Bills offered by Delegate Toscano
Most of the Virginia General Assembly bills have now been filed and they include eleven of my own. I have a great package this year and they include the following:
- HB899, which will allow persons over the age of 65 to vote absentee without having to provide any excuse whatsoever. This will allow greater ease of voting for senior citizens and hopefully will increase voter participation.
- HB935, a bill to extend foster care services to youngsters who would otherwise “age-out” at age 18. There are many youngsters who would benefit by remaining in the foster care system for a few more years after they reach the age of 18. This bill would allow them access to a wider variety of services designed to better prepare them for adult life. Virginia has one of the highest percentages of children who age-out of foster care; many of those do not yet have the skills necessary to negotiate adult life. This bill will allow those services to be extended up to the age of 21.
- HB913, which will prohibit discrimination, employment and housing on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
- HB 915, a measure that will allow localities like Charlottesville and Albemarle which have video-monitoring systems on school buses that record violations of unlawful passing of a bus to execute a summons for a violation by mailing the summons to the vehicle owner who committed the offense. There are an increasing number of drivers who are illegally passing stopped school buses, and this will provide an additional tool to penalize those who violate the law and deter people who might otherwise consider it.
- HB933 and HB936, two measures that will assist public school divisions. HB933 will keep school divisions from being penalized for taking youngsters who have been placed in their custody from out of their jurisdiction and who drop out soon after entering the division. In some instances, a student will be placed in the custody of the local Department of Social Services and come into a school division from another jurisdiction. They will then drop out almost immediately and the student is then counted against the drop-out rate for that division. This is unfair because the division has not had sufficient time and opportunity to work with the student and retain them in school.HB936 will provide flexibility for school divisions which have to address students with limited English proficiency, primarily among immigrants. The students may be perfectly competent, but because of language difficulties they fail math or English SOLs. This bill will give greater flexibility in how these youngsters are assessed.
- HB914 is a measure that will prohibit political fundraising by legislators during legislative special sessions. At present, we are prevented from raising money while we are in regular session. The rationale behind that is that we are dealing with bills that affect the economic condition of groups and individuals who provide us political contributions, and acceptance of contributions one day and voting the next on a law that benefits the contributor is not proper. We do not have such a prohibition, however, during special sessions when a number of significant pieces of legislation are considered. For example, we had a long special session several years ago about transportation funding and yet we were allowed to take political campaign contributions from the very groups that would be benefiting by decisions we were making. My bill would stop this.
- HB941 is a bill that would extend the scope of clean energy programs by including certain residential properties that cannot avail themselves of voluntary special lien assessment provisions that encourage the installation of rooftop solar collectors.
- HR75 is a resolution that commends the Virginia Statute on Religious Freedom and condemns the statements of prominent politicians who argue that Muslims should be prohibited from entering the United States because of their religion.
You can follow these and all other bills offered before the 2016 General Assembly by visiting lis.virginia.gov. Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to comment on my legislation or any other legislation before us this Session. My office number in Richmond during Session is (804) 698-1057.