96th District, Virginia House of Delegates                                           January  11, 2019

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Richmond Office 
Pocahontas Building
Room E306 *NEW ROOM*
900 East Main Street
Richmond, VA 23219
Phone: 804-698-1096
Fax: 804-786-6310
Legislative Aide
Amanda Batten
On Wednesday, January 9, 2019, the House of Delegates convened in Richmond, marking 400 years of lawmaking by the oldest continuously elected legislative body in the New World. From those first difficult years in Jamestown to the tragedy of the Civil War to the civil rights challenges of the twentieth century, Virginia has witnessed a remarkable transformation. To commemorate the milestones of the last four centuries, a series of events will be held throughout the Commonwealth this year. To view a listing of events, please visit https://www.americanevolution2019.com/. I encourage you to visit the site, find an event in your area, and participate in this celebration of our history.

As a lifelong lover of history, I am truly humbled by the privilege of serving in the House of Delegates as a representative of portions of Virginia's Historic Triangle. An ambitious project recently documented the legacy of the members of the House of Delegates, and I urge you to visit https://history.house.virginia.gov/ to peruse the records of the nearly 10,000 legislators who have served in either the House of Burgesses or the House of Delegates.

 I take seriously the responsibility of serving in the legislature, and I look forward to keeping you updated on legislation that is being debated in Richmond. 
Your looming tax liability
This year the General Assembly will meet in Richmond for a fast-paced 46-day legislative session. Because this year will also bring General Assembly elections in November, I anticipate a raft of legislation that will provide talking points for candidates on both sides of the aisle. 

One issue, however, will dominate our first week(s) in session: adjustments to the Virginia tax code. You've likely read articles elaborating on Virginia's tax "windfall" (read: citizens paying MORE in taxes to the Commonwealth). Governor Northam has proposed taking the excess payments and distributing them to low-income Virginians. Republicans have offered ideas for a variety of tax cuts to benefit middle class citizens. 

Legislators were well aware of this problem during last year's session. In fact, I carried legislation to address one aspect of this very issue. My bill would have allowed Virginians to itemize on their state return even if they took the standard deduction on their federal taxes. This bill and other similar proposals were left in committee with promises that the issue would be comprehensively addressed later in the year.

As you can see, that "fix" did not occur. Instead, we have entered 2019 with no consensus on how to rectify this unlegislated tax increase. To learn more about how Virginians are affected by the legislature's inaction, I recommend the following article: "Virginia on the Cusp of a $600 Million Unlegislated Tax Increase."

My top priority is addressing this issue in order to save Virginians from paying higher taxes. Please continue closely following this issue--your pocketbook is at risk!
HB2257: Dangerous Dogs-damages awarded
Residents of James City County and readers of The Virginia Gazette are likely aware of an ongoing issue within the community: a spate of attacks by vicious dogs residing adjacent to the Colonial Heritage neighborhood. After collaborating with stakeholders, I introduced legislation to address one aspect of this problem. My House Bill 2257 authorizes judges to require offenders (negligent dog owners) to pay the victims damages for emotional distress. I believe this legislation recognizes the suffering caused by negligent dog owners and imposes a more significant penalty that will act as an additional deterrent. Thus far, I've heard no objections to my legislation, and I am continuing to work with my General Assembly colleagues to ensure the bill's passage.

Senator Tommy Norment, who is a copatron of my bill, is also carrying legislation on this issue. His Senate Bill 1367 authorizes any locality to adopt an ordinance prohibiting the running at large of dogs in packs (with exceptions in specific situations). I am a copatron of his legislation and am coordinating with him as we shepherd our respective bills through the legislative process. While neither bill has yet been heard in committee, you can track the status of the legislation by using the links provided above.
Tune in online!
As a reminder, you can watch committee meetings and House and Senate floor sessions from the comfort of your own home or office. Click HERE and look under the "Video" section for details.
2019 legislative survey
My 2019 legislative survey is now available online! I take seriously the feedback from my constituents, and I hope you will complete the survey at your earliest convenience. Click HERE to take the survey. Results will be provided during the upcoming weeks. 
Visitors welcome
Just when I was getting accustomed to my new office in a new building, we moved to a different floor! I am now in Room 306E of the Pocahontas Building (address is located on the left sidebar of this email). Visitors quickly found my office, though, and on Thursday I was pleased to welcome members of the Virginia Federation of Republican Women.


As always, if you are unable to visit, you may reach me via email at DelBPogge@house.virginia.gov or by phone at 804-698-1096. 

Enjoy your weekend!
Delegate Brenda Pogge

Paid for and Authorized by Brenda Pogge for Delegate