Danny's Desk: News from the Virginia General Assembly
Feb 17, 2015

Bills of Interest

            Of course the biggest news of the week is the weather. By the time you read this we will all know what the “big storm” brought to each region. At this point we have 6 inches of snow in Richmond and it is 17 degrees. I hope that you have been able to stay safe and warm.

            This week I want to highlight a few of the many bills that have passed the House of Delegates and are now on the Senate side. I think that some of these may be of interest to you.

State Tax Refunds: Our office has helped a number of constituents who were not happy with being sent a debit card to access their state income tax refunds. The following bill, if it passes the State Senate will offer the opportunity for a person to elect to receive a check in the mail – the method that used to be standard. It will be the choice of the person who is owed a refund. This procedure would not go into effect this spring, but for refunds sent in 2016 and beyond.

HB1286 Individual income tax refunds; payment. (Patron: Ware – R – 65) Requires the Tax Commissioner and State Comptroller to implement procedures to allow an individual to elect to have his income tax refund paid by check mailed to his address. The bill applies to individual income tax returns relating to taxable year 2015 and taxable years thereafter.

            Medical Instructions: If you or a loved one has been released from the hospital and the instructions were not clear about what to do when you get home, this bill will be of interest to you.

HB1413 Hospital discharge procedures; designation of individual to receive information and instructions. (Patron: Filler-Corn – D – 41) Requires hospitals to provide patients with the opportunity to designate an individual to receive information about the patient's discharge plan, together with information and instruction about any follow-up care, treatment, or services that the individual may require, and requires hospitals to provide a discharge plan and information regarding follow-up care, treatment, and services to the designated individual prior to the patient's discharge or transfer to another facility.

            Second Amendment, Guns: There were a number of 2nd amendment bills dealing with the owning, buying and selling of guns. Hunters were especially active in calling us about these bills. One that many gun owners favored was:

HB2029 Concealed handgun permits; fees; background check; exemption for permit holders. (Patron: Wilt – R – 26) Provides that a licensed firearms dealer does not have to have a criminal background check performed to determine a person's eligibility to purchase a firearm if the purchaser possesses a valid concealed handgun permit and presents a photo ID issued by an agency of the Commonwealth or the Department of Defense.

           Veterans: A bill to help Veterans would give credit for training received while in the military. Veterans are highly trained and should receive credit for their skills as they seek degrees and certifications for job placement.

HB2354 State Board for Community Colleges; policy for the award of academic credit (Patron Yancy-R-94) Requires the State Board for Community Colleges to adopt, no later than December 31, 2015, a policy for the award of academic credit to any student enrolled at a comprehensive community college who has successfully completed a military training course or program as part of his military service that is applicable to the student's certificate of degree requirements.

And while we are still in the midst of producing a balanced budget, a special note for veterans is that there is more money in both the House and Senate budgets – an agreed amount of $1.8 million to support the hiring, training and retention of the DVS Veterans Service Representatives and the addition of representatives in understaffed locations.

We need to give our veterans all the support possible. We are told that this item is the number 1 priority of the veteran requests coming to us.

If you have a special interest in any of these bills and want to encourage your senator to vote in favor on the senate side, you can email Senator Bill Stanley at district20@senate.virginia.gov or Senator Frank Ruff at district15@senate.virginia.gov

 If you are not sure which state senator represents you, please go to the Virginia General Assembly website http://virginiageneralassembly.gov/  and select “who’s my legislator?” Put in your address and the list of your representatives will appear below the map.

As always, I hope that my 14th District constituents will let us know how you feel about the state issues that are before us. If you want to read or keep up with Virginia legislation, you may go on line to: http://legis.virginia.gov/ 

            We are currently in our office in Richmond located in Room 702 of the General Assembly Building.  You can contact us by sending an e-mail to DelDMarshall@house.virginia.gov or by sending a letter to me at PO Box 406, Richmond, VA 23218-0406, or by calling 804-698-1014. And, visit www.dannymarshall.com to complete our 2015 Survey (on lower right Homepage).