My top priority is the issue that unites us all in Northern Virginia—reducing traffic congestion and improving our regional mobility. This is the reason I am a member of the House Transportation Committee.
Current Transportation Projects
For a complete list of current VDOT transportation projects in Northern Virginia, click here. To see my September 2, 2014 letter to Virginia Secretary of Transportation Aubrey Layne regarding I-66 improvements click here.
During the last five years, I have introduced a number of transportation bills that have become law. The most well-known is 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 bang for the buck” can be selected for funding. Amendments I drafted to the 2013 transportation tax and funding bill (HB 2313) require that only projects rated in accordance with HB 599 may be funded starting July 1, 2014.
Other bills aimed at reducing congestion include HB 625 (2012) requiring better coordination of land use and transportation planning in Northern Virginia. This law was clarified and improved by HB 793 (2014 session).
Other transportation safety and quality of life laws I authored include:
HB 1885 (2013) to require VDOT to provide highway and local street maintenance information on its website;
HB 1886 (2013) to allow the police to ticket trucks that carry loads over the truck’s weight limit rating, or take them off the road, to make the traveling public safer;
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 is helping provide better oversight of an organization that needs it;
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.
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. I serve on the House Education Committee, including all three of its subcommittees.
During the last four years, I have supported record levels of state education funding for Fairfax and Loudoun County schools. For 2014-16, I expect the state will contribute more than $600 million and $280 million per year to these school divisions, respectively. (Fairfax has more than twice the student enrollment than Loudoun, which is the main reason for the difference.)
In 2014, the General Assembly passed HB 930, legislation reducing the number of Standards of Learning Tests (SOL) from 22 to 17 in grades three through eight. I was appointed to the SOL Innovation Committee established by the legislation to make additional reforms in the way student achievement is measured in Virginia. A copy of the executive summary of the initial recommendations may be found here: Executive Summary SOL Innovation Committee Nov. 2014.
Education laws I authored include:
HB 2068 (2013) related to improving reading and math remediation in schools;
HB 1889 (2013) related to keeping confidential certain performance review information in teacher’s personnel files.
HB 603 (2012) allows open enrollment within school districts at the option of local school boards. This bill is designed to mitigate the anxiety so often associated with school boundary changes. 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 other states.
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 legislation 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.
I also support giving local school boards to flexibility to start school before Labor Day. During the last few years, legislation on this topic has passed the House of Delegates by wide margins, but not the Virginia Senate.
HB 439 expands the state’s Whistle Blower Act to include all citizens of Virginia, not just state employees. This law provides protection from retribution when reporting waste, fraud, or abuse. Whistleblowers are also entitled to up to 10 percent of money recovered by the state as a result of their action.
HJ 96 establishes a two year review of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, which is the law that requires open meetings and citizen access to government records. This review will be conducted by the Freedom of Information Act Advisory Council. I am the vice-chairman of this council.
In 2013, I authored:
HB 1890, which improves the disclosure of government financial transactions on the Internet to create more transparency and accountability in spending tax dollars;
HB 1892, which corrects a provision in law pertaining to how the statute of limitations applies to certain sexual abuse crimes;
HB 2019 requires greater clarity in the disclosure of local school board regulations on the Internet.
Each of these bills became law.
Virginia is fortunate to have some 830,000 veterans and their family members living in our state. To honor the sacrifices of Virginia’s veterans and active duty personnel, I have consistently supported legislation to help make Virginia a more veterans-friendly state.
During the 2014 session, the General Assembly took action to permit military personnel to vote electronically when serving abroad. Two other measures of significant that passed in recent years include:
– Development by the Virginia Department of Veterans Services of a comprehensive program to reduce unemployment among veterans by assisting businesses in attracting, hiring, training, and retaining veterans;
– A property tax exemption for the primary residence of surviving spouses of members of the military who are killed in action.
If you have any questions about my position on these or other issues, please let me know at DelJLeMunyon@gmail.com.