96th District, Virginia House of Delegates                                          February 5 , 2016

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Contact Delegate Pogge

Richmond Office 
General Assembly Building
Room 403
P.O. Box 406
Richmond, VA 23218
Phone: 804-698-1096
Fax: 804-786-6310
Legislative Aide
Amanda Johnston
With another week behind us, General Assembly members are spending increasingly long days attending committee meetings and debating legislation on the House floor. As always, a wide variety of bills are being debated. From conversations with constituents, however, I recognize that job creation and economic growth are top priorities for Virginians. I am pleased to provide an update on several initiatives we are pursuing during this year's session.
Economic Development
Did you know that Virginia has spent $679 million on economic development since 2010? While most agree we should offer incentives to generate economic growth, we must safeguard taxpayer dollars. Ensuring a positive return on investment is imperative, and I am pleased that the House Appropriations Committee is taking steps to evaluate the efficacy of these incentives. For more information, please CLICK HERE.
Right to Work
Virginia is a "right to work" state, meaning that union membership cannot be required as a condition of employment. In addition to protecting workers from being fired for not paying union dues, right to work states are more economically competitive. 

Although right to work is current Virginia law, I strongly support adding the provision to the Virginia Constitution. A constitutional amendment further strengthens Virginia's right to work status. 

Earlier this week, the House and Senate passed legislation providing for a referendum on the November 8 ballot. This fall, Virginians will have the opportunity to vote on a constitutional amendment adding right to work to the Virginia Constitution. 
First Amendment Freedoms
Do you read consumer reviews when purchasing products or services? I do-especially in today's online marketplace. For this reason, I carried legislation prohibiting non-disparagement clauses

Non-disparagement clauses are occasionally included in consumer contracts with the intent of discouraging negative reviews. For example, a hotel contract may include language levying a fine on any person leaving a negative review on a site such as Yelp or TripAdvisor.

Thanks to our First Amendment protections, these types of financial penalties have not been found lawful. Unfortunately for the consumer, fighting the charges can be costly. My legislation, House Bill 666, would prohibit a contract for sale or lease of consumer goods or services from containing a provision requiring consumers to waive the right to make a statement about the good or service. My bill further clarified that any such provision contained in a contract is void and unenforceable.

Although my bill was not successful at this time, there is a silver lining. In December of 2015, the United States Senate passed the Consumer Review Freedom Act. This legislation also outlaws non-disparagement clauses. The federal bill must still pass the House and be signed by the President. If the bill passes, there will be no need for further state legislation. Because my bill was continued to 2017, I will be able to pursue the issue next year if the federal government fails to take timely action.
General Assembly visitors
Committee meetings kept me away from the office for much of this week, but I would like to thank the following groups who visited:

George Mason University Students
James Madison University Students
League of Women Voters of the Williamsburg Area
Virginia Association of Science Teachers
Williamsburg United Methodist Church

Martha Boneta and I prior to the passage of a House Joint Resolution commending her efforts and accomplishments.

Please keep in touch.
As a reminder, if you have questions about a bill or policy proposal, please email DelBPogge@house.virginia.gov or call 804-698-1096. If you visit Richmond prior to March 12, please stop by my office, Room 403 in the General Assembly Building. 

Have a wonderful weekend!
Delegate Brenda Pogge

Paid for and Authorized by Brenda Pogge for Delegate