House Bill 1163 passed by 72-27 vote

Published 5:13 pm Friday, February 19, 2016

Colder temperatures returned to Richmond late last week as the workdays inside the Capitol got longer. As we pass crossover, the halfway point in each legislative session, the House and Senate have long sessions in order to complete work on the hundreds of bills.

This week brought very good news for all Virginians committed to preserving our Second Amendment rights. House Bill 1163, which will allow Virginians who possess a permit to carry a concealed handgun in other states, passed the House of Delegates by a vote of 72-27.

As a result of this, we are now very close to resolving the most serious abridgment of Second Amendment rights we’ve seen in decades.

Late last year, Attorney General Mark Herring announced that he was unilaterally voiding reciprocity for the citizens of 25 states who possessed valid concealed-carry permits when they visited Virginia. Shortly after that announcement, other states began examining whether or not Virginia’s permits would be honored.  The decision created a logistical mess.     

Clearly, the outraged voices of Virginians were heard. Gov. Terry McAuliffe, to the dismay of gun control advocate and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, announced that he would sign legislation reinstating the reciprocity agreements.

As chairman of the Firearms Subcommittee of the House Militia, Police and Public Safety Committee, I worked to get House Bill 1163, which I co-sponsored, approved.

The Senate also passed its version of the legislation, Senate Bill 610. Ordinarily, Senate ills wouldn’t be heard until after crossover.

But because this issue    is so important to so many Virginians, we fast-tracked the Senate version. It has already been approved by the Committee and is on the way to the House floor. Look for this legislation to make it to the Governor’s desk before we adjourn.

Our local fire volunteers and professionals sacrifice a lot to keep us safe. Providing them with the funding they need to ensure our safety has always been a top priority for me.

This year, I filed House Bill 1239 to increase their funding. The bill would increase funding for Fire Programs Fund, through which localities receive state assistance for their fire services.

The fund is primarily paid for by a small assessment of just one percent on fire insurance policies. My bill would have increased the assessment to 1.4 percent, providing much needed funds for this essential protection.

The bill has been referred to the Committee on Commerce and Labor, which deals with insurance matters. The committee voted to carry the measure over to the next session.

Last week, Ally Dendtler, Arianna Moore and Erin Perry from the Appomattox Regional Governor’s School stopped by our office. Sheriff Arthur Townsend and Major D. J. Penland from the Lunenburg’s Sheriff’s Office also came by, as did Scott Burnette, CEO from Community Memorial Healthcenter.

We had a lot of visitors from our local schools. James Abernathy, assistant to school superintendent from Lunenburg visited our offices on Thursday. Dan Grounard, superintendent from Nottoway Schools and Karl Cureton, board chair of Virginia Career Education Foundation. Taylor Reveley from Longwood University came by, too.

Del. Tommy Wright represents Lunenburg County in the House and is a resident of the county. He can be contacted at