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The 2020 General Assembly was unusually productive. With the Democrats in control of both the House and Senate, as well as the Executive office, we were able to pass many bills that Virginians, especially Northern Virginians, had been supporting for years. The Coronavirus and its economic impact have put the budget improvements on hold. Hundreds of new laws that will impact your life went into effect on July 1.  Here are some of them:


Each year Virginia's governor publicly signs a few pieces of legislation that he considers especially significant in bill signing ceremonies. This year Governor Northam selected four of my bills for this special honor. I had about 20 bills pass this past session. The most important, of course, was the budget. But, I am so pleased that the Governor also considered these bills to be worthy of special attention.


Keeping health care workers safe, too

  • By James B. Cole - Richmond Times - Dispatch


Americans were shocked and saddened recently by the news about a well-liked and respected young nurse practitioner whose life was taken during a violent assault at a Wisconsin hospital.

I mourn for Carlie Beaudin along with her family, friends, and colleagues who are stunned by this needless loss of life.

“We’ve got a real problem with our student loan services. Many of them are predators,” says state Senator Janet Howell.  She has a bill that’s already passed the Senate that would crack down on these companies, forcing them to get a Virginia license and answer to state regulators.

RICHMOND, Va. --- Threatening to do harm to a healthcare provider could land you in jail - if a bill passes the General Assembly.

Dr. Robin Hemphill, the chief quality and safety officer at VCU Health, has seen and heard of cases where patients or their families get aggressive.

“We almost feel like it’s our job to take this,” she explained. “People leave, and they feel like they carry this home with them. They will stay awake with it all night.”

When someone asks "what did you do on your summer vacation?," Janet Howell will have a ready answer: She went to Southside and Southwest Virginia.


By the time her current term ends late in 2019, state Sen. Janet Howell will have served 28 years in Richmond.

And she says she’s ready to spend at least four more there.

Howell (D-32nd) confirmed at a recent session in McLean plans to run for an eighth term. She was first elected in 1991 in a district that has varied in shape over the years, but currently includes portions of Fairfax and Arlington counties.

In remarks during a forum sponsored by the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce, Howell expressed happiness with the performance of Gov. Northam.

Eight esteemed state lawmakers are recipients of the 2016 HosPAC Health Care Hero Award that recognizes legislators who epitomize leadership, advocacy, and dedication to the mission of the Virginia Hospital & Healthcare Association in the community and the Virginia General Assembly. Award recipients for 2016 are Senator George L. Barker (D-Fairfax County); Delegate M. Keith Hodges (R-Urbanna); Delegate Patrick A. Hope (D-Arlington County); Senator Janet D. Howell (D-Fairfax County); Delegate Matthew James (D-Portsmouth); Senator Stephen D. Newman (RLynchburg); Senator William M.

Barring last-minute hiccups, the Arlington County government now appears likely to get back its taxing authority for tourism promotion.

Measures to end the five-year moratorium on the taxing authority continue to move forward in Richmond:

Published Thursday, February 24, 2016 7:00 am

The House of Delegates’ Committee on Finance has OK’d a Senate bill giving Arlington back its ability to levy a surtax on hotel stays to pay for tourism. But the approval was conditioned on an amendment that could complicate the bill’s path to success.

Committee members voted 15-7 in support of a measure by state Sen. Janet Howell (D-32nd) to restore the taxing authority, which had been stripped in 2011.