Friday, January 24, 2014

General Assembly Update

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Norment News 

General Assembly Update: Week Three
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Senator Tommy Norment
P.O. Box 6205
Williamsburg, VA 23188
(757) 259-7810

Kalia Sokos
Legislative Aide  
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 January 24, 2014

This Week In Richmond 

As students around the Commonwealth enjoyed days off from school this week, legislators and staff at the General Assembly faced record cold temperatures and icy conditions in order to work for the betterment of Virginia in our Commonwealth's Capitol. Snow days and holidays are just like every other day during the General Assembly sessions. There are no days off or make-up days. With 2,300 pieces of legislation up for consideration this year, Virginia's legislators and staff were hard at work in the Capitol the entire week, admiring the snow through their office windows and celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr. by continuing to strive for the common good.


Our Former Governor and His Family

While there were many pieces of legislation debated this week, the focus of the media and the thoughts of many legislators were on the indictments of former Governor Bob McDonnell and former First Lady Maureen McDonnell. While federal charges being filed against a former governor and first lady would be big news under any circumstances, for those on Capitol Square the announcement hit especially hard.


Having known and served with Governor McDonnell since we first entered the General Assembly in 1992, I know this has been a very difficult and trying time for him, for Maureen, for their family, and for those of us who know him to be a dedicated public servant. For many legislators of both parties, the McDonnells are more than the most recent occupants of the Executive Mansion; they are long-time friends. This is not some abstract scandal, viewed from a safe distance through news accounts, but a list of serious charges being leveled against two people most here admire, respect, and know personally.


Although current circumstances surrounding the McDonnell family are sad and disappointing for the Commonwealth, Virginia continues to pride itself on having lawmakers from both parties who consistently maintain the highest ethical standards. The high caliber of lawmakers and the strength of our governing system should continue to bolster public confidence in the underlying integrity of our government. While people do make mistakes, our Constitution, the Code of Virginia, and the judicial system ensure that when errors of judgment arise to the level of violating the law or the public trust, appropriate action can be taken to remedy the situation.


While I sincerely hope that the charges filed against the former governor and first lady prove to be false, the situation has furthered my desire to continue implementing ethics reform in the Commonwealth. The four ethics bills, SB 649, SB 650, SB 651, and SB 652, that I have introduced this session have been referred to the Senate Rules Committee, and I look forward to updating you on their progress as they continue to move through the legislative process. 



Many bills were approved by committees and taken up by the full Senate this week.  I am happy to report that my bill on Park Rangers, SB 451, was approved by the Courts of Justice Committee and has been referred to the Finance Committee.  SB 488, which would provide legislative approval for the agreement reached between King William County and the Town of West Point that allows the County to continue using a split-levy tax system, has been unanimously passed by the Senate. Additionally, SB 449, which will modernize the transfer system for higher education institutions, passed the Senate and has been referred to the House Committee on Education. 


All legislation being considered during this year's session can be tracked on the General Assembly's website,


Due to Martin Luther King Day and the snowstorm, which provided an unexpected day off for much of the Commonwealth, we had a lot of visitors representing a wide variety of different groups and organizations.

* Donald Green, New Kent
* Emily Anderson, Williamsburg with NAMI
* Doug and Helen Hansen
* Pam Pouchot, Yorktown
* John Whitley, Williamsburg
* Mason Moseley, Yorktown
* Walt Latham, York County Registrar
* Tara Morgan, Hampton City Registrar
* Carolyn Greathouse, Williamsburg
* Christa Welton, Gloucester 

We are now here in our Richmond office and will be here until the General Assembly is scheduled to adjourn on March 10.  My legislative assistant, Kalia Sokos, is also in Richmond, and our office is in Room 621 of the General Assembly Building.  You can contact us by sending an e-mail to, or by sending a letter to me at Senate of Virginia, Post Office Box 396, Richmond VA 23218-0396.  You can also call us at 804.698.7503.

Very truly yours,
Senator Tommy Norment
Paid for and Authorized by Friends of Tommy Norment
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Senator Tommy Norment | PO Box 6205 | Williamsburg | VA | 23188

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