His thoughts — Session update

Published 3:40 pm Friday, May 6, 2022

Last week’s reconvened session was unique. Not so much for the amendments and vetoes acted upon, but for the way the minority party chose to align themselves with some of the least popular policy positions in the public sphere.

Rather than give the Governor a win, Democrats have opposed lower gas prices and tied themselves to the Loudoun County School Board.

Wednesday’s floor debate and the ensuing social media action showed that the House Democrats are all in for Loudoun County.

Democrats didn’t even bother to make the linkage carefully, such as decrying the board’s actions but also the measure to call for early elections.

Instead, they cast themselves as standing with the School Board. Full stop.

Down the hall, Senate Democrats attacked the Governor’s plan to lower gas prices by giving Virginians a three-month gas tax holiday.

Roads in Virginia are worse than they’ve been in 42 years, according to Senator Saslaw.

Sen. Janet Howell said there is no transportation surplus, and that all the money — even unanticipated money — is needed for maintenance.

The fact that the committee is stacked heavily toward Northern Virginia doesn’t help.

Not only are Virginia Democrats taking money from hard-pressed working families downstate to fix their roads, but they’re also standing with a school board that covered up sexual assault.

I understand how hard constituents in my district are working to survive this record-breaking inflation. I will continue to support future legislation that places more money in your family’s pocket. It’s time for Democrats to get out of the way and let American energy bring down gas prices.

VETOES

On April 27, The Virginia General Assembly reconvened for veto session. I joined my Republicans colleagues in vetoing 26 bills sent down by Governor Youngkin.

HB 802 would have amended the Virginia Landlord and Tenant Act giving localities the authority to sue landlords in the same way a tenant can. If this had passed, the governments expansion in housing would have caused more problems for Virginians.

SB 706 would prohibit semitractor-trailer trucks from using cruise control and compression release brakes during snow, sleet or freezing rain with the intention of preventing another crisis like on I-95 on Jan. 3.

Yet, the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Virginia State Police have determined neither cruise control nor compression release brakes were found to have contributed to the traffic crisis. This bill would be nothing more than another burden on Virginia truck drivers.

HB 675 eliminates the authority of a health carrier to vary its premium rates based on tobacco use. Under current law, a health carrier may charge premium rates up to 1.5 times higher for a tobacco user than for a nonuser.

HB 675 would have demanded insurance companies to recover costs related to tobacco users by raising premiums on people who do not use tobacco products. The ability to reduce premiums by quitting tobacco is a valuable incentive to support healthier habits.

Currently, budget negotiations are taking place by both Appropriation Committees in the House and Senate. Until they come to an agreement, the rest of the General Assembly is waiting to be called back to vote on the budget. Rest assured; I will keep our strong conservative principles in mind with every vote I take.

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