Welcome to week three of the Reaser Report! This newsletter will provide weekly updates during the 2024 legislative session, delivered straight to your inbox!
After the craziness from the first few weeks of the session, I wanted to take a minute to break down what a session is and what actually happens!
Do you remember the Schoolhouse Rock! video “I’m Just a Bill”? Well, at the state level, the legislative process works pretty much the same way. First, a bill is introduced in the House of Delegates, then it is referred to a committee that deals with the bill’s topic. The committee then refers it to a subcommittee where legislators discuss and vote on the bill. Once that’s done, the bill goes back to the full committee, where it is debated and voted on by the entire group. If the bill passes through that stage, it is heard on the House floor for its first reading. The next day, the bill is read for a second time, and amendments can be proposed during this time. Finally, on the bill’s third and final reading, the entire House of Delegates votes on the bill to determine its fate.
Once it passes the House, there is a process called Crossover, which happens on February 13th this year, where all of the bills passed in the House of Delegates are then considered in the Senate of Virginia. The bills then go through the same process: committee referral, readings, and votes. If a bill passes both legislative chambers, it is sent to the Governor’s desk, where he will either veto it, sign it into law, or allow it to become law without his signature. Unless the bill says otherwise, all new laws from this session will be enacted on July 1, 2024.
Let’s Give An Example!
Let’s use our Childcare Zoning bill (HB281) for this example. HB281 was introduced on the House floor during the first week of the session. From there, it was referred to the Cities, Counties, and Towns committee and sent to the Cities, Counties, and Towns #2 Subcommittee. From there, it works its way back up the ladder. It was presented and reported unanimously by the subcommittee and sent to the full Cities, Counties, and Towns committee. It passed full committee and is now waiting to be heard on the floor of the House of Delegates!
Almost all of my bills have been assigned to subcommittees, so that this upcoming week will be action-filled! I will present bills covering many topics in front of multiple bi-partisan committees. HB281, which allows office buildings to include childcare spaces, is expected to be read for a second time on Tuesday’s floor of the House of Delegates!
I have also been able to join the Gun Violence Prevention Caucus. This Caucus, co-chaired by Delegate Nadarius Clark and Senator Adam Ebbin, tracks 2024 firearm bills that could potentially impact public safety for those in the Commonwealth. The bill I’m Chief Co-Patroning with Delegate Laura Jane Cohen, HB498, requires local school boards to annually notify parents, via email and SMS, within 30 days of the school year, about their legal duty to store household firearms safely. Notifications should include information on risks, statistics on youth firearm incidents, and safety tips, available in multiple languages on school board websites.
During my campaign, I committed to moving Virginia forward, and during my first legislative session, I introduced 11 bills aimed at achieving that goal. These bills were specifically designed to address the needs our community has been expressing to me, and 2 of them have already reported out of their subcommittees!
Conversations in the GAB
My staff enjoyed meeting advocacy groups and constituents for annual lobby days and Richmond visits. This week, I met with many groups committed to important efforts, such as representatives from Loudoun County Public Schools, the Virginia Promise Partnership, and the High School Future Farmers of America (FFA).
We have added a constituent form to my website! If there is any way that I can assist you, please fill out the form on my website here: https://atoosareaser.com/help/.
You can share your stories and concerns with me so that I can better serve you as your Delegate or help you get connected with state agencies for assistance.
Connect with my office!
The best way to contact my team and me while we’re in Richmond for the legislative session, which runs from January 10th with a tentative sine die on March 9th, is to email or give us a call.
You are welcome and encouraged to see how the session is going and visit my office in the newly inaugurated General Assembly Building. If you would like to do so, please reach out to us in advance. To schedule a meeting or discuss a specific topic during this session, contact my Chief of Staff, Caleigh Lynch, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I appreciate your continued support and am honored to represent you in Richmond.
Yours in Service,