Tuesday, February 7, 2012

General Assembly Update - Virginia

Senator Ralph S. Northam
(Virginia 6th Senate)
I hope that everyone is doing well and staying safe.  The fourth week of the 2012 General Assembly session is coming to a close, and things up here in Richmond have not slowed down.  It's about to get busier than ever with "cross-over" quickly approaching, where each chamber of the General Assembly begin considering bills that were passed by the other body.  Legislation will be moving right along in preparation to be considered by the House, so I don't expect a spare second in the coming days.  I have had several bills come up on the Senate floor and in committee since my last update, so if you ever want to check on the most updated status of my bills during the week, please feel free to click here.

Many of the bills that I am working on are at various stages of the legislative process, however, there are two that were acted on this week that I would like to highlight.  I am happy to report that my legislation addressing physical education requirements in public schools, SB 471, passed in the Senate Education and Health committee unanimously on Thursday.  We took a different approach to solve the problem this year, but this bill still addresses the issue of childhood obesity.  In 2011, my bill required 150 minutes of physical education per week, starting in the 2014-2015 school year.  It made its way through the House and the Senate, but was vetoed by Governor McDonnell.  This year, my bill requires that the Board of Education develop regulations regarding physical education in public schools, effective at the start of the 2015-2016 school year.  The other bill that I would like to highlight is SB 550, which instructs the Virginia Marine Resources Commission to adjust the boundaries of the public oyster beds on the seaside of the Eastern Shore.   These boundaries have not been adjusted since 1894, and expanding them will allow natural oyster beds that are currently outside of the boundaries to become available for wild harvest, increasing the opportunity for watermen to take oysters. This bill passed on the Senate floor unanimously, and is extremely important for economic development and opportunities for working watermen and the aquaculture industry.
Your needs and concerns are important to me, so if there is anything that I can help you with, please feel free to contact my office in Richmond.  Our office number is 804-698-7506, or you can email matt@ralphnortham.com This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .  My Legislative Assistant, Matt Strickler, is always available to assist you in any way that he possibly can.
Please continue to stay safe and, as always, look for another General Assembly update next Friday!


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