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Last week, the 2018 Virginia General Assembly Session convened for 60 days.  It was a historic week!  In the House of Delegates, 19 new members were sworn in, and the Republican majority shrunk to 51-49. On Saturday, Ralph Northam was sworn in as the 73rd Governor of the Commonwealth, Justin Fairfax was sworn as the 40th Lieutenant Governor, and Mark Herring was sworn in for a second term as Attorney General.  
 
Against this historic backdrop, the General Assembly began work on thousands of bills and the state biennial budget. I look forward to providing an update on this an other issues over the next six weeks.
On Monday, Governor McAuliffe unveiled the two-year budget covering July 2018 through June 2020. 

You can read the Governor's remarks at the joint money committees meeting here. You can read the Richmond Times-Dispatch's article on the budget here.

Last month we saw a Democratic wave election in which Ralph Northam, Justin Fairfax, and Mark Herring were elected Governor, Lt. Governor, and Attorney General, respectively, and Democrats in the House of Delegates climbed from 34 to 49!   
 
Majority control in the House is still up in the air, as four races go to recount.  In HD-94, Democrat Shelly Simonds trails Republican David Yancy by only 10 votes!  In HD-40, Donte Tanner trails Republican Tim Hugo by 106 votes.  And in HD-28, where 147 voters were given the wrong ballot, Democrat Josh Cole trails Republican Bob Thomas by only 82 votes.  Locally, in HD-68, Republican Manoli Loupassi requested a recount after conceding to Democrat Dawn Adams twice.  Dawn leads by 336 votes.  
 
In local upsets, Courtney Lynch was elected to serve as the Brookland representative on the Henrico County Board of Supervisors, flipping control of the Board to Democrats for the first time in decades.  In Chesterfield County, which voted for a Democratic Governor for the first time in over 50 years, Jenefer Hughes was elected to serve as Commissioner of the Revenue.
Tomorrow Virginians will go to the polls to vote for Governor, Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Members of the House of Delegates, and a number of local offices.
 
Make sure that you are election ready by making a plan to vote today!
 
Polls will be open on tomorrow from 6 a.m. until 7 p.m.
 
Finally, bring proper photo ID with you to the polls. You can see a list of acceptable forms of photo ID here. If you don't have one of these forms of ID, or it has expired, you can apply a for free Virginia Voter Photo ID Card at your local registrar's office. 
To see more information on voting in the 9th Senate District, including a list of local registrar offices, visit the "Voting in the 9th District" page of my website.
The Washington, D.C. to Richmond Southeast High Speed Rail (DC2RVA) Project is a joint project between the Federal Rail Administration (FRA) and the Virginia Department of Rail and Public Transportation (DRPT) to improve intercity passenger rail service in the north-south corridor between Washington, D.C. and Richmond, VA. 
 
The purpose of the DC2RVA Project is to increase capacity to deliver higher speed passenger rail, expand commuter rail, and accommodate growth of freight rail service in an efficient and reliable multimodal rail corridor. The DC2RVA Project will enable passenger rail to be a competitive transportation choice for intercity travelers between Washington, D.C., Richmond, and beyond. It extends 123 miles along an existing rail corridor owned by CSX Transportation (CSXT) from the Long Bridge across the Potomac River in Arlington, VA, to Centralia, VA in Chesterfield County, south of Richmond.  
 
Last month, FRA and DPRT published a Tier II Draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS), which can be found here.  The Draft EIS provides an overview and comparison of the alternatives under consideration, including recommendations for a preferred alternative in
each corridor segment.  

Read my Report to the 9th Senate District for a summary of key legislation, as well as my bills, that passed during the 2017 General Assembly Session.

Virginia's Sales Tax Holiday begins on Friday, August 4th and runs through Sunday, August 6th. During the sales tax holiday, you can buy qualifying school supplies, clothing, footwear, hurricane and emergency preparedness items, and Energy Star and WaterSense products without paying sales tax.
 
Detailed lists of qualifying items and more information for retailers can be found in the 2017 Sales Tax Holiday Guidelines.
 
On July 1, 2017, the majority of legislation passed by the 2017 General Assembly Session took effect. In Due Course, published by the Division of Legislative Services, gives a good overview of newly effective enacted laws that is likely to affect the daily lives of Virginians.  
 
Complete information on actions of the 2017 Session can be found on the Legislative Information System website.
Earlier today EMILY's List announced its finalists for the Gabby Giffords Rising Star award, which celebrates an extraordinary woman serving in state or local office. I am incredibly honored to be one of the six women nominated nationwide!

The General Assembly will reconvene on Wednesday, April 5th to consider the Governor's amendments and vetoes to legislation passed during Session. You can read my preview here.

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