Opinion — Safe students, Safe communities

Published 5:13 pm Wednesday, February 2, 2022

We’ve been hard at work for nearly three weeks now in the Virginia General Assembly, and we’ve already made huge strides for Virginia’s families. With the partnership of Governor Glenn Youngkin and his administration, and with hard work from people all over the Commonwealth, we’re putting decision-making power back in the hands of the people, where it belongs.

After a year of on-screen meetings and votes, the process is once again working as it should. We’re having robust, in-person debate in committee meetings and on the House floor, we’re taking into consideration input from stakeholders, we’re approaching each piece of legislation with careful and thorough deliberation, and we’re advancing policies that work for Virginia (and not just policies that get attention in the media or support a hyper-partisan agenda). That’s what Virginians in the 61st House District deserve.

Meanwhile, we’re looking toward the Senate to make sure legislation that moves the Commonwealth forward is making its way to the Governor’s desk. With a Republican majority in the House and a Democratic majority in the Senate, that means putting politics aside, and putting voters first. We work for you.

Therefore, we’re working to send the Senate legislation that restores public safety. For instance, H.B. 4, which I Co-Sponsored, passed this week through the House Committee on Education, keeps students safe by restoring required reporting for violent, sexual, and other serious crimes in schools.

We’re also working with Governor Youngkin to bring a new round of education innovation to Virginia. Just yesterday the Governor announced his plan to create ‘lab schools’ in conjunction with our colleges and universities to develop new and better ways of teaching the next generation.

Protecting our constitutional rights was another campaign promise Republicans made this past election year. The Second Amendment is one of those rights that I have always fought to protect. That’s why I Co-Sponsored H.B. 827 which will remove the authority for a locality by ordinance to prohibit the possession or carrying of firearms, ammunition, or components or any combination in any building, or used by such locality for governmental purposes. This includes any public park owned or operated by the locality any recreation or community center facility; or any public street, road, alley, or sidewalk or public right of way or any other place of whatever nature that is open to the public and is being used by or is adjacent to a permitted event or an event that would otherwise require a permit.

I’m proud to report our office advanced H.B. 435 which I introduced to help straighten out Virginias Parole Board. This bill provides violent inmates serving 10 years to life who are denied parole shall become eligible to come back before the board every three years, instead of once every year. Families who suffer from horrible acts of crimes should not have to re-live the same nightmare each year. This bill will give families and friends peace for three years. Currently, H.B. 435 passed Public Safety Subcommittee #2 on Wednesday and went before the Public Safety Committee Friday, where it passed by 1 vote to advance for a floor vote in the House of Delegates. I’m proud to carry this legislation. Together, Republicans are going to deliver results we campaigned on for a safer Virginia to live, worship, and raise a family.

HOME SWEET HOME

The Virginia School Board Association met earlier this past week in Richmond. On Monday, our office was delighted to meet with Chip Jones, superintendent of Cumberland County Public Schools, Virginia Gill who is the principal at Cumberland Elementary, and Cumberland School Board member, Dr. Christine Ross.

On Tuesday, our office met with Charles Berkley, superintendent of Lunenburg County Public Schools and Lunenburg School Board member Ruby Ingram. Later that morning, our office welcomed Paul Nichols, superintendent of Mecklenburg County Public Schools and Mecklenburg County School Board members, Wanda Bailey, and Gloria Smith.

Our office also enjoyed meeting Tuesday morning with the president and CEO of Mecklenburg Electric, John Lee; vice president of Member and Energy Services, David Lipscomb; Mecklenburg Electric directors Donnie Moore and Bob Jones and Mecklenburg Electric counsel, Jim Guy. In addition, our office also met with Mecklenburg County Treasurer Sandra Langford on Tuesday morning and ended a busy workweek by meeting with Mecklenburg County Board Member, Tom Tanner.

It’s a new day in Virginia. I welcome all constituents who make time to meet with me and admire all they do for their communities back home.

DEL. TOMMY WRIGHT can be reached via email at DelTWright@House.Virginia.gov or (804) 698-1061.