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Bills now head to the Senate

We are officially in the second half of the 2018 General Assembly session. Tuesday was “Crossover,” which is our “halfway point.” All of the bills passed by the House now head to the Senate for consideration, and we will begin considering all of the bills passed by the Senate. In this newsletter I want to discuss the many accomplishments achieved by House Republicans in just the first half of the 2018 session. This year we have been focused on passing “Practical Solutions to Everyday Issues.”

One of our biggest accomplishments in the first half of session was defeating $770 million in new taxes proposed by Democrats. Their proposals aimed to institute a new tax on Netflix, Pandora and Hulu and increase taxes on hotel stays and jet skis. They even considered an Uber and Lyft tax. I am committed to keeping taxes low so Virginia businesses can be competitive and families can keep more of their money in their pockets. These tax increases were non-starters for the House.

I will not stand idly by as we lose friends and family members to opioid overdoses. No one is immune to this addiction, and our legislation takes a proactive approach to helping curb this disease. On average, more than three Virginians die each day from this devastating crisis. The House Republican Caucus carried and passed seven pieces of legislation to help end the Opioid Crisis. One bill will create teams to review overdose deaths to better understand how and where they occur. Another bill will also help with caring for infants who are birthed by substance-using women.

Virginians are looking for leadership on health care reform. They want more transparency, better care and lower costs. House Republican proposals put consumers first by preserving and improving quality health care. The House of Delegates passed a bill that will end the practice of Pharmacy Benefit Managers (PBM) requiring pharmacists to charge higher copays than the cash price of the prescription drug. The bill makes it illegal for a PBM to institute “gag-clauses” in contracts signed by the pharmacist. This practice disproportionately affected elderly citizens who rely on prescriptions for lifesaving medication.

I have thoroughly enjoyed meeting with so many of you who have stopped by my Capitol office over the past week. This week we welcomed Ronnie Roark, county administrator for Nottoway; Dr. Rodney Berry, Nottoway County’s school superintendent; and members of the Nottoway County School Board, Helen Simmons and Gary Simmons. If you happen to be in the Richmond area during this year’s General Assembly session, please stop in and say hello.

I encourage you to keep in touch with me and my office. I value the feedback you provide on a continual basis.

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