Archive for May, 2009

The 2009 General Assembly Session (May 2009 Meeting)

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

Virginia House of Delegates members Rob Bell and David Toscano provided their perspectives on the issues that came before the 2009 legislature at the May 13, 2009 meeting of the Senior Statesmen of Virginia held at the Charlottesville Senior Center.

An honors graduate of the University of Virginia and the University of Virginia Law School, Rob Bell served as a state prosecutor for five years. He prosecuted over 2,400 cases, working with the police and crime victims to bring criminals to justice.

Representing the 58th House District (County of Greene and parts of Albemarle, Fluvanna, and Orange Counties), Rob has written laws that crack down on drunk driving. He was named the 2005 Outstanding Legislator by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD)-Virginia. He is also interested in school safety. In recent years, he has written laws to ban criminal sex offenders from school property during school hours and to require additional background checks on school personnel. In 2008, Rob helped overhaul Virginia’s mental health laws in light of the tragedy at Virginia Tech.

An Eagle Scout, Rob was an active volunteer with the Boy Scouts and with the public schools prior to his election in 2001. Rob’s wife, Jessica, is a schoolteacher. She is currently staying home to raise their children, Robbie and Evelyn. The Bells live in Albemarle County and are members of Aldersgate United Methodist Church

David Toscano was elected to his first term in the Virginia House of Delegates in November 2005 representing the 57th House District (City of Charlottesville and part of Albemarle County). David was born in Syracuse, New York in 1950, the first of five children. He was educated in the public schools, received a bachelor’s degree from Colgate University in 1972, a Ph.D. from Boston College in 1979, and a law degree from the University of Virginia in 1986. He has taught at various colleges and universities, including Boston College, the University of Maryland (European Division), Piedmont Virginia Community College, the University of Virginia, and James Madison University.   He is an attorney with Buck, Toscano & Tereskerz, Ltd., specializing in family law and real estate.

David served on the Charlottesville City Council from 1990 to 2002 and as Mayor from 1994 to 1996.

David is a resident of the City of Charlottesville, where he lives with his wife of 30 years, Nancy A. Tramontin, and their son, Matthew.

David serves on the Courts of Justice, Transportation, and Science and Technology Committees in the House of Delegates. He is also a member of the Disability Commission, the Joint Commission to Study Math, Science and Technology Education in the Commonwealth, and the Joint Subcommittee to Study Land Use Tools in the Commonwealth.  He is also a member of the United Way Board and the Chamber of Commerce.

The program was moderated by SSV board member Jim Perkins. Following the presentation questions were taken from the audience.

Program Summary

Delegates Rob Belland David Toscano provided their perspectives on the issues that came before the 2009 legislature. Delegate Bellsaid that the session was dominated by the budget in response to the significant reduction in state revenues caused by the decline in consumer spending and other economic factors. He also cited two areas of legislation he sponsored: reform of practices in assisted living facilities; and identity theft. In demonstrating the breadth of legislation considered, Delegate Toscano pointed to a proposed bill that would have allowed “wind energy drying devices,” (or more commonly referred to as “clothes lines”) even if local homeowners associations wished to prohibit them. On a more serious note he discussed the budget cuts proposed by the governor for education and sheriffs’ departments.

Questions raised by members of the audience covered a wide range of issues including: the revenue sharing agreement between Albemarle and Charlottesville; the stimulus package provision that would extend unemployment benefits from the current 29 weeks to 59 weeks; offshore oil drilling; legislation affecting senior citizens; how the federal stimulus package will help Virginia; the use of fossil fuels; the Tobacco Settlement Trust Fund; and the use of new technology to expand the availability of energy.