Blog - Glen Sturtevant

Special Edition - General Assembly Update

Message from Glen

Dear Friends,

The 2017 General Assembly Session is in full swing and our office is busy working on your behalf. There have been a record number of visitors to the Capitol this session, with more visitors in our first month than in the entire 2016 Session. I have enjoyed meeting with constituents advocating for many different issues facing our community. With only a week left to go, we are wrapping up work on some of our largest legislative priorities.

The General Assembly has heard testimony and voted on thousands of bills already during this “short” 45-day session. The Senate is now exclusively focused on bills introduced by Delegates, while the bills we passed in the Senate will be considered in the House.

Thankfully, we have already addressed one of the most important budget issues we faced going into session – compensation for state employees and state police. Virginia is facing a $1.2 billion deficit and as a result, automatic triggers eliminated funding for much deserved raises for state police, state employees, and some local government employees including teachers and public safety officers.

Ahead of the budget announcements, legislators in both the Senate and the House of Delegates agreed on a compensation package for Virginia State Police, local law enforcement, and state employees. As you will remember, when the budget deficit was announced, I sent a letter to Governor McAuliffe requesting across the board reductions in state departments’ operating budgets to save state employee, teacher, and law enforcement pay raises.

However, the Governor’s budget proposal included only a 1.5 percent “bonus,” which would not have addressed the major compensation and recruiting problems occurring around the state. I am proud that the Senate and the House of Delegates have come together to address this major challenge.

If you will be at the Capitol next week, it would be a pleasure to see you. Stop by our office in room number 318 or set up an appointment by calling 804-698-7510.


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2017 Legislative Agenda

This year I have focused on our platform of economic growth, meaningful education reform, and transparency and accountability in government. I have introduced bills to lower taxes, ease tax burdens on small businesses, make higher education more affordable, and increase the efficiency and effectiveness of state government.

Economic Growth

Of special importance in my legislative initiatives are tax reform and reduction. To help small businesses and grow our economy, I sponsored two bills to roll back and end collection of the unfair budgeting gimmick known as the Accelerated Sales Tax.

I also introduced bills to lower the individual and corporate income tax and sponsored two tax reform bills. The first bill would have capped and phased out over a 10 year period some of the commonwealth’s largest tax credits that benefit only a relatively small number of individuals and big businesses. The second would have assigned sunset dates to tax credits that did not already have them to help provide more accountability and oversight to these programs.

Virginia’s tax credit structure is in need of greater transparency and accountability, especially considering the $1.2 billion deficit that triggered automatic budget reductions and the canceling of raises for state employees. Thankfully, our budget proposals have addressed these issues to mitigate the negative impact on these employees in the 10th district, but we still have many tough funding reductions ahead.

The tax credits targeted in my legislation amounted to over $150 million dollars per year, with a relatively small group of tax filers claiming this large pot of funds. Reducing tax credits helps level the playing field while also allowing for across the board reductions for everyone.

I also submitted legislation to waive tax penalties for small businesses in their first two years of operation, as long as the business participates in a repayment program. This bill passed in the Senate and House and is awaiting review by Governor McAuliffe. 

Education

Ensuring access to quality education is one of the top priorities in our community. I submitted a bill to reduce the number of SOL tests students take from the current too high requirement of 29 tests down to the federal minimum of 17 over a child’s K-12 career. We all agree that standardized tests are an important tool to measuring student success, but over-testing our kids restricts teachers from teaching important critical thinking and social interaction skills in favor of “teaching to the test.”

Our office is also tackling the rising cost of higher education. I submitted three bills to slow tuition growth, reduce the cost of earning a bachelor’s degree, and increase accountability for rising costs. Families need to be able to plan for the costs of tuition, and rarely do their budgets grow enough to keep up. I will continue the fight on this issue until we see positive change.

Additionally, I sponsored a bill to require our public universities to establish consistent and transparent procedures for accepting dual enrollment class credits completed by high school students. This bill passed in the Senate and will be considered in the House.

Transparency and Accountability

Again this year, I introduced a bill to require local governments and school boards to publish their check registers online for public viewing. This important transparency measure passed in the Senate with bipartisan support, but the House of Delegates killed the bill after highly paid lobbyists for local governments targeted the bill to keep this public information under wraps. You can read more about this bill by clicking here.

To ensure that state government runs responsibly, I introduced a bill to authorize efficiency and effectiveness reviews from consulting firms in order to better identify areas where state government can be more productive while saving money. Past audits, like VDOT’s audit that found $1 billion in unused funds, have generated significant savings. I am happy to report that this bill  passed in the Senate and in the House of Delegates’ Committee on Rules.

Other Bills

Finally, I sponsored a few additional bills on behalf of constituents that will make a positive impact on our community. I was contacted by several nurses who had been assaulted at their workplace. Together, we introduced a bill that would extend higher penalties for assaulting a healthcare worker and convene a workgroup to create violence prevention programs.

Data shows that health care professionals in a hospital are 4-5 times more likely to face workplace violence than the national average for other professionals and about 21% of registered nurses and nursing students report being physically assaulted at work. I am proud to have supported nurses throughout the Commonwealth by making their workplaces safer.

I was also contacted by a constituent regarding injuries her mother faced while in an assisted living facility. Working with Delegate Robinson in the House, we created a bill that would increase the accountability of these facilities by reducing the fine cap for violations from every 24 months to every 12 months, thereby doubling the amount of fines that can be assessed on a bad actor.

Both of these bills have passed unanimously in the Senate and House of Delegates and are awaiting the signature of the Governor.

If you have any ideas on legislation to better our community and the Commonwealth, please contact our office.

To view all of the legislation I introduced this year, or to monitor the progress of any bill, please visit Virginia’s Legislative Information System by clicking here


2017 Senate Page Leadership Program 

The Senate Page program provides a unique educational opportunity for students to get a first-hand look at the legislative process. This year, the 10th District was represented by two bright and charismatic students, Oliver Buckner and Megan Beasley. Megan attends Albert Hill Middle School in Richmond and Oliver is a student at Midlothian Middle School in Chesterfield. I have greatly enjoyed getting to know Megan and Oliver and thank them for their hard work this Session. 

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Information and applications for the 2018 Page program will be available in the early fall. Please let us know if you are interested in learning more about the page program!

Visitors to the Capitol

I am excited this session for all the visitors who have taken time out of their busy schedules to visit our office during session. This has been a record-breaking year for visitors, who have come out in numbers larger than we’ve had in nearly 30 years. Multiple days have brought almost 5,000 people to the Capitol to advocate on behalf of the issues most important to them.

This session, our office has had the pleasure of meeting with constituents and volunteers from the Chesterfield and Powhatan Farm Bureaus, Virginia School Counselors Association, Home Educators Association, Americans for Prosperity, Virginia Nurses Association, National Coalition of Public Safety Officers, Y-Street for Healthy Youth, March of Dimes, American Heart Society, Alzheimer’s Association, 4-H students, OneVirginia2021, the Women’s Equality Coalition, Virginia Interfaith Center, Chesterfield Education Association, NAMI, and Richmond Chapter of Credit Unions, just to name a few.

If you are planning to visit the Capitol this year, don’t forget to stop by and chat with us in Room 318! We are always happy to help you coordinate a trip to the Capitol by arranging meeting rooms and Capitol Tours, and I would be glad to introduce you to the Senate from the Gallery during our daily floor sessions. If you are interested, please call our office at 804-698-7510, so that we can begin working out the details for your trip!

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I enjoyed speaking with IB Students from Lucille Brown Middle School in the Senate Chamber. 

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I was joined by my predecessor, Senator John Watkins, to advocate for our budget amendment to transfer the Beaumont Facility to Powhatan County for economic development.

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Doctors from the 10th District stopped by this year to discuss ways to improve healthcare services in the Commonwealth. I was happy to have their support of my bill to eliminate COPN permitting for Mental Health facilities.

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This session, I enjoyed an informational meeting with Home School advocates from Powhatan County.

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Nursing students representing the Virginia Nurses Association came to the Capitol this year to advocate for their legislative priorities.

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I was honored to present SJ 352 to Family Lifeline, which commends and celebrates their 140th year serving the Richmond community. 

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Students from Sabot of Stony Point stopped by the Capitol to learn more about the legislative process.

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Representatives from the Virginia Breast Cancer Foundation dropped by our office on their Lobby Day at the Capitol. 

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Students from Virginia Commonwealth and Virginia State Universities lobbied the General Assembly on behalf of the Virginia Association of Nutrition and Dietetics on the importance of healthy foods and lifestyles. 

In the News

Senator Sturtevant’s Legislation

“Protecting free expression for Virginians: it's common sense” – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1-31-17

“Bill to protect residents from defamation lawsuits passes in the Senate” – WTVR, 2-10-17

“Virginia lawmakers may make it harder for people to get sued for writing scathing Yelp reviews” – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2-12-17

"Small businesses may get break on state tax penalties under bill passed by House Wednesday" – RVAHub, 2-16-17

“Lawmakers target college tuition and access” – WTVR, 1-17-17

“Editorial: Why aren't politicians talking about tuition increases?” – Roanoke Times, 2-9-17

“Senate bills address rising tuition costs” – The Cavalier Daily, 1-25-17

“Senate finance kills Va. bills to control tuition” – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1-25-17

“Lobbyists for local governments and schools help kill Sturtevant's transparency bill” – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2-15-17

“Transparency bill mandating cities, school boards to put check registry online dies in committee” – The Virginian-Pilot, 2-15-17

“GOP budget leaders urge 3 percent raises for state workers, higher pay for new state troopers” – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1-25-17

“Va. Senate panel kills Sen. Glen Sturtevant's bill to cap and phase out historic rehab tax credits” – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2-3-17

“Proposed changes in Va. tax policy linked to state budget” – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1-28-17

“Bill would increase fines for noncompliant assisted living communities” – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1-16-17

Commonwealth of Virginia

“Editorial: One word explains the slide in college enrollment: Duh.” – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2-11-17

George H.W. Bush Carrier Group Deploys” - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1-21-17

General Assembly Building—After One Final Session—Will Be Demolished This Year” – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1-8-17

“Richmond’s Immanuwel Aleem Fighting His Way to the Top” - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1-20-17

“The Veil Named to Beer Advocates ‘Best New Breweries in the US’”- Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1-12-17

Chesterfield

"Coding high school to open this fall" - Chesterfield Observer, 2-1-17

"School Board taps Siddiqi as chairman"
 - Chesterfield Observer, 1-18-17

"Board Seeks to Increase Open Government"- Chesterfield Observer, 1-18-17

Project melds county history – and trees” - Chesterfield Observer, 1-11-17

"Military Times Honors Chesterfield Police"- Chesterfield Observer, 1-4-17

"Chesterfield schools superintendent: 'The state of our schools is strong'" – Richmond Times Dispatch, 1-17-17

Richmond

"Editorial: No, Richmond shouldn't be a "sanctuary city"' – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 2-16-17

VMFA acquires Romare Bearden's 'Three Folk Musicians'
 – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1- 18-17

"Potterfield Bridge saw 35,000 visitors in December, its first month open" –Richmond Times-Dispatch, 1- 18-17

Powhatan

"Jones named Superintendent of the Year" - Powhatan Today, 2-15-17

"Cobb Technologies raises $15,000 for local charity"
 – Powhatan Today, 1-18-17

"Board approves plan for memorial benches" – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 12-27-16

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Virginia Senate Update - November 2016

Message from Glen

Dear Friends,

Happy Thanksgiving from my family to yours! During this time of year, we are reminded to give thanks for the many wonderful blessings we have as a community and a country. I wish you an enjoyable holiday spent with your family and friends.

With 2016 drawing to a close, our office is working hard to prepare for next year’s legislative session. We have already introduced a few bills  and are putting the finishing touches on several more. To keep up to date with the bills I am sponsoring during the 2017 Legislative Session, please visit: http://lis.virginia.gov/cgi-bin/legp604.exe?171+mbr+S99C.

Last year, I introduced a number of bills at the request of constituents. I am committed to focusing on constituent requests in the upcoming session as well. If you have any ideas about ways that state government can work better, please consider filling out my 2017 Legislative Survey and sharing your ideas with me!

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2017 Legislative Survey

We want to hear from you! In preparation for the upcoming 2017 General Assembly Session, we have created a Legislative Survey that will help our office better understand your preferences and views on many important issues likely to arise. We greatly appreciate your thoughtful consideration of the questions and look forward to reading your responses. To participate, please click here.

In order for your responses to be recorded, you will need to provide our office with your name and home address. All of your responses will remain anonymous and we will never share your answers or any identifying information. This step is solely to ensure that respondents are residents of the 10th Senate District.

Thank you in advance for your willingness to participate in our survey. Our office is happy to provide paper surveys to anyone unable to participate in the survey online. If you have any questions or would like to request a survey by mail, please contact my Legislative Aide, Nikki, at 804-698-7510. 


 Forbes Publishes Annual Ranking of Best States for Business

Creating the conditions to help the private sector get the economy growing again and create more good paying jobs is one of my top priorities in the Senate. This week, Forbes published its annual ranking of the best states for business. Virginia was ranked 6th overall, with the 2nd best labor force and the 8th best quality of life.  Unfortunately, as we have seen in other similar rankings of Virginia in the last couple of years, we were ranked as also having the 29th highest business costs and the 33rd worst economic climate.

In their publication, the Forbes article mentioned, “Virginia ranked as the Best State for Business as recently as 2013, but higher business costs and declining economic climate have pushed it lower. The state ranked among the top two states every year from 2006 through 2013.”

We have a long way to go to further strengthen and diversify our economy and I am committed to sponsoring and supporting legislation to help get the private sector and our economy performing to full potential again.

This year, I will be focusing on legislation to get rid of job-killing regulations, lower taxes for small businesses, and make state government more efficient and effective. Our office is continuing to research new ways to lower the cost of doing business and create a better climate for business. I am excited to share those ideas with you as they are completed. 


In the News

Commonwealth of Virginia

“Virginia ranks No. 6 in Forbes magazine's 'Best States for Business' list” – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 11-21-16

“Court blocks expansion of overtime pay rule after states sue” – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 11-22-16

“Top five weekend events: Thanksgiving, Tacky Lights & GardenFest of Lights” – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 11-22-16

“A helping hand: How to give back – to those who need it most” – Chesterfield Observer, 11-16-16

“Rep. Dave Brat wins second term in 7th District” – Richmond Times-Dispatch, 11-8-16

Chesterfield

“Forty years later, Chesterfield Towne Center finds the right mix” – Chesterfield Observer, 11-16-16

“County names bridge for fallen soldier” – Chesterfield Observer, 11-16-16

“Chesterfield positions itself as an advanced manufacturing hotbed” – Chesterfield Observer, 11-9-16

Powhatan

“Powhatan Community honors veterans with local events” – Powhatan Today, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 11-17-16

“All Powhatan schools fully accredited” – Powhatan Today, Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10-24-16

Richmond

“Clary Carleton named Richmond’s Teacher of the Year” – WRIC, 11-11-16

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Virginia Senate Update - October 2016

Message from Glen

Dear Friends,

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I hope you are having a wonderful fall! Our Senate office has been busy with constituent meetings, community events, and preparation for the 2017 General Assembly Session.

On Saturday, October 15, Team Sturtevant and the rest of the Chesterfield Republican Delegation will be walking in the Midlothian Day Parade. My family and I had such a fun time at the Midlothian Day Parade last year and are looking forward to another exciting Saturday with our friends in Chesterfield. If you are in the Midlothian area on Saturday, I hope you will stop by and say hello!

I am thrilled to invite you to our First Annual Beer, BBQ, and Bouncy Houses fall festival on Saturday, October 22 from 2:00 – 4:00 PM at Extra Billy’s Smokehouse and Brewery located at 1110 Alverser Dr, Midlothian, VA 23113. Tickets are just $25 and include all you can eat and drink and unlimited fun for the kids in the bouncy houses.

As always, I hope you will keep in touch about any matters that are important to you. I am so thankful for all the constituents who have shared their priorities and positions on legislation and policies. If you have any ideas for legislation, or would like to advocate on behalf of an issue important to you, please contact our office at 804-698-7510 or district10@senate.virginia.gov.


2017 Election Deadlines and Information

I strongly encourage all eligible citizens to register to vote and participate in the upcoming election on Tuesday, November 8. The deadline to register to vote for the 2017 Election is Monday, October 17. You can register to vote or make changes to your address online with the Department of Elections’ Citizen Portal. Please visit http://elections.virginia.gov/ for more information or to get started.

If you, or a family member, or friend, is unable to vote in person on Election Day, voters can request an absentee ballot in person until Saturday, November 5 or by mail by Tuesday, November 1. For more information on absentee voting, please visit http://elections.virginia.gov/casting-a-ballot/absentee-voting/index.html.

The 10th District, which includes Chesterfield, Powhatan and the City of Richmond, will have differing ballots based on locality. Voters in Chesterfield and Powhatan will choose a candidate for President, the House of Representatives, and their preference on two Constitutional Amendment proposals. Residents of Richmond City will also have to choose a candidate for Mayor, City Council, and School Board. To find out what will be on your ballot, please visit http://elections.virginia.gov/voter-outreach/whats-ballot.html.

If you experience any problems registering to vote or requesting an absentee ballot, please contact my office at 698-7510. We are happy to provide any assistance to make sure all those who are eligible to vote are properly registered before the deadline on Monday, October 17.


Constitutional Amendments on the Ballot This Year

The General Assembly has referred two Constitutional Amendments to citizens for their vote this year. For your information, I have included the language and an explanation of both of these amendments below. If you have any questions about these Amendments, please do not hesitate to contact me for further information.

1. Should Article I of the Constitution of Virginia be amended to prohibit any agreement or combination between an employer and a labor union or labor organization whereby (i) nonmembers of the union or organization are denied the right to work for the employer, (ii) membership to the union or organization is made a condition of employment or continuation of employment by such employer, or (iii) the union or organization acquires an employment monopoly in any such enterprise?

Voters will have an opportunity to decide whether they would like to include a Right to Work Amendment in the Constitution of Virginia to send a strong signal that Virginia is open for business and committed to creating more jobs in our state.

2. Shall the Constitution of Virginia be amended to allow the General Assembly to provide an option to the localities to exempt from taxation the real property of the surviving spouse of any law-enforcement officer, firefighter, search and rescue personnel, or emergency medical services personnel who was killed in the line of duty, where the surviving spouse occupies the real property as his or her principal place of residence and has not remarried?

Over the last six years, Virginia voters have indicated their interest in providing property tax exemptions for veterans, veterans’ spouses, and first responders when the individual is injured or killed in the line of duty. This Amendment will allow localities to extend the personal property tax exemption, should they choose to do so, to surviving spouses of first responders who are killed while serving their community. 


 Senate Page Leadership Program

The Senate of Virginia is accepting applications for the 2017 Senate Page Leadership Program until Monday, October 17. The Senate Page program offers a unique experience for students to witness the General Assembly in action! Participants have unparalleled insight into the legislative process while they learn to be better leaders and more active citizens. Pages must be Virginia residents, between the ages of 13 -14 years old, and be in good academic standing.

Due to the volume of applications, all applicants must complete an online application for admission consideration.  To get more information about the Senate Page program, please click here: http://capclass.virginiageneralassembly.gov/PagePrograms/PagePrograms.html. I am happy to write letters of recommendation for interested students residing in the 10th District. To request a letter of recommendation, please have the applicant or a parent email district10@senate.virginia.gov


In the News

Commonwealth of Virginia

“McAuliffe budget cuts include 26 layoffs, set stage for new bid to expand Medicaid” - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10-13-16

“Breast cancer more than awareness month” – Richmond Times-Dispatch, Powhatan Today, 10-14-16

“New Virginia panels vow 'laser focus' on creating higher-paying jobs” - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10-12-16

“At Va. Capitol, evangelist Franklin Graham urges thousands of voters to think about the Supreme Court” - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10-12-16


Chesterfield

“Chesterfield school officials unveil plans for new Midlothian-area elementary school” - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10-6-16

“Unique change cuts wait time for Chesterfield residents seeking mental health-related services” - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10-12-16

“Roughly 100 people attend forum on changing school start times in Chesterfield” - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10-10-16

“Chesterfield touts $37 million impact from sports tourism” - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9-28-16


Powhatan

“New PHS principal settling in” - Richmond Times-Dispatch, Powhatan Today, 10-13-16

“County honors Employee of the Year” - Richmond Times-Dispatch, Powhatan Today, 10-5-16

“Powhatan supervisors, Del. Lee Ware talk realistic goals” - Richmond Times-Dispatch, Powhatan Today, 9-30-16


Richmond

“Five Richmond mayoral candidates to participate in televised debate Monday” - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10-13-16

“Richmond candidates focus on schools, transportation and river at Mayorathon” - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 9-29-16

“Blue Bee Cider grand opening this weekend at Scott's Addition stables” - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 10-13-16

“Ice cream shop taking over former Quirk gallery” – Richmond BizSense – 10-12-16

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Virginia received an all-time low ranking from CNBC

Dear Friends,

We received some bad economic news on Monday when CNBC published its annual Top States for Business rankings. In the last 10 years, Virginia has tumbled from the best state to do business to an all-time low ranking of 13th in 2016.

As Governor McAuliffe and other government officials continue to praise the Commonwealth’s economic performance, independent researchers at CNBC ranked “The New Virginia Economy” as 30th worst in the country. Virginia’s real gross domestic product (GDP) grew by an anemic 1.4%, substantially trailing the national average of 2.4%.

CNBC ranks states based on their performance in ten comprehensive categories: Workforce, Cost of Doing Business, Infrastructure, Economy, Quality of Life, Technology and Innovation, Education, Business Friendliness, Cost of Living, and Access to Capital. Our state performed 36th worst in the Cost of Doing Business category and in the bottom half of states for Infrastructure, Economy, and Cost of Living.

One of my main priorities in the Virginia Senate is working to create the conditions for the private sector to grow our economy and to ensure that the Commonwealth is in a strong position to attract new businesses. The CNBC ranking reinforces the necessity to make government reforms to curb excessive spending, keep taxes and fees low, and cut the red tape for businesses operating in our state.

Last year, I introduced several tax reform measures, including lowering the personal income tax rate, waiving tax penalties for small businesses when they enroll in a repayment plan, and a tax credit for all payers when the state has a budget surplus. I will continue to introduce commonsense solutions for bolstering economic growth and measures to allow Virginians to keep more of their hard earned dollars.

The time is now for us to get serious about smart tax and regulatory reform to grow our economy and create more, good paying jobs in our Commonwealth.

Best Regards,
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Glen Sturtevant

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Virginia Senate Update - July 2016

Message from Glen

Dear Friend,

Fourth_of_July.png The summer season is upon us! I hope you are enjoying the beautiful weather and the additional time with family and friends. My family and I wish you a happy and safe Independence Day and holiday weekend! If you are looking for ways to celebrate the holiday, check out the Richmond Times-Dispatch's Fourth of July guide.

Whether you're enjoying fireworks at Dogwood Dell or cooking out with neighbors, I encourage you to check out the American Red Cross's informative safety tips available by clicking here! Safety tips include fireworks guidelines, grilling practices, beach safety, and sun protection.

Our office has been busy participating in community events and meeting with constituents about important issues. With the help of small business owners in Chesterfield, we had a successful small business roundtable discussion on ways to help local businesses grow and prosper. I also attended the American's for Prosperity Path to Prosperity Tour in Chesterfield, met constituents at ChamberRVA's SummerFest at Sunday Park, and met with grassroots volunteers for Congressman Dave Brat's Volunteer Day. For a full recap and pictures of our activities, check out the Recent Events section below!

Chesterfield_Investiture.jpgIncoming Chesterfield County Administrator Dr. Joseph Casey was sworn in on Friday, June 17 and will assume his role leading the county today, July 1. Dr. Casey is a dedicated public servant who is committed to working hard on behalf of all Chesterfield residents so that the county continues to be a world class community. 


On Monday, June 27, the Supreme Court unanimously vacated former Governor Bob McDonnell's convictions, stating that "the jury was not correctly instructed on the meaning of 'official act'."  In the decision, Chief Justice John Roberts wrote, “There is no doubt that this case is distasteful; it may be worse than that. But our concern is not with tawdry tales of Ferraris, Rolexes, and ball gowns. It is instead with the broader legal implications of the Government’s boundless interpretation of the federal bribery statute. A more limited interpretation of the term ‘official act’ leaves ample room for prosecuting corruption, while comporting with the text of the statute and the precedent of this Court.” (Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-27-16).  For more information on the decision, please click here.


Economic Outlook Using Unemployment and Underemployment

One of my main priorities in the Virginia Senate is working to create the conditions for the private sector to grow our economy and to ensure that the Commonwealth is in a strong position to attract new businesses. During the campaign, you may recall my discussion of the unacceptable and stagnant economic growth rate. The Commonwealth's economic growth rate has improved only marginally since the recession and we still have a long way to go repair and restore our economy. 

I continue to hear from constituents who are concerned about the economy. We often are told that our economy is rebounding, but many Virginians still don’t see it. While Governor McAuliffe cites low unemployment rates, many Virginians are still struggling to make ends meet and are not yet seeing the signs of economic growth in their lives. Governor McAuliffe, among others, frequently cites the “U3” unemployment rate, a very narrow interpretation of unemployment that provides a limited snapshot of the job market. 

A more insightful assessment of our economy is the Bureau of Labor and Statistics’ "U6" measurement of unemployment and underemployment. This is a fuller analysis of our labor market, and includes those who are unemployed and actively looking for a job, working part-time instead of full-time to make ends meet, and those who have given up or been discouraged from continuing to seek employment. The "U6" measure of unemployment is still extraordinarily high in Virginia at 9.7%. The Washington Post recently had an informative article about how high underemployment harms our economy and masks societal hardships with seemingly low unemployment. Click here to view this article. 

Virginia's high underemployment needs to be addressed so that everyday Virginians can see the benefits of a strong economy in their lives. We need to make Virginia more competitive with neighboring states and in the global marketplace, reduce the regulatory burden on small businesses, and keep our taxes and fees low. It's time for us to get serious about smart tax and regulatory reform to grow our economy and create more, good paying jobs in our community.


Update on Felon Executive Order

Since news of Governor McAuliffe's Executive Order to unilaterally and automatically restore certain rights for felons, Virginia prosecutors and the media have continued to uncover more negative consequences of the Governor's action. 

By removing transparency, public input, and the legislature from the process, mistakes have been made and continue to be uncovered almost weekly. To be sure, many non-violent offenders who have paid their debts to society and their victims and have demonstrated contrition for their crimes deserve the opportunity at a second chance, but we must be careful to restore rights in a way that is legal, responsible, and that is respectful of the victims of the crimes committed. Governor McAuliffe's action that lumped all offenders together—including sex offenders, human traffickers, and killers—regardless of the type of crime committed, has serious implications. 

We now know that many felons still in prison have had their rights restored. The Washington Post found that 132 sex offenders civilly committed in Nottoway County had their rights restored even though they've been deemed too dangerous to be released from confinement. In Botetourt County, the Commonwealth's Attorney found three violent gang members in federal prison had had their rights restored (Roanoke Times, 6-4-16). Governor McAuliffe's response to these controversial mistakes is concerning as well – he took rights away with the stroke of the pen just as quickly as he had granted them.  From the beginning, this has been a troubling use of government power

The Virginia Supreme Court will hold a special session to hear the legal challenge to the Governor’s Executor Order on July 19.


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Brandermill Fourth of July Celebration – Monday, July 4th at 10:00 AM. The parade will begin at Swift Creek Middle School and end at Sunday Park. Following the parade will be a celebration with music, food, face painters, and more. A fireworks display is scheduled for 9:15 PM.

Independence Day Celebrations & Fireworks at the Diamond – Monday, July 4th from 5:30 PM to 10:30 PM at 3001 N. Boulevard, Richmond, Virginia, 23230. Come out to The Diamond to celebrate Independence Day with the biggest fireworks show around. Tickets are $8-$12.

Brandermill Fourth of July Race – Monday, July 4th at 7:30 AM. The 7.4k race will take start from the Clover Hill High School parking lot at 13301 Kelly Green Lane. The proceeds will go to the Connor’s Heroes, a local charity that helps children and their families while they receive cancer treatment. $35 for adults, $30 for youth.

Chesterfield Fourth of July Celebration – Monday, July 4th at Chesterfield County Fairgrounds, 10300 Courthouse Road. The gates open at 5:00 PM with fireworks at dark. There is limited parking and the roads to the fairgrounds will be closed at 8:30 PM. The event includes a play area for children, food vendors, and special entertainment. Free and open to the public.

Powhatan Farmer’s Market – Every Thursday from 4:00 PM to 7:00 PM at the Flatrock Village Shopping Center, 2470 Anderson Hwy (Rt 60). Enjoy the Powhatan Farmer’s Market, which offers fresh produce, baked goods, seafood, poultry, herbs, soaps, flowers, and more!

Bob the Builder visits the Children’s Museum of Virginia – Saturday July 16th at 10:00 AM, 11:00 AM, 1:00 PM, and 2:00 PM at 2626 W Broad St, Richmond, VA 23220. The Children’s Museum kicks off their Summer Series with Bob the Builder as he takes a break from building to meet with children and families! Free with museum admission.

Village Vibes – Friday, July 17th from 7:00 PM to 10:00 PM at Powhatan Volunteer Rescue Squad grounds, 3920 Marion Harland Lane.  Come out and enjoy a part of the Powhatan Chamber of Commerce Summer Concert Series, Village Vibes, with a special performance by a classic rock country band, The Illibillys. Free and open to the public.

National Parks Adventure showing in the Dome – Daily from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM until August 31st at the Science Museum of Virginia, 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. Explore and experience America’s wilderness through a virtual off trail journey of the nation’s national parks in the Museum’s dome theater. Tickets are $11 for adults, $10 for children and seniors.

Showing Stars in the Dome – Daily from 12:00 PM to 5:00 PM until August 31st at the Science Museum of Virginia, 2500 W. Broad St., Richmond. Tickets are $11 for adults, $10 for children and seniors.

Barefoot Puppets at Powhatan County Library – Thursday, June 30th at 6:00 PM at 2270 Mann Rd, Powhatan, VA 23139.

Rockin’ at Independence Concert Series – Thursday, June 30th from 6:30 PM – 9:30 PM at 600 Founders Bridge Boulevard, Midlothian. Come out to Independence Golf Club’s concert series and listen to a performance by Jackson Ward while enjoying food and beverages that are available to purchase. Free admission.

The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall – July 14th to July 17th from 9:00 AM to 9:00 PM at Blessed Sacrament Huguenot Catholic School’s Barham-Sowers Field, 2501 Academy Road, Powhatan. The Vietnam Traveling Memorial Wall is making a visit to Powhatan. Come out to honor the 58,195 service members whose names are listed on the wall. At 6:00 PM on July 14th a ceremony will be held, hosted by retired Marine Corps Major Clyde Childress.


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I enjoyed discussing important reforms essential for economic growth with constituents at the Americans for Prosperity's Path to Prosperity tour in Chesterfield.

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Thanks to the Albemarle Republican Committee for hosting Ed Gillespie, Delegate Steve Landes, and me at their monthly meeting!

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Congressman Dave Brat had a big turnout for Volunteer Day at his campaign headquarters! I was happy to support my friend Dave and talk with grassroots volunteers!

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I had an informative meeting at the Faison Center learning about individualized programs for children and adults!

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Supervisor Leslie Haley, from Chesterfield's Midlothian District, hosted an informative community meeting for constituents and stakeholders on the use of facilities at Robious Landing Park. Our office was excited to see so many passionate student athletes interested in Chesterfield parks and recreation!

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We had a productive round table discussion in Chesterfield with small business owners to discuss ways to help small businesses flourish.

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ChamberRVA's Summerfest was a blast! Thanks to all those who came out!

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We had fun at the Greek Festival, a Richmond Tradition for 41 years!

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In the News

Commonwealth of Virginia

"Hundreds of new laws set to take effect Friday" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-26-16

"McAuliffe taps Haymore to succeed Jones as Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-23-16

"Sex offenders who are still locked up may have won right to vote again in VA"
 - The Washington Post, 6-15-16

"Editorial: More questions about McAuliffe's order on felons" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-16-16

"McAuliffe administration prepped activists for felon voting order that surprised election officials" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-25-16

"Editorial: Conservatives: Not psycho after all" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-11-16

"Kaine says 'Don't believe the hype' about his vice presidential chances" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-26-16

Chesterfield

"Chesterfield County: 4th Fastest Job-Growth of Counties in the U.S.A." - Chesterfield Business News, 6-9-16

"At swearing-in, Chesterfield's new administrator pledges to hold himself to high standards" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-17-16

"James Lane sworn in as superintendent" - Chesterfield Observer, 6-29-16

"Local firm unlocks new HQ" - Richmond BizSense, 6-23-16

"Lost in the Village: As Wegmans reshuffles traffic, Sycamore Square struggles to fit in" - Chesterfield Observer, 6-15-16

"Grimaldi’s tests its appetite for Richmond" - Richmond BizSense, 6-21-16

"Brandermill tosses cold water on sports park: Community seeks to delay adventure park off Genito" - Chesterfield Observer, 6-25-16


Powhatan

"Flat Rock celebrates with Mini-Relay for Life" - Powhatan Today, 6-24-16

"Community christens food pantry" - Powhatan Today, 6-17-16

Richmond

"Positivity shines as state athletes compete in Special Olympics" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-11-16

"Marker unveiling commemorates 'Richmond 34'" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-28-16

"Richmond's once-neglected police memorial moved to Byrd Park" - Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6-24-16

"$12M Science Museum addition taking shape"
 - Richmond BizSense, 6-20-16

"New restaurant in the works in Woodland Heights" - Richmond BizSense, 6-24-16

"Richmond gets a Lyft" - Richmond BizSense, 6-24-16


General Interest


"Where the Middle Class Is Shrinking" - New York Times, 5-12-16
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