Friday, May 18, 2012
State Senator wraps up Richmond at McLean appearance.
Virginia State Sen. Janet Howell, D-Reston, spoke to members of the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce on Thursday, recapping this year's tumultuous Virginia legislative session in which she "went viral." “It was a very unfortunate session in so many ways — divisive and rancorous. But I think things are getting better,” she told a breakfast gathering of about 25 business people at J. Gilbert's in downtown McLean. "It was so disappointing for so many reasons. I can imagine the public watching in horror and saying, 'They are turning into Congress,' " she said. The Virginia State Senate had prided itself for not being like gridlocked Congress, she said. Marcus Simon of Ekko Title, said, "It's great that she took time to tell us what happened …
Monday, April 16, 2012
Where is the money for Silver Line Phase 2?
Monday, April 16, 2012
Since I last wrote about the budget several days ago, we have reached agreement with the House over the General Fund part of the budget. As a Senate negotiator, I am proud of the many improvements we made over the introduced budget. After years of cutbacks, we will have more funding for Northern Virginia's public schools and Virginia's colleges and universities. Mental health services for adolescents are being increased. Medicaid services our elderly, sick, and disabled neighbors will be improved. For the first time in five years, our state employees will have a pay raise. See here for a summary of the proposed budget. So why am I voting against the budget I worked so hard to improve? Because no funding is included for Phase 2 of Rail to …
Monday, March 26, 2012
Howell: Negotiators improve funding for rail to Dulles, education, but there is still work to do.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Sometimes persistence pays off! The budgets proposed by the House and Senate Republicans were unfair to my constituents and region, so I voted against them. Those initial budgets did not include funding for Phase 2 of Rail to Dulles, shortchanged Northern Virginia schools, and cut funding for programs that assist low income working families with childcare and eldercare. After we Senate Democrats voted against both the House and Senate versions, the General Assembly left Richmond without a budget. However, as one of a handful of budget negotiators, I never really "left." Instead, we seven Senate budget negotiators met for several days to see if we could improve on the previous version of the Senate budget. Fortunately, Sen. Walter …
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Virginia Senate Finance Committee approved Howell-sponsored amendment that will boost money for Metrorail Phase 2.
The Virginia Senate Finance Committee unanimously approved on Thursday a Senate budget that contains a budget amendment offered by Sen. Janet Howell (D-Fairfax & Arlington) and Sen. Mark Herring (D-Loudoun & Fairfax). The amendment will provide $300 million in additional state funds to Phase 2 of the Metrorail to Dulles Project. The amount is in addition to $150 million the state has previously committed, bringing the total state contribution for the project to $450 million. Phase 2 had been an ongoing point of contention between Dulles Toll Road users who fear rising tolls to pay for the project, MWAA officials who compromised on the location of an above-ground station at Dulles International Airport, and other parties. Howell says the …
Monday, March 5, 2012
State Senator says things have gone "seriously awry."
At Monday's Virginia Senate session, Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston) denounced Gov. Bob McDonnell's office for using riot police, SWAT teams carrying automatic weapons, police dogs, and helicopters in response to peaceful protesters in Capitol Square. Protest groups were in support of women's issues in the wake of legislation aimed at limiting abortion rights. On Saturday, 31 protesters were arrested - mostly for trespassing or unlawful assembly - on the state capitol steps following a women's rights rally. Prior to some of the protesters being arrested, they were monitored by a fully armored police SWAT team carrying automatic weapons, riot police, and police dogs. On Feb. 20, protesters gathered on the capitol grounds for a silent protest…
Thursday, February 2, 2012
Legislation mandates that women seeking abortion must have procedure. Meanwhile, see Sen. Janet Howell's (D-Reston) impassioned speech about gender equity.
The Republican-led Virginia Senate passed a bill Wednesday by a vote of 21-18 that would require women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion. The Senate, which for years had killed similar measures, voted largely along party lines. The House of Delegates, also heavily Republican, has passed the bill in previous sessions and is expected to do so again. Gov. Bob McDonnell (R) has said he would sign the measure. To read more details and analysis on the decision, read this story from The Washington Post. Senate Democrats said this is another measure aimed at chipping away at a woman's right to choose in Virginia. Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston) earlier this week attached an amendment that would require men to have a rectal exam and…
Monday, January 30, 2012
To protest sonogram mandate, state senator adds amendment that requires men to have additional tests for ED exam.
To protest a bill that would require women to undergo an ultrasound before having an abortion, Virginia State Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston) on Monday attached an amendment that would require men to have a rectal exam and a cardiac stress test before obtaining a prescription for erectile dysfunction medication. "We need some gender equity here," she told HuffPost. "The Virginia senate is about to pass a bill that will require a woman to have totally unnecessary medical procedure at their cost and inconvenience. If we're going to do that to women, why not do that to men?" The Senate will formally vote on the mandatory ultrasound bill on Tuesday. The Republican-controlled senate rejected the amendment Monday by a vote of 21 to 19, but passed …
County leaders announce donations, group vows to seek more, at meeting in Reston.
- LOCAL CONNECTIONS
Monday, January 30, 2012
Faith community members and local leaders met at St. John Neumann Church in Reston on Sunday in support of expanding dental care for low-income adults in the area. More than 350 members of faith communities and civic organizations in the Reston-Herndon gathered under the banner of V.O.I.C.E. (Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement). Fairfax County Board of Supervisors Chair Sharon Bulova and Virginia Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston), along with other elected leaders, voiced their support for the V.O.I.C.E. effort to put a full-time dentist dedicated to serving Fairfax residents at the Sterling location of the Northern VA Dental Clinic. V.O.I.C.E. leaders have already raised $140,000 of the $200,000 needed to cover the cost …
Monday, January 23, 2012
Bill to cover services for children was supposed to go into effect last year. Instead, it is back to the General Assembly. Meanwhile, one Reston family shows what their lives are like with a child with autism.
The Virginia House of Delegates on Friday approved HB-1106, sponsored by Delegate Tag Greason (R-Loudoun), by a vote of 96-1 and sent the measure to the Senate. The bill would correct a flaw in Virginia's new autism insurance law by ensuring that providers of Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) are covered. The bill also establishes a state licensing procedure for ABA providers. In 2011, the General Assembly passed legislation sponsored by Sen. Janet Howell (D-Reston) that would require insurance companies to cover behavioral health therapy for autistic children ages 2 to 6, with a cap on annual coverage costs of $35,000. The initiative failed for 11 straight years until House Speaker William J. Howell (R-Stafford) backed it — even though …
Friday, January 6, 2012
Education, uranium mining and budget on legislators' and citizens' minds as 2012 General Assembly session approaches.
Citizens came to the Reston Community Center on Thursday to tell Sen. Janet Howell (D-32) and Del. Ken Plum (D-36) what is on their mind as the 2012 Virginia General Assembly session begins next week. The longtime legislators host this public meeting annually to get a feel for what constituents are thinking. Howell and Plum will be busy at the 60-day session. There are some 3,000 bills — as well as the $85 billion budget for 2012-14 — on the docket. Howell, in her sixth term, is part of a Senate that is split evenly among Democrats and Republicans, with Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling (R) purportedly being able to cast the deciding vote. Howell says she is looking forward to meeting with the Senate Democratic Caucus to figure out Bolling's limits…