Changing the definition of milk and a possible ordinance on cutting grass are just some of the issues addressed in the bills and resolutions filed for the General Assembly’s 2020 session by legislators representing Augusta County.

More than three dozen bills and resolutions have been introduced by the four legislators whose districts include all or part of Augusta County — Del. Ronnie Campbell, R-Rockbridge; Del. John Avoli, R-Staunton; Del. Chris Runion, R-Rockingham; and Sen. Emmett Hanger, R-Mount Solon.

The 2020 General Assembly session commenced Wednesday.

Campbell, who has represented Virginia’s 24th district since 2018, filed House resolution 109. If passed, it would direct the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission to study costs of care for individuals with intellectual disabilities. As of Friday, the resolution was pending a House committee referral.

Campbell also has a number of bills introduced that involve issues including animal care at zoos, employers who fail to pay wages and a local ordinance on cutting grass.

Speaker Eileen Filler Corn, D-Fairfax, announced committee assignments for the 2020 General Assembly Session on Thursday. Campbell was re-appointed to the Courts of Justice committee, as well as the committee on Public Safety.

“Having been a state trooper for more than 25 years, I have dedicated my life to protecting and serving my community,” Campbell said in a statement. “I cannot think of better ways to do so than through the Courts of Justice and Public Safety committees.”

20th district delegate Avoli is not the chief patron on any legislation as of Friday. This is his first legislative session after defeating Democratic candidate Jennifer Lewis in November.

Avoli is, however, co-patron on Campbell’s HJ 109, as well as a bill from Mark Cole (R-Fredericksburg) that would require the Commonwealth to subsidize local real estate tax relief for disabled veterans and surviving spouses. Avoli is also co-patron on resolutions commending the U.S. Women’s National soccer team and the American Legion Auxiliary.

The former high school principal will serve on the education committee this session in addition to the health, welfare and institutions committee.

“As a teacher, principal, coach, career and technical services director, and executive director of the Frontier Culture Museum of Virginia — I have dedicated 43 years of my life to education. I am honored to be able to continue working to improve Virginia’s education system through my appointment to the education committee,” Avoli said in a press release, adding that he will draw on his experience of Mayor of Staunton while on the health, welfare and institutions committee.

Chris Runion, who also is entering his first session after defeating Democrat Jennifer Kitchen for the 25th district seat, is the chief patron on five different bills in 2020.

The first, HB 134, would require the Department of Education to establish guidelines for individualized education program teams to use when developing IEPs for children with disabilities.

The businessman is also sponsoring two pieces of legislation that, if passed, would require both the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority and the Virginia Economic Development Partnership Authority to develop and utilize a scoring system. Runion’s house bill 847 seeks to put a statute of limitations on actions on construction contracts and performance bonds.

His fifth and final proposed bill concerns the Town of Elkton’s maximum allowable vacancy period on council.

More interestingly, Runion is the co-patron of a bill filed by Del. Barry Knight, R-Virginia Beach, that would narrow the definition of milk. The bill also would ban retailers from advertising products like almond, soy or oat “milk” as actual milk.

All of Runion’s bills were pending House committee referrals as of Thursday. This session, Runion’s assignments are to both the communications, technology and innovation committee and the privileges and elections committee.

“I am honored to be appointed to serve on the privilege and elections committee along with the communications, technology and innovation committee during the 2020-2021 General Assembly,” Runion said in a statement. “I believe elections are the bedrock of our representative democracy, and we must protect and encourage trust in those processes. I’m also excited to be at the forefront of new technologies and how they impact the lives of Virginians.”

Entering his seventh term representing Virginia’s 24th senate district, senior Sen. Hanger is proposing a slate of bills and resolutions in 2020.

Hanger is sponsoring an identical bill on the Senate side to Runion’s House bill on the Town of Elkton.

Other bills Hanger’s filed includes Senate Bill 59 which would make it mandatory that law enforcement disclose to a school principal any instances of violent juvenile felonies, arson or concealed weapons; SB 593 that would require all firearms in a licensed family day home to be stored unloaded in a locked container; and SB 596 that would impose an additional 2.1 percent wholesale gas tax to any county or city outside of Northern Virginia, Hampton Road or the I-81 corridor where such a tax is already imposed.

Just one day into the session, a number of Hanger’s bills had already been assigned to committees for review. Hanger himself will serve on four committees: agriculture, conservation and natural resources; finance and appropriations; local government; and rehabilitation and social services.

For a full list of bills and resolutions proposed in the 2020 session, visit lis.virginia.gov.

Reporter

Logan Bogert is a reporter for The News Virginian in Waynesboro, Virginia. She can be reached at lbogert@newsvirginian.com or (540) 932-3562. Follow Logan on Twitter at @Logan_Bogert.

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