General Assembly Roundup: Mark Keam
Wins, losses from the 2011 session
RICHMOND — Legislators can finally get some rest now that the 2011 General Assembly session is done. Still, they can’t get too comfortable because the redistricting and vetoing sessions take place in April.
Let's take a look back at the wins and losses of Vienna's delegate, Mark Keam.
Del. Mark Keam
It was only a year ago Del. Mark Keam (D-35th District) became the first Korean-American and first Asian-born immigrant to be sworn into the Virginia General Assembly. During this year’s session, 33 percent of his bills passed both houses.
He successfully passed these bills and budget amendments.
- Computer and digital forensic services: exempts computer and digital forensics experts from having to hold unrelated private investigator licenses in order to prepare and present expert testimony in litigation.
- Local professional license violations: makes a statue of limitations for local licensure violations by providing that prosecution of misdemeanors of professional licensure requirements imposed by a locality must commence within a year of the discovery of the offense by the complainant, but not later than five years after the offense happened.
- Commitment on parole supervision: implements a recommendation from the Virginia Prisoner and Juvenile Offender Re-entry Council, giving local jurisdictions more time to successfully re-integrate ex-juvenile offenders into their community. The bill was incorporated into legislation introduced by Del. Chris Peace (R-97th District).
- State boards: requires volunteer citizens who serve on state boards or commissions to receive travel reimbursements through the Electronic Data Interchange Program.
- Real estate tax: implementing the Constitutional Amendment letting local governments provide real property tax relief for eligible and qualified elderly or totally and permanently disabled homeowners.
- Emergency medical services personnel: requires the Commissioner of Health to consider military training when determining the requirements for certification as an Emergency Medical Technician in Virginia.
- Budget Amendment Item 3-5.08 #1h exempts most small businesses from having to prepay their June sales tax receipts one month early. The amendment would raise the qualification amount under the payment program from $1 million to $12 million in sales. There would be a tax relief to about 80 percent of small businesses in Virginia.
- Budget Amendment Item 132 #3h increases the cap on state aid to Thomas Jefferson High School for Science and Technology by providing 50 more student slots per year. The conference report of the budget includes $66,000 for this provision.
These are some of the other bills and resolutions Keam proposed that did not make it through both houses.
- Local building officials: gives local building officials authority to issue summonses for violations of statues.
- Liability insurance: bans insurers from denying coverage under a claims-made liability insurance policy.
- Spousal support: gives courts authority to order a party to keep its existing life insurance, when dealing with spousal support or separate maintenance.
- Hunting: allows people to hunt any wild bird or wild animal on Sundays. (Also another bill that would allow people to hunt with a bow and arrow or crossbow on Sundays.
- Commissioners of the revenue: authorizing revenue commissioners to examine books and records for sales tax purposes.
- Judicial review: allows, for the purpose of judicial review, any parent, custodian, or legal guardian of a school-age child, be eligible to attend a school directly affected by an action of the local school board shall presumptively be considered to be aggrieved by such action.
- Veterans: requests the Department of Veterans Services to study certification and licensing opportunities.
Keam said he will hold off until after redistricting occurs to announce his plans for re-election, but he would like to continue serving the 35th District. After discussing his options with his family and supporters, he will announce re-election plans in April.