News


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