October 10, 2006
The 2006 General Assembly begins tomorrow and in the following 60 days legislators from this area will have many issues to tackle.
The General Assembly will review more than 3000 bills in the coming months.
The big issues facing the 40 senators and 100 delegates are transportation and the budget.
Both go hand in hand since legislators will have to find ways to fund any transportation proposals they pass.
“I'm hoping that we'll have a package completed by the end of the session that will bring some more funding to maintain the roads that we presently have,” said 57th District (D) Delegate David Toscano.
Law makers are already anticipating the need for a special session.
“Sixty days to [pass those bills] plus the thousands of other bills that are going to come up is not really very much time,” said Sean O’Brien of the Sorenson Institute.
Local legislators will also push their own proposals.
“I plan to patron a bill that says you have a 25 year mandatory minimum sentence for anyone who commits a sex crime against a child,” said 59th District (R) Delegate Rob Bell.
“I [have a bill] on nursing, to increase the number of nurses in the Commonwealth of Virginia. [I have a bill] that will help Charlottesville create more affordable housing,” said Toscano.
It's inevitable that some bills may spur controversy.
“There's a bill [that has] been introduced to restrict access to the use of technology for artificial insemination for unmarried women,” said O’Brien. "There's going to be other bills related to abortion, and things that are going to cause a lot of excitement."
It now remains to be seen how law makers will get past their bi-partisanship and work together to pass new legislation.
It will be delegate David Toscano's first time serving in the General Assembly. It will be delegate Rob Bell's 4th.