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Focus on Fairfax
Jan.1, 2021
Dear Friends and Neighbors,
Happy New Year! As we greet 2021, and all the promise it holds, I am grateful for the long hours of work, courage, and countless acts of kindness by so many people that got us through an extremely challenging year. Thank you!
It is hard to believe that the start of the 2021 General Assembly session is now less than two weeks away. When the gavel drops on January 13, the House of Delegates will again be meeting virtually. While I wish we could meet in person, thanks to our incredible IT staff, the legislative process is actually more transparent and accessible than ever before. All committee and subcommittee meetings will be live-streamed and people will have the ability to speak on bills without coming to Richmond. Information on all upcoming meetings can be found on the General Assembly website.
COVID-19 Vaccine Information
I have received several questions about the status of COVID-19 vaccine distribution. This is being handled through the Virginia Department of Health Unified Command. The first vaccines arrived in December and are being administered to healthcare workers and residents of long-term care facilities (phase 1a). The next two phases include frontline essential workers and people over age 75 (phase 1b) and people age 65-74 and individuals age 16-64 with underlying medical conditions (phase 1c). Virginians who do not fall into the phase 1 priority categories will be offered the vaccine when it is more widely available. 

The Virginia Department of Health and Fairfax County websites have additional details. Of course, please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions.
Pre-Session Public Hearing
While this is a short session (30 days), there are still many important issues to debate. Your Fairfax delegation wants to hear what is important to you! We will host a virtual public forum on Saturday, January 9 starting at 9:00 a.m. Each speaker will be allocated two minutes and may either join live by phone or submit video testimony. To address the delegation, residents must pre-register. Registration will begin Monday, January 4 and run through Wednesday, January 6. The total number of speakers will be limited to the first 70 people. The hearing will be televised live on Fairfax County Television Channel 16 (Channel 1016 in HD on Cox; Channel 16 on Verizon or Comcast), and can also be viewed on-line through the Channel 16 stream.
2021 Budget
One of the bright spots of 2020 for me was being appointed to the Appropriations Committee. While dealing with a $2.8 billion COVID-driven revenue shortfall wasn't a great way to start, I have genuinely enjoyed getting into the weeds of ensuring that we balance our state budget and maintain our AAA bond rating.
In Virginia, we have a biennial budget - which was adopted during the 2020 session and covers FY2021-FY2022. The Governor now gets first crack at proposing amendments for consideration during the 2021 session. The good news is that revenue is $1.2 billion ahead of what was originally forecasted. So while we haven't fully recovered, we are in a position to restore some of the cuts made at the beginning of the pandemic.
Here are a couple of highlights proposed by the Governor:
  • $650 million to increase reserves. This is essential to ensure we have the resources to deal with unanticipated challenges.
  • $100 million to reduce unfunded liabilities in the Virginia Retirement System. This is sound fiscal policy and will help make sure that our public servants can rely on future benefits.
  • $25 million for the Housing Trust Fund. This builds on the previously allocated amount of $85 million. The Housing Trust Fund has been critical to helping those who are struggling to keep a roof over their head during the pandemic.
  • $30 million to restore financial aid at public colleges and universities. This includes the Get a Skill, Get a Job, Give Back (G3) program, which is designed to help people get job skills training in high-need fields through our community colleges.
  • $500 million over two years to stabilize public education and increase access to early childhood education for at-risk children. The budget also includes a 2% bonus for instructional and support positions. If revenue continues to improve, a priority of the Governor (and mine) is to turn that into a permanent pay raise.
  • $16.7 million to update the state's voter registration system with a focus on security from cyber-attacks.
  • $90 million to support vaccination efforts, including supplies, staffing, and other infrastructure.
  • $2.5 million to expand services for pregnant women and new mothers. Maternal and neonatal mortality rates have changed little since 2004, with Black mothers twice as likely to die from complications from pregnancy.
  • $20 million to support and implement additional criminal justice system reforms.
  • $12 million for water quality, air quality, and land conservation initiatives, including coastal resiliency in the face of sea level rise.
The entire budget has been introduced as House Bill 1800. The Appropriations Committee will be holding virtual public hearings on the Governor's proposed amendments on January 6 starting at 10:00 a.m. More information about how to watch or to register to speak can be found at the Appropriations Committee website.
Of course, while the Governor make the initial proposals, it is up to the General Assembly to adopt amendments as it sees fit. I am working on about a dozen or so amendments and will provide details in my next newsletter.
As always, I look forward to your thoughts and feedback! In the next few weeks, please watch out for my 2021 Constituent Survey as well as the date for my annual (and this year, virtual) Town Hall meeting with Senator Chap Petersen.
It is an honor to represent you. Wishing you and your family a year filled with peace and joy.


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David Bulova
Delegate, 37th Virginia House District
© 2020 David Bulova
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Delegate David Bulova
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Fairfax, VA 22031
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