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A Message From Delegate O'Quinn

Now that the 2012 General Assembly has adjourned, I would like to take a moment to update you on some of the important work that was accomplished. When the session commenced, Speaker Bill Howell appointed me to serve on three committees: Finance, Privileges and Elections, as well as Militia, Police and Public Safety. Within these groups, I serve on four additional subcommittees that handle more specific aspects of each committee’s assignment.  I have learned a great deal by serving on each of the committees and subcommittees and have worked very hard to learn the intricate details of each subject matter. I was also honored to be named to the Coal and Energy Commission, which is tasked with developing the Commonwealth's energy policy.

As far as legislation is concerned, I have been fortunate to see several of my own bills pass both the House and Senate and I would like to highlight a few of those for you.  I worked very hard on HB 684 and HB 1192, bills that affect the coal industry in Southwest Virginia.  I worked collaboratively on HB 684 with the Governor’s Office, the Department of Mines, Minerals and Energy, and the coal industry.  This bill will provide for enhanced safety in coal mines and will ultimately help to save lives.  HB 1192 relates to extending the Coalfield Employment Enhancement Tax Credit, a tool that is crucial for coal operators in Southwest Virginia and for affordable electricity to be available to citizens. The coal industry has a tremendous economic ripple effect in our region and it is crucial to our success as a Commonwealth and as a nation.

I am proud to have introduced HB 686, a bill that allows for the creation of a license plate for Veterans of Operation Desert Shield and Desert Storm.  Veterans of these two wars have not previously been offered a license plate specific to their service, and I believe it is time to remedy that.  Fortunately, the bill will become law on July 1 and those Veterans will be able to be properly recognized. 

In addition, I co-patroned several other bills with fellow members of the House and I appreciate the opportunity to work with them on these issues.  I co-patroned a bill with Delegate Joe Johnson (D-Abingdon) to provide for reimbursement of meth lab cleanup costs to localities by the offenders, and I co-patroned a bill with Delegate Rob Bell (R-Albemarle) related to increased penalties for those guilty of drug trafficking.  Delegate Terry Kilgore (R-Gate City) and I worked together on a bill related to major business facilities that will help our region to be more competitive when attracting jobs and commerce to our area.  Delegate Kilgore also assisted me with HB1116, a bill I carried to help our area be more competitive with the State of Tennessee in the economic development arena.  It was also an honor to work with Majority Leader Kirk Cox (R-Colonial Heights) to ensure that the Department of Veterans Services is adequately staffed so that our Veterans, who sacrificed so much for each of us, have access to the services they have earned and deserve. 

We are now waiting on the State Senate to produce a budget.  There are a few obstructionists in the Senate who are stalling the entire budget process, forcing localities to work with uncertain numbers during their own budget writing process.  There is also the possiblity that road projects will grind to a halt and public safety agencies will be forced to cease operations.  However, I am hopeful that a budget will emerge in short order and we can move forward into the new fiscal year.

Please stay in-touch by emailing me at or by writing at PO Box 16325, Bristol, VA 24209.  You may also reach me by phone at 276-525-1311. If I can be of assistance, please do not hesitate to contact me.  My Legislative Director is Jacob Holmes and he may also be reached via the aforementioned contact information.

In closing, it is a tremendous honor to serve you in the Virginia House of Delegates.  I cannot thank you enough for the opportunity and I look forward to working with you in the coming years. 


Kind Regards,

Delegate Israel O'Quinn

Fifth District