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Focus on Fairfax
Jan. 25, 2019
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Last call! Don't forget to take a few moments to fill out my 2019 Constituent Survey. Your feedback is important as I consider how to vote on numerous issues. I am particularly interested in your input on proposals to allow casino gambling and sports betting in Virginia. 

Also, I'm looking forward to seeing many of you at my 2019 Town Hall Meeting with Senator Chap Petersen. The meeting will take place on February 2nd from 9-11 a.m. at Fairfax City Hall.
Update on My Legislation
This has been a busy week - with all but three of my 15 bills now heard in committee or subcommittee. So far, five of my bills have made it through the House and are headed to the Senate. This includes HB1743, which adds "proper drug disposal" to the list of items that a pharmacist may counsel a patient when presenting a new prescription. Research shows that over two-thirds of prescriptions are not consumed. Tragically, about 60,000 children go to the emergency room every year due to the accidental ingestion of drugs - which are often obtained in the home.
Also passed (and on a lighter note) is HB1709, which establishes a new license plate celebrating our Virginia State Parks. The license plate is a great way for Virginians to show pride in our excellent park system and to help fund outdoor programs.
As always, you win some and you lose some. Despite a strong coalition of supporters, my bill to require local school districts to provide alternative education programs for students facing suspensions (HB2387) was tabled in the Committee on Appropriations. While the "policy" aspect of my bill passed the Committee on Education, it did have a fiscal impact -- which is why it was referred to Appropriations. Virginia's constitution requires that we balance the budget each year, something that I take considerable pride in. However, as eloquently stated by Delegate McQuinn during the hearing, students who are suspended without an alternative have a much higher chance of entering the criminal justice system. So we pay now or we pay later. I'd rather invest in education than more prison spaces.
Early Childhood Success Act
A child's earliest experiences - and particularly those in the critical years between birth and age five - have lifelong impacts on their likelihood of success. Research confirms that strong families are the primary foundation for strong and healthy children. But that research also shows that children who attend pre-K programs significantly improve in literacy and social-emotional skills. And, quality matters! If you are interested in more details on the research, the Southern Regional Education Board is a great resource.
One of the challenges is that our current system of publicly funded programs is scattered among multiple agencies - including the Department of Education and the Department of Social Services. In addition, Virginia lacks a uniform set of criteria for measuring the quality of public programs. This creates silos and inefficiencies in program administration and makes it difficult for families to navigate the system and understand differences in program quality.
This year, I am pleased to be the co-chief patron of the Early Childhood Success Act (HB2458). This bipartisan measure (the chief patron is Delegate Steve Landes, a Republican from Augusta County) does three things. First, it directs the Board of Education to establish a state-wide unified system for early childhood education, including licensing, funding, and regulation. This will help to break down barriers and ensure the system is delivered efficiently and effectively. Second, it directs the Board of Education to create a uniform quality rating system designed to continuously improve the system and help parents understand their options. The rating system would be mandatory for publicly funded providers, and voluntary for privately funded providers. Finally, the bill establishes a fund to support innovative public-private partnerships with the goal of building overall capacity.
I am pleased to say that the bill passed the Education Committee almost unanimously (21Y-1N) and is now on to the Appropriations Committee for further consideration.
By the way, here is a flow chart showing the current method of delivering early childhood education in Virginia. Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words!

Have a wonderful weekend! Please plan to attend my Town Hall meeting on February 2nd where I will share the preliminary results of the constituent survey.


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David Bulova
Delegate, 37th Virginia House District
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