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2017 Legislative Session Update - Day 1

Dear Friends,

Today the Virginia General Assembly convenes in Richmond for the 2017 Legislative Session! 
While preparing for this short session, I’ve sought feedback from constituents on which issues top their list of concerns. Unsurprisingly, the economy far and away continues to be the number one issue of respondents in my district. Although there are many important issues we will address in the General Assembly, the average Virginian is most concerned about providing for themselves and their families.
Therefore, my focus will continue to be practical ways to boost the economy and Virginia businesses, by furthering an environment in which businesses large and small may thrive, employing more Virginians along the way. With 97.7% of all businesses in Virginia classified as small businesses according to the U.S. Small Business Administration, employing 46.9% of Virginia’s employees, my focus is to ease the burdens on small business owners and encourage economic growth. One of the main complaints from small businesses in my district is the impact of  tax and regulatory burdens. Therefore, I've put in legislation to ease the tax burden on small businesses during their first five years, statistically the most difficult years for any new business. I’ve also introduced a bill to reform the BPOL tax so that businesses are taxed on their net, not their gross receipts. Finally, in order to be more competitive with border states, I’ve proposed lowering our corporate tax rate to 2.5%. 
After an exciting election year, a number of election-related concerns have arisen, prompting election reform bills; such as requiring a photo I.D. for absentee voters to limit fraud, and requiring third party groups to register with the State Board of Elections for transparency and accountability. I've also reintroduced a term limits bill, limiting members of the General Assembly to twelve years per office, and an eight year minimum residency requirement for the Governor, an increase from the current 5 year minimum. I’ve introduced a bill that has been on the dockets in previous sessions by members from both sides of the aisle;  reforming how the Commonwealth allocates its 13 electoral votes. This plan, which has been used in Maine and Nebraska, would better reflect the political diversity of Virginia. The candidates for president and vice president who win the popular vote statewide would receive the votes of the two statewide electors. The remaining eleven electoral votes would be given to the candidates who win the popular vote in each congressional district. Currently, all 13 electoral votes in Virginia are based on the statewide popular vote winner, or winner-takes-all.
We share the incredible privilege of living in the Commonwealth of Virginia, as well as many common goals. We all strive to see the Commonwealth, and its citizens, flourish. I am honored to hold the seat for the eleventh senatorial district and I am confident that if we work together, we can make Virginia even greater. 


Senator Amanda Chase

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