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Norment News 

General Assembly Update: Week One
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Senator Tommy Norment
P.O. Box 6205
Williamsburg, VA 23188
(757) 259-7810
district03@senate.virginia.gov

Kalia Sokos
Legislative Aide
kalia@senatornorment.com

Zach LeMaster
Senior Staff Assistant
Zach@senatornorment.com 
 
 
norment new pic
 
 


Joining the 
Joint Leadership Council of 
Veterans Service Organization
 


  Speaking with my good friends at Middleburg Bank
 

 
With just a few more boxes to unpack, we are enjoying the view of downtown Richmond from our new office. Join us through March 12 in room 626.
January 15, 2016

This week legislators traveled from all corners of Virginia to meet in Richmond for the 2016 General Assembly session. This year is a long session which means we will be in Richmond to discuss the budget and important policy issues for 60 days. On Wednesday, January 12, I raised my right hand for the seventh-time in my career and swore to uphold the Virginia Constitution. Standing in the footsteps of some of our country's founding fathers, I pledged to uphold our laws, traditions, and work to strengthen our state. It is an honor to again serve in Jefferson's Capitol, a building filled with the memories of so many great Virginians.

While the ceremonies surrounding the commencement of a new term can seem formal, there is also an understated simplicity to the proceedings.  We stand at our desks, raise our right hands, recite our oath, and begin our service to the citizens who have entrusted us with their votes just ten weeks earlier.  What our nation's founders called "republican virtues" still inspire awe, not by grandeur but by the relative lack of it.
Committees

With only 60 days to craft the Commonwealth's two-year budget and consider over 2,000 pieces of legislation, the General Assembly has to begin their work very quickly.  Both the House and Senate use a committee system to process legislation, assigning bills by topic to committees comprised of 13 or 15 senators.

In order for a piece of legislation to be considered by the entire Senate, it must first be recommended by the committee to which it was assigned. Shortly after being sworn in we approved our new committee assignments.

I have the distinct honor of serving as the Co-Chair of the Senate Finance Committee. In this Committee, decisions regarding how the funds of the Commonwealth will be dispersed are made - and it is a responsibility that I hold in the highest regard.  As Co-Chair of the Finance Committee, I, along with my peers, will be passing a comprehensive, fiscally responsible balanced budget that keeps the Commonwealth prosperous, and the best state in the country to live, work, and raise a family in.
 
Additionally, I am serving on the Commerce and Labor, Courts of Justice, and Senate Rules Committees. 

The Commerce and Labor Committee oversees legislation regarding the Commonwealth's workforce, business, and economic development.

The Courts of Justice Committee plays a crucial role in shaping our Commonwealth's justice system, passing legislation that aids in the discovery of truth in the furtherance of justice.

The Senate Rules Committee created and passed the comprehensive Ethics and Conflict of Interest bill last year, and will work this year on continuing its successes in making the legislative process open and transparent.

State of the
Commonwealth


On the first evening of the General Assembly session the Governor gave his State of the Commonwealth Address.  This is intended to be a report on the progress made during the past year and give the Governor the opportunity to discuss his legislative priorities for the upcoming session.

Governor McAuliffe detailed his agenda, much of which will be familiar.  There is agreement on some of the items that he will be focusing on, including increased funding for public education, programs to enhance workforce development, and initiatives to attract more businesses and grow our economy. I am looking forward to working with my colleagues in both chambers and on both sides of the aisle to accomplish these goals and in the process, bring thousands of new jobs to the Commonwealth and our community.

However, there are numerous issues on Governor McAuliffe's agenda in which I stand in opposition. One example is his continued desire for Virginia to further implement Obamacare through the expansion of Medicaid. I am opposed to this, as are a majority  of elected officials in both the House and the Senate. 
Legislation
The Affordable Care Act has usurped much of the Commonwealth's previous and long-standing authority to regulate health insurance, substituting "one-size-fits-all" federal provisions for local flexibility.  The staggering price increases experienced by many Virginians these past few years have left wallets thinner and our economy weaker. If the federal government has their way, most of us will continue to see our premiums skyrocket whether the policies are individual or employer-provided. 

I am proud to say that, under Republican leadership, the broken promise that under the ACA "if you like your policy you can keep it" has been adjusted. With the passage of my bill, SB 5014 during the 2014 special session, health care providers were given legal authority to continue offering plans in Virginia that were applicable to all regulations prior to the passage of Obamacare - allowing the citizens of the Commonwealth who want to keep their plans to actually keep them.

However, there is still more work to be done. That is why this year I am introducing a bill that will help our business community immensely. At the request of constituents in York County I have submitted SB562  that addresses health care plans for small and large businesses' employees. My bill will revert the definition of "small business"  back to its prior definition of a business employing 1 to 50 people, and a "large business" will be defined as one that employs 51 or more people. 

This change is important because "large employers" are able to offer lower premium rates for their coverage plans. By lowering the statutory definition of what is a "large employer," more Virginia businesses can take advantage of lower premiums, leading to better coverage at a lower rate. 

I will continue to provide you with weekly updates on the progress of my legislation as the session continues.  If you are interested in further information or would like to view a full list of the legislation I am introducing this year you may access it on my webpage.  
Visitors

Although our first week back in Richmond was a relatively short one, we have already had a great deal of constituents and local business leaders from across the District stop by for a visit. Among those who visited our new office in the General Assembly Building this week were:
  • The Honorable Heather Cordasco
     
  • Pastor Doug Echols, Yorktown Bethel Baptist Church
     
  • Pastor Bob Eshleman, Faith Baptist Church in Williamsburg
     
  • Susanna Owens, Virginia Academy of Clinical Psychologists
     
  • W. Taylor Reveley, III, President of the College of William and Mary
     
  • Eric and Ann Robeson, Bethel Baptist Church
     
  • The Honorable Sue Sadler, Supervisor in the Stonehouse District, James City County 
It was also Bankers' Day here at the Capitol, and some of our local community bankers stopped by, including Marhsall Warner of Chesapeake Bank, Leigh Houghland of Chesapeake Bank, Ben Ellington of Chesapeake Bank and Chris Everett of The Bank of Southside Virginia. Additionally our friends from Middleburg Bank joined us including Mike Maddocks, David Jolley and Gary Shook.

As always, we are happy to have lots of visitors join us at the Capitol. We will be here in our Richmond office until the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on March 12.  My legislative assistants, Kalia Sokos and Zach LeMaster, are also in Richmond, and our office is in Room 626 of the General Assembly Building. You may contact us by sending an e-mail to 
District03@senate.virginia.gov , or by sending a letter to me at Senate of Virginia, Post Office Box 396, Richmond VA 23218-0396.  You may also call us at 804.698.7503.
 
 
Very truly yours,
 
Senator Tommy Norment
Paid for and Authorized by Friends of Tommy Norment