Friday, February 3, 2012

Delegate Mike Watson Newsletter

Mike introducing guests at the Commemorative Session in Williamsburg
Letter from Mike:

Dear Friends,

With just over three weeks of session behind us, we are moving through legislation at a rapid pace.  After getting my first bill through the full house last week, we’ve had several additional successes in the last few days including HB 10, a BPOL reform bill which was a major initiative in my campaign.  Also, my Tourism Project revenue bill made it through the Finance subcommittee with a unanimous vote and HJ 96, a joint resolution regarding Flounder size limits, passed unanimously through the Chesapeake subcommittee of ACNR.  After clearing a Commerce and Labor subcommittee and full committee this week, my Energy Policy bill passed the second reading on the House floor this afternoon.

While we are seeing a wide range of legislation, the vast majority relates to improvements in public safety, education and jobs.  Nearly all of my proposed legislation is oriented towards these goals.  In the next two weeks, most of the House legislation will make it to the floor.   Soon thereafter we’ll reach Crossover where we’ll start working through the Senate Bills as they work through ours. 

We routinely hear from constituents through phone calls, emails and visits.  I encourage you to stay in touch with us as we strive to be your voice in Richmond.  While the pace is fast and hours long, I’ll admit that I’m enjoying my responsibilities here, but do look forward to getting back to the district and to my home after session.  We’ll have some exciting news coming up regarding district activities soon.

Thank you for your interest in our activities and for the opportunity to serve.


Contact Me:

As always, we are here in Richmond to serve you. We want to hear what you think about the legislation pending before the House, or if there's anything we can do to help you.

My office can be reached at:

(804) 698-1093

or via email at

"Like" Me on Facebook

The most up-to-date information can be found here

As we continue to advance in the 2012 Session, we are getting to the point where major legislation is passing out of committees and being acted upon by Delegates on the floor of the House.  Despite a recent tendency by the media to focus on social agenda items that have come before the House and Senate (comprising less than 5% of the legislation passed by the House), our focus and commitment will continue to be on legislation that creates jobs, enhances economic development, improves educational opportunities, and addresses the transportation crisis in our region.  So far Mike has advanced a number of bills through committee and the House floor that address key issues in the Commonwealth. 

BPOL Tax Reform Passes House

We worked this week with Delegate Cole’s office to promote House Bill 10 as it passed through the House of Delegates on Thursday.   Mike is the chief co-patron on this important legislation, which works to discourage further dependence on the BPOL tax by freezing rates at 2011 levels for two years until a study examining alternative revenue sources can be completed.

The BPOL tax, which stands for Business, Professional and Occupational Licenses tax, is a tax levied by localities on businesses, and is typically based on gross receipts.  This tax does not take profitability into consideration when determining how much a business pays.  Therefore, new or existing businesses operating at a loss may still owe a hefty sum, in some cases more than strong profitable companies.   It also sets different rates for various types of businesses and is considered unfair and an anti-growth burden throughout the business community.

As the owner of a small business and with significant experience in the manufacturing sector, Mike recognizes the disincentive this tax poses for businesses wishing to expand or move to the Commonwealth.  Our office has been consistent in trying to reform this tax, while remaining sensitive to the needs of localities.  This bill does not remove any current revenue source from localities, but it is an important first step in ensuring Virginia remains the best state in the nation to do business.

This legislation will now move to the Senate, where it must pass before it is signed into law and takes effect. 

“Opportunity to Learn” K-12 Education Reform Bill Passes House

Delegate Watson, along with other members in the House, passed an important K-12 Education Reform Bill that is a part of Governor McDonnell’s “Opportunity to Learn” agenda.  House Bill 1061 will reduce the number of high school diplomas available from seven to three. This measure will make earned diplomas from Virginia’s high schools more rigorous.  House Bill 1061 also adds relevance to diplomas by ensuring Virginia’s students will be more career and college ready upon graduation.  Delegate Watson was proud to add his voice to those of his seatmates in support of this legislation.

This bill will now go to the Senate, where it must be approved before it is signed into law.

Mike’s Habitat for Humanity Bill Passes House

This week, Mike passed his Habitat for Humanity Bill through the House of Delegates.  House Bill 1144 waives the licensure requirement for Habitat for Humanity and other non-profits meeting specific criteria to rehabilitate single-family dwellings.  Previously, this requirement was only waived for construction of new homes.

Mike submitted this legislation to allow Habitat for Humanity to continue its good work while simultaneously addressing blight and abandoned property issues in the Commonwealth.  This bill will give non-profit organizations the opportunity, not only to build new homes, but also to work on homes that have been abandoned or suffer from structural integrity deficiencies. 

This legislation will now move to the Senate, where it must be passed before it is signed into law by the Governor and takes effect on July 1.

Commemorative General Assembly Session Held in Williamsburg

This past weekend, Mike participated in the Commemorative Session of the Virginia General Assembly, an event held in the 93rd District in Williamsburg.  As the representative from the Williamsburg area, Mike was proud to be given the opportunity to announce Mayor Clyde Haulman, Colin Campbell, Thomas Farrell, former Lieutenant Governor John Hager, and members of the Governor's staff.  Mike also had the privilege of reading Scripture during the Sunday service at Bruton Parish Church.

This week, we had several opportunities to meet with constituents and visitors who stopped by the office.  We were happy to see members of the Williamsburg James City School Board, pharmacy students from the district, Joe Posey from the United Methodist Church, Mike’s son Cody Watson and his classmate Matt Banfield with Virginia Tech, Pete Daikun, and a delegation from the Denbigh House.  Thank you to everyone who took the time this past week to visit our office, call us, or email us to express opinions and ideas on issues of importance within the Commonwealth, as well as our region!

Contact Delegate Watson
Phone: (804) 698-1093     Email:
Mail: General Assembly Building P.O. Box 406 Richmond, Virginia 23218

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