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August 5-7, 2016 marks Virginia's annual sales tax holiday. Consumers may purchase qualifying clothing, footwear, and school supplies, as well as Energy Star and WaterSense products tax-free. The tax-free weekend also applies to hurricane emergency preparedness items. For more information about qualifying products and the tax-free weekend please visit the Virginia Department of Taxation website here.

The beginning of July is an important time for our nation and the Commonwealth. The 4th of July is on the horizon -- this coming week we will see parades, fireworks and the “unofficial” start of summer. Remember our children are out of school, so please drive responsibly in our communities. 

Another major date of note is July 1, the enactment date for most newly passed legislation. During the course of the year, we have tried to highlight the most significant bills that will have a major impact going forward. The Richmond Times-Dispatch also offers a good snapshot of new legislation. 

Metro has released the final SafeTrack plan to the public. SafeTrack is a "comprehensive maintenance effort that will accelerate three years worth of work into approximately one year."

The project will result in reduced Orange and Silver Line service beginning Saturday, June 4.

It's important to familiarize yourself now with SafeTrack and plan accordingly. The full file is available on the WMATA website by clicking here.

The Washington Post published a good article earlier this week with additional links and information. The article contains links to specific solutions and services being offered by Fairfax County, Arlington County, and Alexandria City. Click here to read the article.

If my office can be of any service to you please don't hesitate to contact us at district35@senate.virginia.gov.

There are numerous opportunities to hear about and weigh in on the Transform 66 Projects. Please see the information below from VDOT. If my office can be of any assistance to you please contact us a district35@senate.virginia.gov

  

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VDOT public information meetings for the proposed eastbound widening as part of the Transform 66 Inside the Beltway Project.  

Monday, May 9, 2016

Washington-Lee High School
1301 N. Stafford Street, Arlington, VA 22201

Wednesday, May 11, 2016
Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School
7130 Leesburg Pike, Falls Church, VA 22043

Meeting Times: 6:30-8:30 p.m. (Presentation: 7:00 p.m.)

More information available here

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VDOT public hearings for the Transform 66 Outside the Beltway Project

Monday, May 23, 2016

Oakton High School - Cafeteria
2900 Sutton Road, Vienna, VA 22181

Tuesday, May 24, 2016
VDOT Northern Virginia District Office
4975 Alliance Drive, Fairfax, VA 22030

Wednesday, May 25, 2016
Piney Branch Elementary School - Cafeteria/Gym
8301 Linton Hall Road, Bristow, VA 20136

Hearing Times: 6:30-8:30 p.m. (Presentation at 7:00 p.m.)

More information available here

 
VDOT has scheduled two public information meetings on the I-395 Express Lanes Extension Project:
 
Monday, April 11, 2016
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
(Presentation starts at 7 p.m.) 
Wakefield High School Cafeteria
1325 S. Dinwiddie Street Arlington, VA 22206
 
Wednesday, April 13, 2016
6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
(Presentation starts at 7 p.m.)
Francis C. Hammond Middle School Auditorium
4646 Seminary Road Alexandria, VA  22304
 
More information about the I-395 Express Lanes Extension Project is available here and here
 

 

The Governor continues to use his veto pen to put a stop to harsh laws that were passed by the Republicans flexing their majority muscle in the Senate. The veto list is long and I will lead the fight to sustain every one of the vetoes come April 20.

Link to the Governor's Veto List

Update - April 7, 2016

For those interested in seeing exactly where the money in the introduced budget goes please see below.

For complete details on the budget, please visit the state budget website here.

 

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March 10, 2016

Senate and House Budget conferees reached agreement on the biennium budget with a major infusion of funding for public education and higher education. This will help ensure the pipeline of workers for the jobs of the future. Our teachers and government employees will receive the pay raises they earned in their service to the Commonwealth. Additionally, undergraduate financial aid is earmarked at $48 million, which should help student accessibility and keep those degrees affordable. An additional $12.5 million is also included for the New Economy Workforce Credentialing Program.

Strategic economic development investments are embedded to grow and diversify the economy. In order to keep Virginia competitive globally, workforce development is a priority for this spending plan. Research and Development funds will infuse Virginia’s leading edge industries. Funding ($35 Million) for GO Virginia jumpstarts a regional collaborative approach to economic growth.

Sheriffs and State Police will receive raises to incentivize retention of these trained men and women standing on the line for us. Salary compression for senior employees has been addressed with a yearly adjustment.   Some $400,000 has been included for background checks at gun shows.

While not the panacea for the growing needs of access to healthcare, eligibility for GAP programs has been raised to 80% of the federal poverty level. To ensure our hospital viability, $16 million has been dedicated.  

This budget is sound, responsible and complements the work of the General Assembly these past 60 days.  It is a structurally balanced document that deposits $605 Million into the rainy day fund. 

 

The Free File program helps taxpayers earning less than $62,000 file their federal and state tax returns for free online. Virginia is one of 20 states and the District of Columbia that has put this service into use.

To access the Virginia Free File program, visit www.tax.virginia.gov/content/efile. For the IRS Free File program, visit www.irs.gov/freefile.

Additionally, Congressman Don Beyer will be hosting an event on Friday, March 11 at 10:30am at the Bailey's Community Center to discuss the Free File tax prep program available to eligible Virginians. All are welcome.

The latest edition of the "Richmond Report" is in the Falls Church News-Press. For a short clip of the column and a link to the full column please check out the Newsroom.

The region is expected to receive inclement weather in the early morning hours of Friday, March 4. Please see below for an important FYI from VDOT.

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MOTORISTS SHOULD USE CAUTION TODAY AND TOMORROW WITH SNOW AND RAIN EXPECTED
Check 511virginia.org for the latest road conditions, call 511 or download the free app.
 
RICHMOND, Va. – Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) crews are mobilizing in preparation for winter weather with the potential for accumulating snow and freezing rain in most areas of the state, with the exception of heavy rain in the southeast.
 
Motorists are encouraged to stay tuned to local weather updates. Caution should be used while driving this afternoon and tomorrow morning in areas where snow, slush and ice are expected. Anti-icing materials will be applied in areas where appropriate. VDOT will continue to monitor the storm and adjust resources as needed.  
 
Motorists should allow extra time to reach destinations, lower speed and keep a safe distance from other vehicles. As drivers encounter slow-moving equipment such as snowplows, slow down and allow operators the right of way.
For more information:
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Transform 66

GO Virginia