Wrapping up this year’s session

Published 5:23 pm Tuesday, March 22, 2016

This session flew by faster than in the past. I was focused on major legislation and my role as a leader on the budget which kept me from looking at the calendar, sometimes even forgetting what day of the week it was. I will share some of the legislation I had drafted that was successful and might be of interest.

I sponsored legislation that would allow our localities to hire, on a part-time basis, non-teachers to help our young people to better prepare for skilled jobs.

My workforce legislation from the last several years finally has gotten past the House opponents and, not only has passed, but we were successfully able to get reasonable funding for it.

The final version transforms our community colleges to true centers of workforce training with a focus on faster training as well as quality and independent certification of that training.

Research at our universities is important for Virginia. A proposal that I had had drafted was the model for the legislation that passed, creating a research pool in which our research universities could compete.

Awards will be based on finding researchers willing to move their research into products that can be manufactured in Virginia.

Each of my approved items will enhance Virginia as a good place to do business.  In addition, we worked with the business community to develop a plan to encourage localities to work more regionally.

This effort called Growth Opportunity (GO) Virginia works in two ways. The first provides grants to regional proposals which have been brought forward by regional boards that include business, government and education leaders.

The second was the part that I sponsored.

My portion of GO will return part of the income tax derived from joint job creation between two localities when $1 million dollars are invested that creates at least 25 jobs.

Frank Ruff, a Republican, represents Lunenburg County in the Virginia Senate. His email address is Sen.Ruff@verizon.net.