This column was submitted by Del. Paul Krizek (D-44).
This week in Richmond was full of a lot of accomplishments, all the way from hyper-local issues unique to our community, to accomplishments that have critical nationwide implications.
I was proud that my first Privileges and Elections Committee vote for the 2020 session was to report the Equal Rights Amendment out of committee. I was very encouraged to see so many people travel to testify before our committee to bravely express their opinions, especially one of my own constituents.
On January 15, 2020 the Equal Rights Amendments was passed by both the House and the Senate marking Virginia as the 38th state to ratify it. I remain steadfastly committed to working to create a more fair, just, and equitable Commonwealth for all Virginians and it was for that reason that I wholeheartedly voted in support of the ratification of the ERA.
In addition, I chaired my first ever meetings of my two subcommittees, the Appropriations subcommittee on Transportation and Public Safety, and the General Laws Subcommittee on ABC/Gaming! I have had dozens of meetings related to alcohol and gaming this week, and am learning a lot in a short amount of time. We are preparing our dockets to hear our first bills next week, so stay tuned for more updates!
I have some updates to share on my own introduced bills. Those outlined below were up for hearings this week, and many more will be up for consideration next week.
On Wednesday, my bill HB 172 was reported unanimously out of subcommittee and has been referred to Appropriations. HB 172 will create the Virginia State Police Electronic Summons program, allowing the Virginia State Police to issue a fee not in excess of $5 for court costs in each criminal or traffic case in which the Virginia State Police issued the summons, ticket, citation, executed the warrant, or made the arrest. These funds will then be used for the purposes of funding software, hardware, and associated equipment costs for the implementation and maintenance of an electronic summons system to replace writing tickets by hand.
Electronic summons are more time efficient, contain less errors, and reduce the amount of time that troopers and drivers are in unsafe situations on the side of the road. Last year, I was able to get a pilot program established through funding in the budget, which has been well-received and has shown the efficiency and improved safety that can come with using the system. I hope this bill passes as it will likely save the life of a State Trooper.
On Thursday, two of my bills relating to residential property disclosure, HB 174 and HB 175, were reported unanimously from the Housing and Consumer Protection subcommittee and will head to the full General Laws committee for a vote. HB 174 is a constituent requested bill which would require disclosure to buyers for homes built on marine clay prior to purchase. Marine clay is commonly found throughout Virginia, especially here in the Mount Vernon area. Homes built on marine clay are more susceptible to foundation problems due to earthquakes, flooding, and erosion. My hope is that passage of this bill will raise awareness of the issue.
HB 175 would add a disclosure for radon gas prior to purchase of homes. Radon is an odorless gas that is a natural byproduct of uranium decomposition. Virginia has one of the largest uranium deposits in the country. During decomposition, radon seeps through the ground and into the air, usually collecting on the lowest floor of buildings and homes. However radon can be easily tested for and mitigated by licensed professionals. This bill aims to educate homeowners about what radon is, its prominence in Virginia, and the health risks associated with high levels of exposure such as lung cancer.
It is always an honor to serve you in Richmond. Please do not hesitate to reach out to my office at DelPKrizek@House.Virginia.Gov throughout this legislative session with questions, concerns, or legislative opinions.