Monday, February 6, 2012

Greetings from Richmond

"If we ever forget that we are One Nation Under God, then we will be a nation gone under."

Ronald Reagan
Delegate Brenda Pogge Newsletter
96th District, Virginia House of Delegates               February 6, 2012

Dear Robert Bruce,

Greetings from Richmond! We are three weeks into the session and fast approaching crossover. Crossover is when the House of Delegates shifts all of the bills that we have passed over to the Senate and vice-versa. Generally after crossover takes place, we in the House take on a lighter workload, because our 100 members have a tendency to file at least twice as many bills as the 40 members of the Senate. After all of our bills have been vetted in the subcommittee and full committee process, we usually are left with approximately one third of the original bills filed. The same holds true for the Senate.


This week, all of the committees are winding down and all of the bills that have made it out are now coming to the House floor, which gives me a little bit of a break in my usually busy afternoon committee schedule. It also means that our floor sessions often go longer.


In addition to the three committees I have served on since being elected in 2007 (Agriculture, Natural Resources and the Chesapeake Bay; Health, Welfare and Institutions; and Education), this year I was assigned to the Finance Committee. Finance generally oversees tax revenues that affect the Commonwealth.  This has increased my workload somewhat because it also means an additional subcommittee, giving me four committees and five subs.  I must admit that it can be very satisfying serving with committee members who for the most part share my aversion to tax increases!


After last November's election, 16 new members were added to the House. That changed my seniority from number 67 down to 54. To my surprise, I am now the senior Republican Delegate from the Peninsula!  Because of my new found seniority, I was offered two subcommittee chairmanships, one on Health and one on Education.  I was reluctant to say no, but I felt that I had to turn them down because with serving on four committees there are several days when I have overlapping meetings and I would not be able to fulfill my responsibilities. This year I have also been asked to be a Floor Whip which I readily agreed to...that has proven to be very interesting.  I look forward to serving as a subcommittee chair next term when the freshmen from this class can begin to pick up extra committee assignments and I can go back to serving on three committees.


I am sure you are aware of the changes that were made to the makeup of the House and Senate due to last year's election. Both saw an increase in their Republican delegations.

The House went from a majority of 62-38 to 68-32 which constitutes the largest Republican majority in the history of the House, largely due to the leadership of Speaker Bill Howell. The Senate now has a 50-50 split, with the tie going to Lt. Governor Bill Bolling.  For only the second time since Reconstruction, Republicans are in control of the Senate.  Governor McDonnell, whose approval rating is 66%, should have little trouble getting most of his legislative agenda passed.


We have focused this year on streamlining government, cutting back regulations and creating jobs. No tax increases have been included in the budget and we aim to keep it that way. The budget will be difficult to hammer out because constitutionally that is one area where the Lt. Governor cannot break a tie. That will be an interesting arm wrestling match. For those of you who have worries concerning the budget, you probably know by now that the proposed budget is just that, a proposal. I have never seen a budget yet that was passed out the way it came in. While the House and Senate committees are working hard, it will be a few weeks until they each unveil their amended versions and then the negotiations will begin. In a recent briefing, I was please to see that there were several million dollars of captured savings added into the proposed budget that came from a bill I filed last year concerning a generic prescription drug formulary utilized for state agencies.


Some of the bills I have introduced this session that have cleared the House include:


HB 382 - A bill that would permit school divisions that have purchased customized technology devices for disabled children, to transfer them with the child when they leave the school, either by donation, sale, or loan. There was no language in the code allowing the divisions to dispose of these devices and most of the time they sat in a warehouse until they became obsolete or were cannibalized.


HB 381 - A simple bill from the administration to allow folks who register their boats for three years to truly get their three years by moving the re-registration from the first day of the 36th month to the last day of the month. It's a simple technical fix but in my district it means a lot less folks will be ticketed for letting their registrations expire.


HB 1208 - A small clarifying change in the code to make the homeschool application process consistent across the state.


HB 375 - A bill that would establish that local governments cannot enact workplace rules that would prohibit their own employees from storing lawfully possessed firearms in their personal locked vehicles while they are at work. Currently, localities have no such 2nd amendment authority over the general public. 


That about wraps it up for this update, I'll write again at crossover, so stay tuned. As always, you know that you have a standing invitation to visit me in Richmond, my door is always open.





Delegate Brenda Pogge


PS  I have been selected to chair the Resolution Committee at the Republican State Convention this year.  If you have ideas for resolution, please feel free to contact me.



Contact Info

delegate business:
phone: 757-223-9690
During session, call: 804-698-1096

National Debt Clock:

mail to:

Delegate Brenda Pogge
P.O. Box 1386
Yorktown, VA  23692

during session:

Delegate Brenda Pogge
General Assembly Building
P.O. Box 406
Richmond, VA  23218

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Brenda Pogge for Delegate | P.O. Box 1386 | Yorktown | VA | 23692

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