Getting things done

Published 5:31 pm Tuesday, January 22, 2019

The 2019 General Assembly session is in full swing now as the first pieces of legislation have already passed the House! This is our short session and things always seem to move so much faster during the 46-day session. This week our Republican Leadership Team delivered speeches on the House floor about our priorities, protecting taxpayers from Governor Northam’s hidden middle-class tax hike, and protecting our pro-business policies.

Del. Tommy Wright

Many of you have written and called my office asking me to oppose legislation introduced by Governor Northam which would have impacted your Second Amendment rights. I am proud to report Republicans voted Thursday to defeat these far-left gun-control bills that would infringe on the constitutional rights of law abiding citizens but will do nothing to prevent gun violence.

I am the chairman of the committee which handles all of these bills, and I am committed to common sense laws that protect people, but that does not have to come at the expense of our constitutional rights.

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Governor Northam’s gun control package included legislation to reinstate the “one gun per month” law, legislation to make it illegal to carry some weapons in some public places, and legislation that could make it illegal to own a .22 caliber hunting rifle.

Again, I am happy to report these proposals have been defeated.

I am however proud to support legislation recently introduced by my friend Delegate Bob Thomas. House Bill 2577 will lift the age cap for autism coverage and help approximately 10,000 Virginians get access to needed health care. At a news conference, Delegate Thomas was joined by Speaker Kirk Cox and House Appropriations Chairman Chris Jones who also expressed their support.

Currently, state law only says that health insurers must offer such coverage for individuals from ages 2 through 10. According to a January,2013 report from Virginia Commonwealth University’s Autism Center of Excellence, the average age of diagnosis in Virginia is between 6 and 7 years of age. This means for many diagnosed, they could only have three years of covered treatment before coverage could be limited.

No other prevalent health condition including– asthma, diabetes and cancer– has coverage limits imposed based on the age of the patient. Coverage for all other health conditions is based on medical necessity. I look forward to voting for this important issue when it makes it to the House floor.

This week, Judge Patricia West was confirmed by the House and Senate as the newest judge on the State Corporation Commission. Judge West is a highly qualified judge with the resume necessary to serve in this role. The State Corporation Commission regulates and oversees some of Virginia’s largest industries, including electric utilities, financial institutions and insurance companies. The SCC also manages all corporate filings – including the paperwork needed to start a business in Virginia.

The SCC is a constitutional entity whose judges are elected by the General Assembly. Like with all judges, we seek to elect people who will uphold the law as it is written. Judge West’s election to the State Corporation Commission means women will now hold the majority on this important court. Judge West has served as a judge in the Virginia Beach Circuit Court, served as chief deputy attorney general of Virginia, and served as Chair of the Virginia Ethics Council.

Currently, she is a distinguished professor of law and government at Regent University where she also serves as associate dean in the School of Law.

DEL. TOMMY WRIGHT can be reached via email at or (804) 698-1061.