4 September 2014             

 

Statement of Senate Majority Leader Norment on U.S. v. McDonnell verdict

Williamsburg, Virginia, 4 September 2014:  Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today issued the following statement on the verdict inUnited States v. Robert F. McDonnell:

"It is with disappointment, for the McDonnell family and the people of Virginia, that the trial of Bob and Maureen McDonnell has concluded with verdicts of 'guilty.'

"The past six weeks have been gut-wrenching, with media accounts occasionally bordering on the prurient.  While I do not personally agree with this verdict or the decision by the Department of Justice to prosecute the McDonnells, my respect for our system of jurisprudence remains.

"The Commonwealth and the McDonnell family have suffered greatly during this investigation and trial.  Virginia politics will be forever changed from this experience, and I look forward to all of us being able to move on and move forward. 

"Governor McDonnell served Virginia with distinction, leading the Commonwealth through challenging times while amassing an impressive record of accomplishments that will endure long beyond his four-year term.  He distinguished himself as a productive and prolific member of the General Assembly and an accomplished Attorney General.  Ultimately, the ordeal of this trial should not diminish that record.

"My thoughts and prayers today are with the entire McDonnell family.  The families of elected public officials often must endure the rigors and scrutiny of a public life they neither sought nor desired.  Former First Lady Maureen McDonnell and the McDonnell children have borne a burden that accompanies being part of a family that includes a public figure.  With this trial concluded, and as the McDonnells explore their legal options, I hope their right to privacy will be respected by all."

Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. represents the 3rd District in the Senate of Virginia.  The 3rd District includes Gloucester, King and Queen, King William and New Kent Counties and the City of Poquoson, and portions of Isle of Wight, James City, Surry, and York Counties, and the Cities of Hampton and Suffolk.





News Release
BEN CHAFIN ELECTED 21ST REPUBLICAN SENATOR
October 07, 2014


News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

19 August 2014

 

BEN CHAFIN ELECTED 21ST REPUBLICAN SENATOR

 

RICHMOND, VA, 19 AUGUST 2014:  Delegate A. Benton "Ben" Chafin, Jr. (R-Russell) was elected to the Senate of Virginia today, securing a Republican majority in the General Assembly's upper chamber.  Chafin will represent the 38th District, succeeding former Senator Phillip P. Puckett (D-Russell), who retired from the Senate on June 9.

"Ben Chafin is an effective Delegate and he'll be a very effective Senator," declared Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City).  "Our entire caucus has been working toward this day since 2007.  Having a 21st Republican Senator will help us strengthen Virginia's economy and ensure conservative, fiscally responsible management of the Commonwealth's budget.
"The two most recent budget impasses would not have occurred with a 21st Republican Senator.  The contentiousness, reduced collegiality, and Washington-style obstructionist tactics would not have infected the Senate of Virginia.  Tonight is not only a good night for the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus; it is a great night for the Commonwealth."
"In the face of a highly negative campaign waged against him by the Democrats, Ben Chafin stuck to the issues and took his positive message directly to the people of the 38th District," noted Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover).  "Voters rejected the Democrats' expensive campaign that attacked Ben and evaded the issues.  Instead, they rewarded Ben's campaign and endorsed his message of supporting coal, protecting liberty, and stopping Obamacare.
"The Senate Republican Caucus, now 21 members strong, stands ready to tackle the challenges facing the Commonwealth.  We will work to enact policies that encourage job creation and business growth, providing a stronger economy for every corner of Virginia."
"The people of the 38th District have entrusted me to represent their interests in Richmond, and I will not let them down," said Senator-elect Chafin.  "As a farmer, a businessman, and a lifelong resident of Southwest Virginia, it is truly an honor to have been chosen to serve the people who know me best in the Senate of Virginia.
"I am especially gratified that the voters were able to see through the baseless negative attacks that became the sole focus of the Democrats' campaign.  The people of Southwest Virginia understand that politics can be a contact sport, but they rightfully expect those seeking office to stick to the facts.  I am proud that, today, they voted for someone who did."
The 38th Senatorial District includes all of Bland, Buchanan, Dickenson, Pulaski, Russell, and Tazewell Counties, the Cities of Norton and Radford, and portions of Montgomery, Smyth, and Wise Counties.
-End-


Paid for by the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus 





News Release
GENERAL ASSEMBLY APPROVES BUDGET
October 07, 2014


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

12 June 2014

 

GENERAL ASSEMBLY APPROVES BUDGET

 

RICHMOND, VA, 12 JUNE 2014:  Ending an impasse that lasted more than three months, the General Assembly today approved House Bill 5002, Virginia's 2014-2016 Biennial Budget.  The budget passed with the votes of all 20 Republican Senators, guaranteeing approval in the Senate of Virginia.

"Just four days after becoming the majority caucus in the Senate of Virginia, Senate Republicans have ended a three-month budget stalemate and fulfilled the General Assembly's responsibility to the people of Virginia," Senate Republican Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) declared.  "After three months of deliberate inaction on the part of the previous majority, Republican Senators put Virginia first and approved a responsible, fiscally conservative budget.

"The debate over healthcare will take place later, when it can be fully considered and debated by bothchambers.  But first, we had to pass a budget. Tonight, we did just that."
"With the passage of today's budget, Medicaid cannot be expanded without the expressed approval of the General Assembly," noted Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover).  "All twenty Republican Senators approved an amendment that reaffirms the Governor does not have the authority to expand Medicaid unilaterally.
"Republican Senators take their responsibilities seriously, which is why we acted quickly and with determination to end the gridlock and pass a budget.
"Now, Virginia has a budget."

-End-




Paid for by the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus





News Release
SENATE REPUBLICANS THANK SENATOR PHILLIP PUCKETT FOR HIS SERVICE TO THE SENATE OF VIRGINIA
October 07, 2014


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

8 June 2014

 

SENATE REPUBLICANS THANK SENATOR PHILLIP PUCKETT

FOR HIS SERVICE TO THE SENATE OF VIRGINIA

 

WILLIAMSBURG, VA, 8 JUNE 2014:  Senate Republican Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) and Senator C. W. "Bill" Carrico, Sr. (R-Grayson) commented today on the news that Senator Phillip P. Puckett's (D-Russell) will announce tomorrow he is retiring from the Senate of Virginia.

"Over the course of his sixteen years of service in the Senate, Senator Puckett has worked diligently for the people of Southwest Virginia," Senator Norment noted.  "As a member and chairman of the Senate Committee on Agriculture, Conservation and Natural Resources, he was ideally positioned to advance the interests of his district, which are so closely tied to that committee's mission.

"Although Senator Puckett has decided to end his tenure in the Senate of Virginia, his legacy there will endure.  And, his commitment and service to the people of Southwest, who honored him with their votes in five successive elections, will continue.

"On behalf of the Senate Republican Caucus, I thank Senator Puckett for his service in the Senate and wish him continued success in all his future endeavors."

"It's been an honor to serve with Senator Puckett, and to work with him on behalf of the people of Southwest," Senator Carrico remarked.  "Phillip and I haven't agreed on every issue that came before the General Assembly, but we always united on the issues affecting our region.  We spoke with one consistent voice to ensure the unique needs of Southwest were met and its people heard.

"Lawmakers who represent Southwest in Richmond - and the families of those lawmakers - must make a lot of sacrifices.  Our distance from the Capitol is so great and the extended periods we spend away from home takes a toll on our families.  Southwest Virginia has been very fortunate that Phillip's family has been so supportive of him and his work in the Senate over the last sixteen years.  I know they will appreciate having him closer to home a lot more often.

"Phillip is dedicated to our region, and I know he will continue to work diligently on behalf of his neighbors and many friends in Southwest."

-End-



Paid for by Virginia Senate Republican Caucus






News Release
Senator Norment and Delegate Pogge Schedule Town Hall Meeting
October 07, 2014


News Release

 

For Immediate Release                                                                                         

28 March 2014                 

 

Senator Norment and Delegate Pogge schedule Town Hall meeting

James City Legislators to hold Town Hall at Williamsburg Regional Library on April 7

Williamsburg, Virginia, 28 March 2014:  Senate Republican Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today announced that Delegate Brenda L. Pogge (R-James City) and he will be hosting a Town Hall meeting at 7:00 p.m. on Monday, April 7 in the Theater of the Williamsburg Library located at 515 Scotland Street in Williamsburg.

The lawmakers will discuss legislation considered during the recently concluded regular session of the Virginia General Assembly, as well as the ongoing special session to reach an agreement on the Commonwealth's 2014-2016 Biennial Budget.

Senate Republican Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. represents the 3rd District in the Senate of Virginia.  The 3rdDistrict includes Gloucester, King and Queen, King William and New Kent Counties and the City of Poquoson, and portions of Isle of Wight, James City, Surry, and York Counties, and the Cities of Hampton and Suffolk.

Delegate Brenda L. Pogge represents the 96th District in the Virginia House of Delegates.  The 96th District includes portions of James City and York Counties.

The Williamsburg Library is part of the Williamsburg Regional Library, which also includes the James City County Library at 7770 Croaker Road in James City County and Mobile Library Services vehicles.  The Williamsburg Regional Library serves the City of Williamsburg and James City and York Counties.






News Release
Senate Republicans Call on Governor McAuliffe to Honor Debate Pledge and End Budget Standoff
October 07, 2014


News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

21 March 2014

 

SENATE REPUBLICANS CALL ON GOVERNOR MCAULIFFE TO HONOR DEBATE PLEDGE AND END BUDGET STANDOFF

 

RICHMOND, VA, 21 MARCH 2014:  Senate Republican Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) and Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover) today called on Governor Terrance R. McAuliffe to end the ongoing budget impasse by honoring a pledge McAuliffe made in a debate during last year's campaign.

At a September 25, 2103, debate sponsored by the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce and hosted by Chuck Todd of NBC News, McAuliffe declared, "No budget will be shut down in Virginia over the Medicaid expansion."
"Governor McAuliffe needs to keep the pledge he made at the Fairfax Chamber debate and end the current budget standoff now," Norment said.  "Whether you support or oppose Medicaid expansion, Virginia cannot afford to have any single issue obstruct the passage of a biennial budget and threaten a shutdown of state government.
"In a televised debate, then-candidate McAuliffe specifically and emphatically promised this would not happen," McDougle noted.  "He looked into the camera and declared, 'We won't have any government shutdown.' Judging from the result of last year's elections, just over 47% of Virginia voters believed him when he said that.  With this impasse threatening to drag on for months, he needs to end the fiscal uncertainty by making good on his pledge while the General Assembly is in special session next week.
"Governor McAuliffe's statements regarding the budget and Medicaid expansion in that debate are in stark contrast to his recent statements.  Then, he told Virginians, 'These things should never be used as bargaining chips for our budget.'  Now, he is effectively doing just that.
"In his 90-second answer at the debate, candidate McAuliffe cited his endorsement from Republican Virginia Beach Mayor Will Sessoms as evidence of his willingness to work together to ensure a budget gets done.  Now, Mayor Sessoms is calling on Governor McAuliffe to remove Medicaid expansion from the budget, joining 36 school boards, city councils, boards of supervisors, and local elected officials who represent over 3.3 million Virginians."

"As a Senate conferee on House Bills 29 and 30, I can personally attest that if Medicaid expansion was removed from these negotiations they would be settled expeditiously," Norment observed.  "If the Senate budget proposal did not include Marketplace Virginia, the great chasm that currently exists between the House and Senate would be gone.  If the Governor would act to keep his promise today, we would be able to have an agreement on legislators' desks before the end of the coming week.

"No one really won the lengthy budget standoffs of 2004, 2006, and 2012.  Regardless of the outcome, all of them damaged Virginia's reputation for being fiscally responsible and unnecessarily left those who rely on the state government in financial limbo.  All that is required to bring this standoff to an end is for Governor McAuliffe to keep his campaign promise. That is not an extraordinary request."
-End-

Read More...



News Release
SENATE REPUBLICANS CALL ON GOVERNOR MCAULIFFE AND SENATE DEMOCRATS TO ABANDON OBSTRUCTIONIST TACTICS ON BUDGET
October 07, 2014


News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

4 March 2014

 

SENATE REPUBLICANS CALL ON GOVERNOR MCAULIFFE AND SENATE DEMOCRATS TO ABANDON OBSTRUCTIONIST TACTICS ON BUDGET

 

RICHMOND, VA, 4 MARCH 2014:  Senate Republican leaders today called on Governor Terry McAuliffe and Senate Democrats to support approval of a budget before the General Assembly's March 8 scheduled adjournment and to abandon threats to obstruct the passage of a two-year spending plan.
     "During the 2013 campaign, candidate McAuliffe decried efforts to shut down the federal government," observed Senate Republican Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City).  "Now - Governor McAuliffe is employing the same tactic he once denounced, endangering the budget process and steering the Commonwealth toward a shutdown.
     "Using what he learned in his decades as a Washington insider, Governor McAuliffe is bringing the obstructionist tactics of our nation's Capitol to Richmond, where they are undesirable, unwarranted, and unwelcome."
     In a speech to the Loudoun County Democratic Committee's Jefferson-Jackson Day Dinner in Leesburg on June 1, 2013, then-candidate McAuliffe proclaimed, "I will not sign a budget in Virginia unless a Medicaid expansion is included."
     McAuliffe appeared to walk back that pledge at a debate sponsored by the Fairfax Chamber of Commerce months later on September 25, 2013, stating, "No budget will be shut down in Virginia over the Medicaid expansion.  I will work in a bipartisan way to get it done."
     Recently though, McAuliffe has made statements indicating a reversion to his initial position regarding conditions for approving a budget.  In his letter to budget conferees of February 28, McAuliffe said he expected a budget to be complete by July 1, failing to reference or mention the scheduled March 8deadline.  And while touring Augusta Health last Saturday, March 1, McAuliffe stated, "I believe we'll head toward a special session after March 8," further indicating his abandonment of a budget being approved on schedule in the first year of his four-year term.
     Senate Democrats echoed McAuliffe's pledge to reject any budget that does not include Medicaid expansion or an alternative of which they approve at a Capitol news conference last Thursday.  As reported by the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Senate Democrats used the conference to declare they were "not willing to approve a budget without the health insurance expansion in it."
     "What has been most notable about this session is that the Democrats came to Richmond to posture," noted Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover).  "From their failed efforts to burden Virginia's economy with the second-highest minimum wage in the country to their current scheme to hold the budget hostage unless Virginia enacts every optional component of ObamaCare, their goals have been set by President Obama while their tactics have mirrored Harry Reid's.
     "Governor McAuliffe and Senate Democrats proclaim their love for the 'Virginia Way' while practicing the same old Washington-style politics.  And now, they are fully prepared to give Virginia its first Washington-style government shutdown."
     "We should not be surprised that Senate Democrats are willing to hold Virginia's budget hostage," said Senate Republican Caucus Vice Chairman Stephen D. Newman (R-Bedford).  "We are essentially at the same place we were in 2012, when Senate Democrats refused to pass a budget unless their purely partisan demands were met.
     "The legislative process, where measures must earn the support of a majority in both houses before they are enacted, has been abandoned.  They are supplanting the Constitution of Virginia with the bare-knuckled partisanship of a campaign.  What they are doing is reckless and irresponsible, and we reject it.
     "In order to achieve what they perceive as a short-term political advantage, they are willing to risk essential funding for education, public safety, and core services.  They are placing our local governments in fiscal limbo at a time when school boards, city councils, and boards of supervisors must construct their budgets.  And, they are willing to sacrifice our AAA bond rating at the altar of ObamaCare."
     "The Senate and House budget proposals are not very far apart," Norment observed.  "In my years as a budget conferee, I can't recall the two plans being closer on many key issues as they are this year.
     "We can easily have a budget ready for approval by the scheduled adjournment on Saturday.  If we do not and Virginia is set on a course for an extended standoff and potential shutdown, Virginians need look no further than the occupant of our Executive Mansion and the party now in control of the Senate of Virginia.
     "With Saturday's deadline upon us, Governor McAuliffe needs to realize that the campaign is over. Now is the time to govern effectively by demonstrating leadership."
-End-


Paid for by the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus





News Release
SENATE REPUBLICANS ON ADOPTION OF NEW “RULES” BY SENATE DEMOCRATS
October 07, 2014


News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

28 January 2014

 

SENATE REPUBLICANS ON ADOPTION OF NEW "RULES"

BY SENATE DEMOCRATS

 

RICHMOND, VA, 28 JANUARY 2014:  Senate Republican Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) and Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover), and Senate Republican Caucus Whip William M. Stanley, Jr. (R-Franklin) commented today on the adoption of Senate Resolution 26.

"Effective today, the Senate of Virginia has ceased to operate under rules consistent with the custom, usage, and tradition of the Senate," Norment remarked.  "There is a dark shadow hanging over the Senate today.  It has not been the Senate of Virginia's proudest day.
"Abandoning the body's rich traditions, they have put forward operating procedures that are, by design, intended to be changed and altered depending on the circumstances, effectively managing by caprice.  The Senate of Virginia is no longer a deliberative body and, with today's actions, barely a legislative one."
"As a member of the Senate, I am astounded that a Caucus with senior members could have orchestrated today's debacle," Stanley noted.  "To think that these anti-democratic, anti-transparent procedures were generated by the same Caucus whose members were bemoaning the bi-partisan ethics reform package as inadequate adds a level of hypocrisy heretofore unseen in the Senate of Virginia."
"In a day full of outrageous power grabs, the decision by Senate Democrats to transform the Rules Committee into a 'super committee,' and granting extraordinary powers to a single senator rates as most outrageous," declared McDougle.
"Senate Republicans take solace in the knowledge that now, thanks to today's rulings by the Lieutenant Governor Northam, the Senate is merely an absence away from reorganization.  That may not amount to stability in the procedures of the Senate, but, unlike our Democrat colleagues, we know how to follow rules."
-End-

Paid for by the Virginia Senate Republican Caucus





News Release
SENATE REPUBLICANS COMMENT ON THE RECOUNT IN THE SIXTH DISTRICT
October 07, 2014


News Release

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

27 January 2014

 

SENATE REPUBLICANS COMMENT ON

THE RECOUNT IN THE SIXTH DISTRICT

 

RICHMOND, VA, 27 JANUARY 2014:  Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) and Senate Republican Caucus Chairman Ryan T. McDougle (R-Hanover) commented today on the election of Delegate Lynwood W. Lewis, Jr. (D-Accomack) over Republican nominee B. Wayne Coleman in today's Recount.

"We congratulate Delegate Lewis on the confirmation of his victory in today's Recount," Norment remarked.  "He won an amazingly close, hard-fought race.  I am sure he is gratified by this result and the conclusion of this process.
"Wayne Coleman and his campaign stunned the Virginia political establishment and virtually every pundit by turning what was expected to be an easy Democratic victory into one of the closest contests in the history of the Senate. That result was achieved through the determination of the candidate, the hard work of Wayne's campaign, and the active assistance of the Senate Republican Caucus.
"The Senate Republican Caucus has been honored to be associated with Wayne and his campaign.  Throughout the campaign and the Recount process, they have distinguished themselves and set a high standard for our efforts in 2015."
"The Senate Republican Caucus congratulates Delegate Lewis on his win and we welcome him to the Senate of Virginia," noted McDougle.  "Wayne Coleman ran a campaign based on the issues and his record of creating jobs.  We are proud of Wayne and his campaign.
"While we came tantalizingly close to overcoming the Senate Democratic Caucus's hyper-partisan 2011 gerrymander in this contest, it prevailed once again - even if just barely.  The closeness of this contest is cause for optimism as we prepare for the races in 2015, when we will elect a minimum of 21 Republican Senators."
The 6th Senate District is comprised of Accomack, Mathews, and Northampton Counties, and portions of the Cities of Norfolk and Virginia Beach.

-End-






News Release
Senate Republican Leader responds to Governor McAuliffe's Annoucement of "A Healthy Virginia" Plan
September 09, 2014


RICHMOND, Va, 8 September 2014: Senate Majority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) issued the following statement today regarding Governor Terence R. "Terry" McAuliffe's announcement of his "A Healthy Virginia" plan: 

"By not attempting to enact major policy changes unilaterally by executive fiat, and without General Assembly approval, Governor McAuliffe has wisely averted an unwarranted constitutional crisis. The policies he announced today will, ultimately, require General Assembly approval. They will, of course, be given due consideration during the 2015 session. Now, however, we have an opportunity to put the contentiousness of the last eight months behind us and return to enacting policies in the manner prescribed by the Constitution of Virginia."

Read More...



Norment News
Senator Norment Discusses Public Education with Rotary
August 02, 2013



Read More...



Norment News
Statement on accomodation by Senate Republican leader Norment
April 15, 2011


Richmond, Va, 15 April 2011: Senate of Virginia Minority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today issued the following statement regarding Senate Majority Leader Richard L. Saslaw’s (D-Fairfax) assertions that Senate Republicans were accommodated in the Howell Plan:

“Assertions made to members of the media today by Senator Saslaw implying that alterations to the Howell Plan were made for the convenience of or to accommodate the Senate Republican Caucus are inaccurate....

Read More...



Editorial: Taxing and spending
A few powerful people craft the state budget. We should be told what they decide.
January 31, 2011


In a legislative session that's chock full of invitations to lawmakers to do mischief, several excellent bills stand out. One, offered by state Sen. Tommy Norment (R-Williamsburg), would remove the veil of secrecy that allows a very few, very powerful legislators to shape state spending.
Read More...



Norment News
2011 General Assembly Day
January 25, 2011


This session I am thrilled to host my second "General Assembly Day" for residents of Virginia's Third Senate District. Last year was a tremendous success and we look forward again to an exciting time to learn about the political process and experience the General Assembly at work. The programs will take place on Wednesday, February 16 and Thursday, February 17. Unfortunately, we will only be able to have 20 constituents attend per day. Because space is limited, please let us know as soon as possible if you will be able to attend. First come, first serve. If you were able to attend last year we would ask that you allow others the opportunity this year.
Read More...



News Release
Norment Announces Legislative Reform Agenda
January 21, 2011


Richmond, VA, January 21, 2011: Senate of Virginia Minority Leader Thomas K. Norment, Jr. (R-James City) today detailed three bills he is sponsoring as part of a legislative reform agenda. If enacted, Norment’s bills would shorten the length of General Assembly sessions held in odd-numbered years, provide greater transparency and accountability to the budget process, and prohibit lawmakers from receiving additional compensation when the General Assembly goes into overtime. 
Read More...



Norment News
2010 General Assembly Review
March 30, 2010


On Sunday March 14, the 2010 General Assembly session adjourned.  Considering the challenges that I described in previous updates, it was a huge success that we were able to complete our work just one day late.

There were tremendous accomplishments that were made throughout the session in the areas of job creation, economic development, public safety and government reform.

This was the first year that I was appointed by the Chairman of the Senate Finance Committee to serve as a budget conferee- one of a dozen members who work together to craft the final budget.  It was a steep learning curve and an eye opening experience to be involved in such complex negotiations, however, I feel I made a positive contribution.

Read More...



Norment News
2010 Crossover Summary
February 22, 2010


With Crossover behind us, I want to update you on a few of the important bills that have passed the Senate.  Crossover, the day when bills that have passed their respective chambers make their way from one legislative body to the other, is the symbollic midway point for the session.

During the 2010 session, 2,618 bills and resolutions were introduced.  After crossover, 1,650 bills are still being considered by both houses.  Many critical pieces of legislation have passed the Senate that will now be debated by members of the House of Delegates. Although these bills are far from being enacted into law, I hope that you will take the time to read through them.

Below is a compilation of some of the important bills that have passed the Senate.  To view the bills in their complete form click here. It is also important to note that the Governor released his budget recommendation this Wednesday and the two money committees, House Appropriations and Senate Finance, will follow suit this Sunday with their versions of the budget.  I will provide a review of the budget process next week.

Read More...



Terror Trials in NN? Wittman, Norment Say No Way

August 14, 2009


The possibility that Newport News' new, state-of-the-security-art federal courthouse could be the site for terrorism trials for Guantanamo Bay inmates has drawn a reaction from at least two elected officials.

The Washington Post reported Thursday that the Newport News courthouse, with its high security and proximity to military bases that could hold defendants, was under serious consideration to host the trials. Among the potential defendants is the alleged mastermind behind the Sept. 11 terror attacks, Khalid Sheik Mohammed.

The highest profile case the building has hosted is the recent Michael Vick bankruptcy. The building opened 18 months ago, and the Post characterized its location as downtown, but not near hotels and restaurants.


Read More...



State lawmakers approve legislation to help future efforts to remove public officials from office.

February 27, 2009


Citizens who petition to remove an elected official from office will not be subject to penalties, according to legislation approved Thursday by the General Assembly.

The bill stems from the failed removal of four Gloucester County supervisors; however, it won't reverse the $80,000 fine that 40 Gloucester petitioners were ordered to pay.

"You cannot be sanctioned just because you circulated a petition," said Sen. Thomas Norment, R-Williamsburg.


Read More...



W&M students go on the "Road to Richmond"

February 03, 2009


At 6 a.m. on Jan. 29, senior Brittany Constance was awake, alert and ready to lead a busload of 35 students for the College of William and Mary’s annual “Road to Richmond” event. With a roster and agenda in hand, she spoke to the gathering of undergraduate students, graduate students and university staff.

"Make sure you mingle with the legislators and engage them," she advised. "Talk about the issues you're passionate about, but also let them know what life is like on campus and why we need their support."


Read More...



Chamber Hosts Overflow Crowd to Address Pre-Session Legislators

January 10, 2009


An overflow crowd of business and government leaders required extra chairs so they could all get a chance to sit and listen to local state reps talk about the upcoming session of the General Assembly.

State Sen. Tommy Norment and three local delegates, Bill Barlow, Phil Hamilton and Brenda Pogge, answered questions from the Greater Williamsburg Chamber and Tourism Alliance and the audience about the upcoming legislative session.


Read More...



Tommy Norment named recipient of 2007 Prentis Award

May 17, 2007


State Sen. Tommy Norment (R-3rd) has been named the recipient of the College of William and Mary’s 2007 Prentis Award. College President Gene R. Nichol presented the award at a reception honoring Norment May 16.

 “Our College—like our community and our Commonwealth—is beyond fortunate to have Tommy Norment in our corner,” said Nichol. “William and Mary couldn't ask for a more devoted advocate in Richmond. I’m proud to honor his friendship and service with the Prentis Award.”


Read More...



State Sen. Tommy Norment recognized for leadership in education

April 26, 2007


(Williamsburg, Va.) – State Sen. Tommy Norment (R-3rd) was presented the William and Mary School of Education’s Jo Lynne DeMary Award at an Educational Policy, Planning and Leadership Alumni breakfast in the University Center yesterday.

 The DeMary Award, named for the William and Mary alumna and former state superintendent of schools, recognizes individuals for leadership in education.


Read More...







Sign up for the newsletter