Read the Bills Act Coalition

Tuesday, March 3, 2009




February 27, 2009

Last night we were finally able to complete our floor session at about 10:40 P.M. As we approach the scheduled end of the '09 session the length of floor sessions have lengthened with no more standing committee meetings. At times we have to recess to allow those of us who are conferees to meet on our various matters that need to be resolved. The largest conference report still pending is on the budget amendments, but there are many others still in flux as the various conferees work out differences in their respective House and Senate bills.

As I write this report this afternoon the two conferences on which I serve have reached agreement. One of the conferences has to do with the expeditious handling of absentee ballots, removal of the witnesses address requirement on absentee ballots from voters outside the country and the use of those ballots as voter registration applications when qualified. That report has been signed off on by all conferees and agreed to by the full Senate. The other one is concerning a professional licensing issue and remedying a grandfathering problem created when the licensure requirement was first established. That one’s final draft, which I completed this morning, is on the way to me in the Senate Chamber for me to gather the necessary House and Senate signatures. Accordingly, I will need to cut this week’s report a little short as I have much more to do before we reconvene at 4:00. I will be able to give a more complete update once all the reports are in and both bodies have either accepted or rejected them.

I will share briefly, before I go, that some of our most interesting discussions this week involved environment and natural resource issues. It seems that each approach, that reached the Senate floor, to use energy more efficiently, brings with it a higher cost to consumers. I know I do not want to pay higher electric bills as a result of legislative action to conserve energy. This is among those issues yet to be finally resolved.

You are probably aware that Attorney General Bob McDonnell has stepped down to focus on his campaign for Governor. Yesterday, the General Assembly elected his Chief Deputy, Bill Mims, as his successor. Bill Mims had served with me for a brief period in the VA House before also following me into the VA Senate. He is a brilliant and able man who acts with skill and conviction in all he does. I was proud to be able to support his election to finish the remainder of this term of office.

I look forward to working with you and for you in the months ahead. I am also looking forward to joining you soon, on a day to day basis, in the community. Please continue to call or email my office to share your thoughts, ideas and opinions.

--Steve Martin

District Phone Number: 804-674-0242

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