Petersen Senate Sentinel: Keeping Score in Richmond

Friends, Virginians, Citizens of Fairfax:

On Tuesday, the Senate lost one of its most treasured, honorable, and shiny members: The Massey Cancer Center trophy which is awarded to the winner of the annual House-Senate basketball game.

The House won the game 31-17. The sole redeeming moment was a late game three-point basket by yours truly, which apparently covered the spread.

When not playing hoops, we've been busy down in Richmond. Here's how my legislation is faring.

My "refund restoration" bill for electricity consumers (SB 1095) was defeated 12-2 despite backing from the AG's office and consumer groups. Therefore, Virginians will continue to overpay for power.

My bill to establish a five cent fee on plastic bags – the proceeds going to help protect the Chesapeake Bay – also went down 10 to 4 in the Senate Finance Committee. That's a one point improvement from last year.

SB 923, which increases the felony larceny threshold from $250 to $500, passed the full Senate by a score of 28-12 after being rolled into a similar bill carried by my law partner Scott Surovell. That's a win.

My campaign finance bill (SB 1093) limiting an individual donations in state and local races to $10,000 per election cycle had a tough time in the Senate Privileges and Elections Committee, finishing with a 4 to 10 loss.

But college students scored big in the Education and Heath Committee, which passed my bill to require Virginia public colleges and universities to give a 30-day notice before increasing tuition. Big win. 15 to nothing.

Also, my perennial effort for the Senate to establish an online video archive scored an unexpected upset. I had filed a 2017 budget amendment to make it happen, and days later there it was – right on the Senate website. Winner.

Next week there will be more chances to play. I've got a bill protecting home-based businesses like licensed daycare providers. I have a bill protecting citizens from intrusive government surveillance. And I have a bill which will save Dominion Virginia Power a lot of money (so they should like it)!

JCP Notes: Session is short this year, so crossover (when my bills are sent to the House) is coming up fast. February 7th. If you support what I'm working on, please let me know. And if you are tracking a bill and want to testify, contact Kathy and come on down. I need all the help I can get.

During session you can reach my office at Kathy@FairfaxSenator.com. Our room number is 329. Our office phone number during session is 804-698-7534.

Let us know how we can represent you better.

– Chap