Tammy Mulchi: Crossover is finally here

Published 12:00 pm Thursday, February 15, 2024

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After weeks of hard work, we have finally crossed the halfway point in the General Assembly. But make no mistake, we are about to get much busier. On Tuesday, Feb. 13, we experienced the long-awaited “Crossover.” This is when all bills in both the House and the Senate must be voted on if they have a hope of becoming law. Afterward, all Senate bills will “cross over” to the House and vice-versa, where the legislative process will start all over again. This will certainly lead to some very long session nights. 

We had a long week, but we accomplished a significant amount of work in that time. One bipartisan bill that recently passed out of the Senate, that I was happy to support, was SB 384. This legislation aims to increase penalties for individuals engaged in human smuggling, as well as for those whose actions, while involved in human smuggling, lead to other crimes such as human trafficking, commercial sex trafficking, or other heinous crimes. Unfortunately, some Democrats deemed it appropriate to oppose this common-sense piece of legislation, but it did pass with strong bipartisan support. 

Additionally, a bill will come forward to the Senate floor very soon, SB 712, that I voted against in committee that could make many hunters guilty of trespassing for retrieving their hunting dog while out hunting. It will also make a person guilty of a Class 3 misdemeanor if they release a dog on or within 15 feet of the edge of a roadway owned or maintained by VDOT. On some of our two-lane rural highways, this would mean you would be guilty of pulling up to your own property to unload your dogs and take them for a walk. 

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I know that this issue is very important to the citizens of rural Virginia, so please keep an eye on it and if this is important to you, make your voice heard. I want to emphasize that representative government works at its best when citizens are vocal about the issues that matter to them. In the past week, my office has received hundreds, if not thousands, of emails regarding this bill. Other legislators are receiving similar messages and it has not gone unnoticed. I will keep you updated as the final vote is cast. 

I also hear the concerns of property owners regarding those bad apples that don’t abide by the hunting laws and the lack of Conservation Officers to enforce our current laws. I feel like this is a conversation that needs to continue so that solutions can be found for their concerns as well. 

One of my bills passed through the Senate this week that I was truly honored to carry, SB 704. This will rename the “Center for Rural Virginia” to the “Senator Frank M. Ruff, Jr. Center for Rural Virginia”. I felt as if this was a good first step to honoring Senator Ruff for his thirty years of service to our Commonwealth and his tireless advocacy for rural Virginia. 

Finally, this week I was honored to speak to the Civil Air Patrol where I accepted the honor of being named a Major. You are always welcome to stop by and I hope to see you here! 

TAMMY MULCHI serves as the District 9 state senator. She can be reached at senatormulchi@senate.virginia.gov or by calling 804-698-7509.