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Phone: 804-698-1009
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Phone: 540-576-2600
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PO Box 117, Glade Hill VA 24092
Phone: 540-489-8989

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State Capitol Report   January 17-21, 2011

The Poindexter Report
By  9th District Delegate Charles Poindexter

This past week the General Assembly kicked into high gear as we began subcommittee and committee meetings on bills, budget amendments, and the Governor’s proposals for the 2011 Session.

I experienced a busy week in Appropriations as we received and began review of the Governor’s proposals for Jobs and Economic Development, Transportation, VRS changes, and Higher Education reform.  As my priority is jobs and economic development, the Governor’s  proposals rang favorably with me, especially items such as Small Business Loans (VSBFA), the Main Street Program, and Enterprise Zones, all of which we use and need greater support for here in the 9th District.

I was involved in the preparation and vetting of the Transportation proposals. They would put up to 4 billion into transportation infrastructure in the next three years without raising taxes and with dedicated revenue available to repay the bonds.  Of course, the 1.4 billion found in the VDOT audit will be used as part of the package. Wall Street’s recent positive review of Virginia’s sound financial base means we can build projects statewide while construction costs and interest rates are at historic low levels.

Regards VRS, it is imperative we address the long-range financial soundness of the system and avoid the unfunded liabilities of the other states that are being bankrupted by unsustainable retirement obligations. We simply have to make structural changes and be fair to our hardworking employees in the process.

One of the Higher Education Reform topics of high interest to me is the Extension Service agriculture 4-H field agents located in our counties..  I met recently with Dr. Alan Grant, Dean of the Agriculture School at Virginia Tech,  regarding this and other ag issues and I was privileged to have Dr. Charles Steger, President of Virginia Tech,  meet with me this week, as well. I have submitted a budget amendment to keep our field agents in every county and to continue support for the 4-H component of Extension Service.

We held intense House Floor debates on removing the mandatory  requirement for HPV  vaccine for young girls. We also held a lively debate regarding the bill for school divisions to conform to standard expenditures reporting for Instruction in K-12. I co-patroned and strongly supported both of these bills.  The latter bill originated from my 2008 School Expenditures bill. I extend my thanks to Delegate Manoli Loupassi (R- 68th , Richmond/part of Chesterfield) for his leadership on this transparency and accountability issue. Both bills passed and went to the Senate for its consideration.

The first of many ‘plastic bag’ bills came to my Agriculture, Chesapeake & Natural Resources Committee. After a healthy debate on its merits, costs, and alternative approaches to this problem, the bill was defeated. I expect us to look carefully at the issue, perhaps taking off on  a very successful pilot program in Surry County. Closer to home and our local job market, if you have a deck constructed with materials in lieu of wood, it is likely made from the recycling of plastic bags!

While Virginia already has quite strong illegal immigration laws compared with other states, you—the citizens—continue to indicate to us legislators you think further actions are needed. This last week the House Republican Caucus, after completing much off-session work and even after a couple of legislators traveled to Arizona to review their legislation, the Caucus  released a package of about 16 legislative components to address this problem. These include proposals to keep illegal immigrants from finding work, barring them from enrollment at state colleges and universities, and prohibiting receipt of public assistance. One especially of interest is the proposal to require school divisions to report tallies of illegal students.  These numbers could then be used to determine taxpayer costs to educate them. By federal court ruling, we have to school them. And we do and we will. But the taxpayer deserves to know the cost.

Virginia is a Right-To-Work state and, hence, friendly to businesses and employees who do not wish to be required to join a union to obtain or hold employment. I was pleased to vote Yea on the Resolution to place this Right-To-Work language into our Virginia Constitution. Today, it is simply a law which could easily be changed, so we need it included permanently in the Constitution. That way, if anyone attempts to change the law, the people get to vote on it.

I was pleased many visitors stopped by my office last week.  Among them were Franklin County’s Jon Morris from STEP and Daphne Jamison representing  Virginia Soil and Water Conservation; Joyce Hughes representing the VA Association for Early Childhood Education and Joyce Moran, Emma Beneke, and Carrica Woods with Southern Virginia Child Advocacy; Bev Walters leading a group from Floyd County’s Child Abuse Intervention Groups/NRVCare , and Terri Smusz with New River Community.

Please note that our local District Office in Glade Hill is closed while my staff works in the Richmond office through February 26. You may contact me in Richmond at (804)698-1009 or  or by regular mail at P.O. Box 406, Richmond VA 23218.


“Entrepreneurs and their small business enterprises are responsible for almost all the economic growth in the United States".
Ronald Reagan
Courtesy Ronald Reagan Library
“Whatever else history says about me when I’m gone, I hope it will record that I appealed to your best hopes, not your worst fears, to your confidence rather than your doubts. My dream is that you will travel the road ahead with liberty’s lamp guiding your steps and opportunity’s arm steadying your way".
Ronald Reagan
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