Proudly Serving the City of Fairfax and Parts of Fairfax County
I'm David Bulova and I represent the 37th District - the heart of Fairfax - in the Virginia House of Delegates.
As a life-long resident of Fairfax, I know how hard we have worked to build a vibrant and caring community. We need common-sense leadership in the General Assembly to continue to build our quality of life and to invest in our future. We also need leadership that will work with, and not against, our county and city governments to solve our common challenges.
I believe strongly in the value of public service, responsibility, honesty, hard work, and fairness. I also believe in listening. Each of us brings an important perspective and I value your input. I look forward to hearing your thoughts and ideas.
I hope that you will explore my website and check back for updates and special events. Together, we can make the 37th district an even better place to live, work and raise our families! Feel free to contact me with your feedback on any issue.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Alex, Gretchen, Grayson, David, and Josette Bulova
Enjoy an evening of live music and Virginia wine overlooking the grounds of Historic Blenheim!
Thursday, July 24, 2014
7:00 to 9:00 p.m.
3610 Old Lee Highway, City of Fairfax
On March 8th, the 2014 “regular” session of the General Assembly came to a close. But this year our work is far from over. We have now gone into special session to address the issue of Medicaid expansion and the adoption of the biennial budget. This important debate will have a significant impact on Virginia’s competitiveness and the health of our citizens. For my thoughts on Medicaid expansion, click here.
In addition to the ongoing debate about Medicaid, the General Assembly considered nearly 2,000 bills during the 2014 session. The Division of Legislative Services compiles two great publications that can be accessed online. 2014 Session Highlights provides an overview of major legislation considered during the session while 2014 Session Summary gives a brief summary of all legislation introduced sorted by category.
Among the General Assembly’s most important considerations were reforming our mental health system and Virginia’s education Standards of Learning. A brief summary of both issues is provided below along with an overview of my legislation.
Mental Health Reform
The need for changes to our mental health system once again gained attention when the son of Senator Creigh Deeds was ordered into care for a mental health crisis but was then released when no psychiatric bed could be found within the statutory time limit. This practice, known as “streeting,” ended in the stabbing of Senator Deeds and the tragic death of his son. Several important changes have been made in response. First, the General Assembly has mandated the creation of a real-time psychiatric bed registry (HB1232) so that care coordinators know exactly which local hospitals have space. The amount of time that a person can be held on an emergency custody order has also been increased from six hours to eight hours (HB478) to give care givers more time to coordinate. Most importantly, the General Assembly passed HB293 to create a “bed of last resort” where a state hospital must accept a patient if no other option is available. Finally, an oversight commission has been established to monitor implementation and to make recommendations for future improvements.
Standards of Learning
Virginia generally outperforms the nation in education by almost any standard. Despite this success, there is growing concern by parents and educators alike that our reliance on high-stakes standardized tests (known as the Standards of Learning) is resulting in rote memorization and teaching to the test. A student today takes at least 34 SOL tests between third and twelfth grades – on top of SATs and all other tests. This year the General Assembly took the first steps toward finding a new balance that maintains accountability while giving our teachers the ability to focus on developing the critical thinking skills that are needed in today’s job market. I was pleased to be appointed to the Education Reform Subcommittee that was assigned the responsibility of overseeing this process. After taking testimony from dozens of stakeholders, the SOL reform bill (HB930) has been signed into law by the Governor. Changes include: (1) reducing the number of SOL tests in grades three through eight from 22 to 17; (2) allowing local school boards to develop alternative assessments in grades three through eight in subjects where an SOL test is not given; and (3) creating a Standards of Learning Innovation Committee to set in motion a process of continual innovation in state assessments, with a focus on high school assessments.
I was pleased that my HB1072to prevent a retailer from scanning your driver’s license and then using the personal information for marketing purposes was passed unanimously. Many retailers have begun to electronically scan the bar code of a driver’s license to verify age or identity. By doing so, the retailer is given access to all of the information that is contained on the card. My bill ensures that the personal information that is contained on a driver’s license can only be used for very specific purposes and that the merchant cannot store or disseminate the information to a third party unless it is for one of the reasons in the bill.
My HB270, which also passed unanimously, allows a wine wholesaler to come to a restaurant and provide educational information about their wines. What! This requires a law? In Virginia, manufacturers, wholesalers, and retailers are not allowed to intermingle unless explicitly authorized by law. As you may know, it has become popular for many restaurants to host dinners or events where an individual will talk about the wines that the patron is sampling. Very often the educator is the wine wholesaler. About a year ago, local restaurants were informed by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Board that this practice is illegal. Note that the economic impact is significant. One local restaurant reported losing more than $100,000 in the year since they had to stop having these events.
My HB767 to enhance Virginia’s efforts to fight human trafficking by allowing law enforcement to seize assets associated with trafficking was rolled into another bill that also passed. While the final ethics bill enacted by the General Assembly did not go nearly far enough in my opinion, my HB271 to increase the reporting frequency of gifts was incorporated into the final omnibus bill. In all, eight out of my 13 bills are now on their way to the Governor for signature. A full list of my bills can be found here.
Thank you to everyone who emailed, wrote letters, or came to visit me in Richmond during this session. I am blessed to represent such an active community. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I am also happy to meet with interested organizations and community associations.
Thanks to everyone who took the time to participate in my 2014 Constituent Survey. I greatly value the feedback and appreciate all of the individual comments. As of this post, we had over 800 responses! Please 2014 Survey Results to see the survey results.
On Monday, February 17th, I am looking forward to hosting my second annual Constituent Day at the General Assembly. I hope that you will be able to join me to experience our democracy in action. The day will start at 9:30 a.m. and include:
- 9:30 – 10:00 a.m. Coffee and pastries at the General Assembly Building (Room 5 East)
- 10:00 – 11:30 a.m. Tour of the General Assembly Building and State Capitol with David
- 12:00 – 12:45 p.m. Watch the House of Delegates from the gallery (David will introduce constituents from the House Floor)
- 1:00 p.m. Lunch in Conference Room 4 West (with Gretchen Bulova)
- 2:30 p.m. Private tour of the historic John Marshall House (45 minute tour)
I hope that you will be able to join us! If you can’t stay for the entire day, no problem. Please RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (804) 698-1037.
Greetings from Richmond! This past Wednesday, the 2014 General Assembly was gaveled into session. This will be another busy year as we consider issues such as how to grow our economy, whether to expand Medicaid, fixing our mental health system, strengthening the ethics rules that apply to elected officials, and reforming the way we conduct testing in our schools. This year we will also be adopting our biennial budget.
Your feedback on these issues and more is very important to me. Please take the time to let your voice be heard by filling out my 2014 Constituent Survey. Also, mark your calendars for my annual Town Hall with Senator Chap Petersen on February 1st from 9:00 to 10:30 a.m. at Fairfax City Hall.
With over 1,700 bills introduced to-date, and many more on the way, much of the work of the General Assembly is conducted through the committee system. I am pleased to have been reappointed to three committees, including Education, General Laws, and Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources. I am particularly excited about being placed on a new subcommittee in the Education Committee that will tackle educational reform issues. One of the many areas of reform discussed is our Standards of Learning. There is concern that the SOLs have resulted in “teaching to the test” at the expense of critical thinking skills. This concern was echoed by teachers, parents, and students alike as I knocked on doors and attended forums over the summer and fall. The million dollar question is how to re-achieve balance in our education system. I am thrilled to have an opportunity to be on the front lines of these very important discussions.
You can keep up with what is happening here in Richmond by subscribing to my Focus on Fairfax. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve!