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State Capitol Report   February 7-13, 2011

The Poindexter Report
By Delegate Charles Poindexter

We reached Crossover this past week and debated and voted on the House budget. Delegates now turn to processing the Senate bills, and the House  and Senate Budget Conferees begin to resolve differences in the House and Senate budgets. Our mutual goal is to complete our work by February 26, the scheduled Session adjournment date.

We approved the House budget on Thursday after a long and lively debate. Opponents of the budget were proclaiming no general fund money should ever be used for transportation. I disagree with that. Transportation is a core government service and it is appropriate to use some general funds for it. The funding for the widening of Rt. 58—a vital regional link—to four lanes has been using significant general fund dollars. School buses, city mass transit buses, fire, rescue, law enforcement, employees and employers, visitors and tourism are dependent upon our roads to provide services.

The argument that using the general fund reduces funding for education, health and human services, public safety, and similar services assumes the revenue pie is constant when, in reality, if regulations and taxes are less, more revenue comes in to fund all services. So, we left $150 million in Transportation to partially fund the new Transportation infrastructure bank of the Transportation program.

One decision we made was very tough. Medicaid is now 22% of the state budget and on a steep rise including and considering pressures from the new federal healthcare bill. With funding limited, we decided to place a cap on some personal services in order to provide basic services to more individuals on the lengthy “awaiting waiver” list.
The Physical Education bill continues to advance, and I speculate some form of legislation to pass to require greater physical activity for our children. The bill to allow homeschoolers to participate in public school sports failed, although many of us supported the bill. I anticipate outlawing synthetic marijuana will pass, even if the federal government has already outlawed some of the ingredients used in it.

My bills have now cleared the House and the first one has passed out of its Senate subcommittee. This is my Judicial Notice bill, which permits a court to use a state electronic database to verify licensure of, say, doctors or nurses instead of requiring them to come to court to do so. I will spend most of the next two weeks presenting the remainder of my bills to Senate subcommittees and committees.

Those bills include my study for IT efficiencies around the state, coal mining safety modernization, upgrade of state code regarding fertilizer, water quality reporting, and coal mining water quality. Many of my bills this year originated from my work as vice-chairman of the State Commission on Energy and Environment or at the request of the Administration. My economic development and jobs bill’s chief focus this session has been to get the Governor’s jobs package into the approved budget. That was accomplished. There are several components to this package that should substantially aid small businesses and rural areas. The Governor has been very active in pushing these items, as well.

Franklin County mourns the loss of three outstanding members of our community this week. My prayers and deepest condolences go out to the friends and families of James Ottis Bowling, Clinton Tosh, Sr., and Marie Jamison Beckett.

Among our visitors to our Capitol this week were members of the 4H State Cabinet and many people supporting The Family Foundation. We welcomed students and sponsors from Parkway Christian Academy, including Melvin Adams’ son Nick Adams, Houston Petty, Nick Fike, Leighton Dubbled, Troy Keaton’s daughter Allyson Keaton, Kaitlynn Lewis, and Kim Christensen. 

As always, I enjoyed meeting with Floyd County School Board members Dave Sulzen, Linda King, Clay Link, Doug Phillips, and Superintendent Terry Arbogast and with Franklin County Schools Superintendent Dr. Charles Lackey.  Carilion’s Bill Jacobsen and Mark Lawrence were in town, as was Danville’s Steve Daniels with VEDA. VEDA Southwest Region was represented by Tom Elliott, Sally Morgan, Kevin Mitchell, and Basil Edwards.

Several of our hardworking local real estate friends visited as well: Billy Kingery, Betty Kingery, Sonya Dickerson, Bitsy Davis, Matt Huff, Bruce Hill, Julie Kingery and Martha Boush. 

If you will be in Richmond during the next two weeks, please stop by my office, Room 807 in the General Assembly building. I am always interested in hearing from citizens. You can contact me at (804) 698-1009 or by email at or write to me 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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