As we celebrate the Fourth of July, a holiday Americans also call Independence Day, allow me to frame some of the efforts I make on behalf of my constituents in light of the spirit which led to the birth of our great nation.
America’s Declaration of Independence boldly proclaims, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."
Speaking on Life, morality dictates we value life; that includes life that is given to men, women, disabled, healthy, convenient and inconvenient; this right extends before and after birth, and is not tied to our appearance or station in life. The 20-Week Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which I have sought to pass numerous times, seeks to ban the practice of taking the life of a 20-week unborn child in an unjust and, frankly, a cruel way. Governor McAuliffe went public with a promise to veto this bill even before it was sent to a committee.
One of the most basic charges of government is the physical protection of its citizens. The recent murder of a young girl in Sterling, allegedly by an illegal immigrant, is likely due in part to government failure to provide adequate protection. In the 2017 session, I was part of an effort to provide some protection in the area of immigration. House Bill 2000 passed the legislature and provides that no locality shall adopt any ordinance, procedure, or policy that restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws. Governor McAuliffe vetoed that bill.
Speaking on liberty, God-given liberty should not be violated. A robust exchange of ideas is absolutely essential to the preservation of a free society. For that reason, I introduced, and the legislature passed, the Campus Free Speech Resolution which was printed and distributed to all state-funded colleges and universities in Virginia.
A quality education provides the opportunity for a person to expand their freedom through hard work. Some children, especially in poorer parts of the Commonwealth, and children who have unique challenges and or disabilities are denied this opportunity by those who oppose the freedom of education choice which presently exists for only those who can afford that freedom. My Education Savings Account bill will pass someday soon. Governor McAuliffe has vetoed it twice, and Lieutenant Governor Northam has vetoed it once.
Speaking on the pursuit of Happiness, a common and flagrant violation of one’s right to pursue happiness is over-taxation and its close cousin, wasteful government spending. Fiscally responsible governance allows the pursuit of happiness by avoiding the taking of the fruit of a person’s labor. Too many politicians refuse to acknowledge spending limits, instead accumulating massive debts which violate the basic freedom of current and future generations.
I introduced a bill, modeled after successful initiatives in other states, to curb welfare fraud in Virginia this past session. Passing this into law would assure that public assistance dollars are available to those whose needs are real. Governor McAuliffe vetoed this bill after it passed in the legislature.
Closer to home, I am making every effort to promote awareness of the movement to raise the sales tax in the area served by Metro to fill a huge gap, and of the need to reform Metro business practices. This proposed tax would place a hugely disproportionate burden on Loudoun and should be rejected for that reason. While many families may not even notice having to pay more for what they purchase, those who earn less and are on fixed budgets are hurt by tax increases.
Quoting from the Declaration of Independence, "But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security." I understand this to mean, as our Founding Fathers and those who have gone before knew well, it is our responsibility to guard our precious freedoms. That is why I serve.
The 2017 General Assembly adjourned at the end of February. Throughout the 46-day session, we considered thousands of bills. Most of the bills that ultimately passed and were signed by the Governor will go into effect on July 1.
Every year, the General Assembly publishes a comprehensive list of bills that are likely to affect your everyday life. Below, I have highlighted the major accomplishments. You can read the full list, as well as more about some of my legislation that passed, and many bills that passed the General Assembly, but did NOT go into effect because Gov. McAuliffe vetoed them, on my website here.
The General Assembly produced a conservative, responsible and balanced amended state budget ahead of schedule for the third year in a row. The budget reduces debt by about $61 million and saves $10.8 million G.F. for use in the budget. The budget includes no tax increases, and eliminates all of the Governor’s proposed fee increases.
Drivers who obstruct the flow of traffic by driving in the left (passing) lane of the highway, instead of staying to the right, are now subject to $100 fines.
Under new legislation, public school principals will be required to notify the parents of any student involved in a bullying case within five days, including the status of the investigation.
The General Assembly passed a number of new laws to fight the opioid epidemic. Measures include my bill to increase access to the overdose-reversal drug naloxone.
Legislation passed mandates that public colleges and universities must report to the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia the value of investments every year. Legislation also requires that schools must also give notice of any proposals to increase tuition and fees.
A new law allows hunters to wear blaze pink instead of blaze orange hunting apparel when required during firearms deer hunting season or the special season for hunting deer with a muzzle-loading rifle.
If you have any questions about these new laws, or anything else, I encourage you to keep in touch with me and my office. The feedback you provide helps me to represent you more effectively. You can email me at DelDLaRock@house.virginia.gov or call me at 540-751-8364. You can also join the conversation on our social media pages (Facebook and Twitter).
Monday, July 3:
Lovettsville Parade, festivities and fireworks
The parade goes from the Community Center to Lovettsville Elementary and will start at 5:30PM. Following the parade, from 6:00-9:00PM the Community Center will have all sorts of activities, food, and games. And yes, there will be a portable mining flume where you can pan for gold. Most of it is free (some of the activities and food have a small fee) and all of it is fun! The fireworks go off in the eastern sky starting about 9:15ish.
Old Town Winchester Rockin' Independence Eve
This evening, Monday, July 3 for Rockin' Independence Eve. Enjoy FREE live music and entertainment from 5:00-11:00 pm with the fireworks show starting around 9:15 pm.
Tuesday, July 4:
Leesburg Independence Day Parade - 10:00am
Start the holiday by showing your patriotic spirit at the annual Independence Day Parade, held through Historic Downtown Leesburg beginning at 10am. The parade will start at Ida Lee Park, travel down King Street and conclude at Fairfax Street. Put on your patriotic best and join your friends and neighbors to celebrate the birthday of the United States! This year’s parade will also feature the 9th annual Patriot’s Cup Competition, sponsored by the Loudoun Now newspaper. This award will go to the best parade entry; winners’ names will be engraved on the Patriot Cup, which will be on display at Town Hall for the remainder of the year. Back this year is the American Originals Fife and Drum Corps, sponsored by Toth Financial. This traditional corps adds a patriotic sound to the parade and is a favorite among parade viewers. The group will perform at the intersection of King and Market Street as a prelude to the parade. Plan to arrive downtown by 9:45am to hear the fife and drums before the parade kicks off.
Leesburg Concert and Fireworks at Ida Lee Park
Music at 6:00pm and fireworks at 9:30 pm. Be sure to arrive early and grab a spot for a full night of fun, food and terrific music. Parking is available at the interior lots off Ida Lee Drive, and the festival field parking off King Street.
Clarke County Ruritan Fairgrounds
890 W. Main St. on Tuesday. The festivities start at 6:30pm with games like water balloon toss, egg toss and a sack race at the fairgrounds. The games are put on by Clarke County Parks and Recreation. To put the community in a patriotic spirit, the Clarke County Community Band will perform on the stage in front of the grandstand starting at 8: 15 p. m. Tuesday. The band, which is directed by Paul Shoremount, is celebrating its 25th year. Veterans and active duty military will be recognized during the concert. Around 9: 30 p. m., a fireworks display by Zambelli Fireworks, out of Pennsylvania, will wow the crowd.
Frederick County- Sherando Park July 4th Celebration
Frederick County Parks & Recreation will be hosting their annual July 4th Celebration at Sherando Park. The park is open all day with amusements and food available for sale at 5:00 pm. The community celebration includes a DJ playing your favorite tunes starting at 6:00 pm and the outdoor pool will be open until 8:00 pm. The FREE fireworks show begins at dusk. Sherando Park's main gate will close at 5:30 pm - please enter the park at Sherando High School.
Thursday, July 6
Cookout in the Country in Support of Ed Gillespie
Thu, July 6, 2017, 6:30PM
Blue Hill Farm
13078 Sagle Road