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Last month, I visited an extraordinary family supporting a child with Cystic Fibrosis to discuss their experience with Virginia’s Developmental Disability waiver, or so-called DD waiver.  Medicaid “waivers” refer to community supports that are life-saving to families with disabled children and do not want to see their loved ones institutionalized.  At least that is the history of the “waiver” terminology—a waiver from costly institutional care.   

In the Supreme Court’s first ruling upholding the Affordable Care Act, the Court said that States could not be forced to expand Medicaid to those not already eligible (Virginia’s Medicaid program does not cover single adults below the poverty line) at the expense of losing their current cost-shared programs.  Expansion became “optional.”  Almost all southern states, including Virginia, have opted not to accept the funds even though Virginia’s taxpayers are funding our rightful share.  In addition, the Federal Government pays 100 percent of the expansion over the first years declining gradua

Governor Terry McAuliffe recently established the Parole Review and Update Commission to evaluate Virginia’s abolishment of parole in 1995.  In the 1990s, the Truth-in-Sentencing (TIS) reform movement attempted to redefine the purpose of our penal system. It was based on the principle that sentencing should be proportional to the severity of the offense. Sentences were meant to serve simply as punishments, reducing the emphasis on rehabilitation.

The Washington Post recently printed an editorial I co-wrote about the possibility of using private at-risk funds to construct improvements to I-66, one of Northern Virginia’s worst traveling nightmares.  One year ago, Governor McAuliffe announced a bold and capital-intensive series of improvements to I-66 that will cost between $2 to $3 billion—that’s billion with a ‘b.’ How to finance a project of this magnitude is now being evaluated.

Last month, I had the opportunity to join my Appropriations Committee colleagues on a “capital outlay” tour of some of the Commonwealth’s major projects and facility needs. We visited several of Virginia’s universities, a state park, and behavioral health facilities.

The 2015 General Assembly session was a short but eventful six weeks.  With an improved economy, important spending amendments to the underlying two-year budget passed the House.  These amendments restored some cuts to higher education, repaid the rainy day fund early, provided care to the seriously mentally ill, and financed modest state employee and teacher raises.

Winter is finally over and I am excited about the warm weather and am anxious to get back on my bicycle. Unfortunately, the winter storms have left us with some severely damaged roads. I personally have been the victim of a manhole-sized pothole, and we have heard from many of you about the condition of the roads you travel as well.

We live in an era where 87 percent of the US population is uniquely identifiable from their gender, birthdate, and zip code, information that can be easily obtained from public medical records. For those under 30, Social Security numbers can be predicted based on date and place of birth, information people typically list on Facebook. Wifi enabled device, such as cell phones and laptops track and record your every move.

Last month an ad aired during the Super Bowl that caused a lot of controversy. Run by Nationwide, the ad highlighted that accidents are the leading cause of childhood deaths in the US. While many felt this ad was too depressing for the Super Bowl, it caused families in homes across the country to have a conversation about preventing accidental deaths.

Early Childhood Education

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