• 77°

A week away from Crossover

It’s hard to believe, but we are already into February. We are just more than a week away from Crossover, which is the time when all the bills passed by the House head to the Senate and all of the Senate bills come to the House. The House has already passed several major pieces of legislation, and we look forward to that work continuing. This week I want to focus on several areas where I kept promises that I have made to you during my campaign and in recent columns.

Last week in this column, I told you about my commitment to protect the Second Amendment. This past week in the General Assembly, I stood up against the anti-gun lobbyist and helped to repeal a law that prevented you from carrying a firearm in a church. I believe you have the right to protect yourself inside a church. There was a law on the books saying it was illegal to carry a firearm in church; this week I made the motion to get rid of that law. I am happy to report that bill now heads to the Senate, and if they also pass it, I hope our governor will do the right thing and allow the law to be repealed. When you go to a place of worship, you shouldn’t have to leave your Second Amendment rights at the door.

I have also made a commitment to you to protect the rights of farmers and stand up for the agriculture community. This week I was a co-patron of a bill that protects the rights of agricultural operations. House Bill 987 prevents someone who moves next to a farm from bringing a nuisance action against that farm for any action the farm was taking before the person moved in. If someone moves next to a farm, they know to expect animals, heavy machinery and sometimes loud noises. It is not fair for someone to move next to a farm and then complain about the actions that the farm has been doing for years. This is a common sense measure to make sure the rights of farmers are not infringed upon.

Republicans in the House once again stood up for Virginia taxpayers Monday, killing a bill to raise taxes on hardworking Virginians. House Bill 1051 was introduced by Democrat Del. Vivian Watts and would have instituted a tax on streaming video services such as Netflix, Hulu and Pandora. This bill would have disproportionately affected millennials who enjoy these streaming services, as well as every family who enjoys a movie night together at home. Republicans unanimously voted to defeat the tax increase proposal. Over the past 15 years, the Republican-led House has defeated more than $30 billion in tax increases.

We have enjoyed meeting with many of you who stop by to see us while you are at the Capitol. This week we welcomed Jerry Conner, Cumberland; Lee Pfeiffer, county treasurer from Cumberland; Leilani Todd, David Lipscomb, Bob Jones and John Lee, all with Mecklenburg Electric Cooperative; Robbie Pecht, with Pecht Distributors; and Jeff Edwards, Kristie Martin-Wallace and Frank Rennie, with Southside Electric Cooperative. If you are in the Richmond area during this year’s General Assembly session, please stop in and say hello.

Del. Tommy Wright can be reached via email at DelTWright@ house.virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.