Issues

Issues

 

Transportation

My top priority is the issue that unites us all in Northern Virginia—reducing traffic congestion and improving our regional mobility.

Current Transportation Projects

For a complete list of current VDOT transportation projects in Northern Virginia, click here.

Recent Legislation

For the 2013 General Assembly session, I introduced several transportation-related bills, including:

HB 1885 to require VDOT to provide highway and local street maintenance information on its website. The bill passed the House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor McDonnell.

HB 1886 to allow the police to ticket trucks or that carry loads over the truck’s weight limit rating, or take them off the road, to make the traveling public safer. HB 1886 passed the House and the Senate andwas signed into law by Governor McDonnell.

I also co-sponsored HB 2049 to add more Northern Virginia members to the Commonwealth Transportation Board that allocates transportation construction funds, and HB 1360, to make texting while driving a reckless driving offense. HB 2049 was defeated in the House on February 5, 2013.  HB 1360 was incorporated into a similar bill, HB 1907, which passed in the House on February 5, 2013.

Other transportation bills that I have authored in previous General Assembly sessions that have become law include:

HB 599 (2012) to require VDOT to assess and provide a numerical rating of proposed transportation projects in Northern Virginia so that projects that offer the “biggest bank for the buck” can be selected for funding;

HB 601 (2012) to provide a permanent seat for Virginia on the Board of the Washington Area Metropolitan Transit Authority (WMATA) that governs Metrorail and Metrobus service. This will help provide better oversight of organizations that need it;

HB 625 (2012) to require that VDOT report on any increase in traffic congestion expected as a result of planned zoning and land use changes, to better synchronize development and transportation planning in Northern Virginia;

HB 626 (2012) to allow localities (in addition to VDOT) to measure noise levels from roadways;

HB 2001 (2011) to accelerate VDOT’s research and development program aimed at creating a new type of asphalt that will make roads quieter.

Metrorail to Dulles and Loudoun County

Phase 1 of the Dulles Rail “Silver Line” (extending from West Falls Church to Reston) was funded in part by more than $900 million in federal money, no federal funds have been committed to the Phase 2 extension of the Silver Line to Dulles Airport and the Ashburn area of Loudoun County. Because there are no federal funds secured for Phase 2 of the Silver Line, the burden may fall on toll road users that pay tolls to use the Dulles Toll Road.

According to recent projections, tolls would increase to $6.75 one way on the Toll Road by 2018 (not including Greenway Tolls), and then higher until the year 2040 and beyond. This is not acceptable. While some member of the General Assembly want to “buy down” the tolls with $300 million of state tax dollars, this would only reduce the one way toll by 60 cents to $6.15 in 2018, in other words, the toll would only decrease by 20 cents per $100 million given by the state to the project. That’s still outrageous.

I disagree with the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority (MWAA) being able to increase tolls without approval by an elected body. Phase 2 should be delayed until a significant additional funding source is found to help pay for the Phase 2 project that does not include additional toll hikes.

 

Education

My commitment to quality public education is second to none. As the son of a career third grade teacher and father of three graduates of Fairfax County Public Schools, I know and appreciate the impact our teachers have on our children—and America’s future—every day. Our children learn best when we attract and retain well-paid and motivated teachers and when parents are actively involved in our schools.

For the 2013 General Assembly Session, I continued to serve on the Education Committee of the House of Delegates, and chair the Teachers and Administrative Action Subcommittee.  In 2013, I introduced:

HB 2068, at the request of the Governor, is related to improving reading and math remediation in schools. The bill passed the House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor McDonnell.

HB 1889 is related to keeping confidential certain performance review information in teacher’s personnel files. The bill passed the House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor McDonnell.

I also co-sponsored HB 2084 to establish the Teach for America program in Virginia, which passed the House and Senate.

In 2012, I introduced HB 602 and cosponsored HB 1063, bills that would give local school boards more flexibility to start school as early as two weeks prior to Labor Day and end two weeks earlier in June. Throughout 2010, I met with 15 principals from schools in the 67th district.  This bill was a direct result of listening to their advice and ideas.

I also re-introduced a bill, HB 603, allowing open enrollment within school districts. This bill is designed to mitigate the anxiety so often associated with school boundary changes. Unlike most states, Virginia does not have an open enrollment statute. Open enrollment means that parents and students can choose the public school they wish to attend, with certain restrictions, even if they don’t live in the desired school’s attendance area. Open enrollment is permitted in some form in 46 states. This bill passed both the House and Senate unanimously and will become law on July 1, 2012. Under an open enrollment policy, local school boards may establish policies to enable parents and students would be able to select the school of their choice within their current school system (e.g. Fairfax County Public Schools and Loudoun County Public Schools), different from their assigned school. Subject to certain restrictions, no “permission” from the school system would be required as it is today.

In 2011, significant higher education legislation passed with my vote to create 1,725 more seats at Virginia’s four most competitive public universities: William & Mary, the University of Virginia, Virginia Tech and James Madison.  Increasing the number of seats available to Northern Virginia students at Virginia’s public colleges and universities is a top educational priority of mine. For this reason, I cosponsored HB 1083, to ensure that at least 75% of students who attend Virginia public universities are in-state. This bill was defeated in committee, but I am working directly with state universities on this issue.

 

Good Government

For the 2013 session, I introduced several bills related to improving the operation of government generally that are advancing in the General Assembly. They are:

HB 1890, which would improve the disclosure of government financial transactions on the Internet to create more transparency and accountability in spending your tax dollars. This bill passed the House and the Senate and was signed into law by Governor McDonnell.

HB 1892, which corrects a provision in law pertaining to how the statute of limitations applies to certain sexual abuse crimes. The bill passed the House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor McDonnell.

HB 2019 would require greater clarity in the disclosure of local school board regulations on the Internet. The bill passed the House and Senate and was signed into law by Governor McDonnell.

HB 2020 would prevent tolls collected on toll roads in Virginia from being used for purposes other than to construct or maintain the road. This bill was referred to the Transportation Committee, but no action was taken.

As in prior years, I voted for a balanced state budget in 2012.

In keeping with a campaign promise, I introduced legislation in 2010 and 2011 requiring the House of Delegates to electronically publish the voting records of every Member of the Virginia House on the Virginia General Assembly website. The 2011 legislation was approved, and it is now possible to easily look up by Member name how a particular Member voted on bills and resolutions. Adding a feature to search by a Delegate’s name is fundamental to creating more openness and transparency of Virginia’s government. I was the first Member of the House or Senate to publish my entire floor voting record online. My voting record is available at www.LeMunyon.com.

In addition to keeping the state budget balanced, the General Assembly took a number of steps that I supported to improve the operation of Virginia’s government, including:

  • Consolidating and eliminating seven agencies and 25 boards and commissions that outlived their usefulness;
  • Reforming the state pension system for local government employees, including teachers, to ensure the long-term solvency of the Virginia Retirement System;
  • Approving a proposed state constitutional amendment to strengthen property rights related to the taking of private property for public use. This will be on the November 2012 ballot for voter approval;
  • Requiring local school divisions to determine and report how much of our tax dollars are spent on classroom learning rather than on overhead or other expenses;
  • Keeping state agencies from competing with private companies, which was the subject of an amendment I authored to the Governor’s government reform legislation;
  • Allowing local governments to stop unlicensed home contractors from doing business in Virginia, which was a bill that I authored (H.B. 1277);
  • Strengthening criminal laws pertaining to sex offenders, crimes against children, drug traffickers, and drunk drivers.

The House, but not the Senate, passed legislation with my support to facilitate greater information sharing between the Virginia State Police and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement when a person who has committed a felony is also found to be in the U.S. illegally. I expect this issue will be considered again in 2013.

In 2011, I introduced H.B. 2003 which required the Department of General Services to perform an inventory of all state owned land and buildings and update the list annually. This is the first audit of real estate owned by the Commonwealth in over 15 years, with the goal being to identify surplus property that can be sold to the benefit of the state budget. This bill passed and become law in 2011, and the inventory is ongoing.

 

Veterans

Virginia is fortunate to have some 830,000 veterans and their family members living in Virginia. To honor the sacrifices of Virginia’s veterans and active duty personnel in the state, I supported legislation to help make Virginia a more veterans-friendly state.

During the 2013 legislative session, the General Assembly passed several bills to benefit our veterans. Some of those bills are listed below:

HB 1906 requires the Virginia Department of Veterans Services to develop a comprehensive program to reduce unemployment among veterans by assisting businesses to attract, hire, train, and retain veterans;

HB 2175 authorizes the Governor to request federal funds to construct a new veterans’ care center in Northern Virginia, and requires the State Treasurer to issue a short-term treasury loan in an amount up to $28.5 million for the state’s share of construction costs;

HB 1461 clarifies eligibility for in-state tuition of current and former military personnel and their dependents, and grants eligibility for in-state tuition charges to veterans for higher education in Virginia;

HJ 551 would provide a real property tax exemption for the primary residence of surviving spouses of members of the military who are killed in action. This change would require an amendment to the Virginia Constitution; and

During the 2012 legislative session, the General Assembly passed several bills to benefit our veterans. Some of those bills are listed below:

H.B. 253- Expands the hiring preference in state employment for veterans to include the surviving spouse or child of a veteran killed in the line of duty;

H.B. 719- Allows a permanently disabled veteran to obtain at no cost a combined hunting and fresh water fishing license or either a hunting or fishing license;

H.B. 922- Expands the eligibility of the real estate tax exemption law to include primary residencies held in certain trusts and primary residencies held by a surviving spouse;

H.B. 933- Clarifies various aspects of the disabled veterans property tax exemption, including that a veteran or their spouse does not lose the exemption due to extended stays in the hospital or at nursing facilities;

H.B. 573- Honors our service members who have made the ultimate sacrifice by requiring that all flags at any building owned by the Commonwealth be flown at half-staff or mast for one day when any member of the United State armed forces, a police officer, or a firefighter who is a resident of Virginia is killed in the line of duty;

H.B. 1121- Improves claims service for veterans qualifying for certain benefits in the Commonwealth by increasing the ratio of claims agents to veterans.

During the 2010 and 2011 sessions, I voted for legislation to improve access to higher education and health care for veterans, and most recently, real estate property tax exemptions for disabled veterans and their surviving spouses. I have also supported legislation that makes it easier for veterans to get back to work when they return from serving our country, including fee waivers for veterans starting a new business. Governor McDonnell has signed each of these bills into law.

The House and Senate passed legislation in 2010 extending the lead time for getting absentee ballots to deployed Virginia service members to 45 days before Election Day. The purpose of the legislation was to ensure our Virginians in active service have the fullest opportunity to participate in the electoral process even when serving on the battlefields of Iraq, Afghanistan and other posts around the world. If you are a veteran or know of a veteran who will be unable to cast his or her vote in person in the next election, please contact our office. We’ll make sure they have the necessary information to know how to register to vote, apply for and cast an absentee ballot.

 

Jobs & Opportunity

The key to a successful Commonwealth is a robust economy and a pro-business environment. Our economy will grow stronger, but not by making government bigger. We cannot spend our way to prosperity and leave behind unimaginable debt for future generations to reconcile. Instead, we need leaders who will implement policies that unleash the potential of Americans to innovate and prosper through our free enterprise system, to make a better life for themselves and their children.

Recently, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce gave me an “A” rating for my pro-business and pro-jobs voting record from the 2012 legislative session. Also in 2012, Virginia was named the State for Business by Forbes and the Best State for Business by CNBC. Tens of bills passed during the 2012 session with my support, building upon those passed in 2010 and 2011, directly related to economic development and private sector job creation efforts, including the following bills:

H.B. 33- Encourages competitive bidding on transportation and infrastructure projects to make the most of taxpayer dollars, ensures neutrality, and provides that the 96 percent of the Virginia private construction workforce who are non-unionized have a fair opportunity to compete for projects funded with our tax dollars;

H.B. 585- Creates a small business investment tax credit program to encourage investment in small, local businesses throughout the Commonwealth;

HB 1102- Promotes research and development activity in Virginia by exploring and incentivizing job-creating domestic energy alternatives, boost Northern Virginia’s position as a national high-tech leader;

HB 1013 – Extends the current capital gains tax exemption for startups. This exemption encourages investors to risk their capital on Virginia’s entrepreneurs and create more good paying high tech jobs;

HB 551- Extends the telework expenses tax credit for employers through the end of calendar year 2015 and promotes non-traditional work arrangements particularly important in Northern Virginia.