Newly-elected state Sen. Scott Surovell has several bills of in the hopper down in Richmond, including efforts to address the coal ash dilemma at Possum Point and extend Metro to Potomac Mills.
On Saturday morning, he’ll tell residents where things stand.
Surovell will hold his first Prince William Town Hall meeting tomorrow, Jan. 30, from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Dumfries City Government Office Council Chambers, 17755 Main St.
Surovell, a Democrat, is a former state delegate who won the 36th District state senate seat last November in a contest against Dumfries Mayor Jerry Foreman, a Republican. The seat had been held by Linda “Toddy” Puller, also a Democrat, who announced her retirement last year.
Surovell has a total of 47 resolutions in the mix for this year’s session of the General Assembly, which began Jan. 13.
Surovell had hoped to pass new laws aimed at tightening regulations on car-title and consumer lenders, but those efforts have already been scuttled in committee hearings.
But several other Surovell initiatives were still alive this week, including a bill that would require Dominion Virginia Power to dispose millions of tons of coal ash at its four waterfront power plants – including Possum Point -- to synthetically-lined landfills away from water sources.
That’s the strategy being used in North Carolina and South Carolina, and it’s preferred by environmentalists.
Also, regarding coal ash, Surovell is asking for a budget amendment to pay for testing of all resident drinking wells in the vicinity of Dominion’s coal ash pits.
“Any homeowner near those sites should be entitled to have their water tested,” Surovell said.
Surovell is also asking for $2 million to study an extending Metro’s blue line from Springfield to Potomac Mills as well as study to determine if state residents could be reimbursed for at least some of the money they pay on the year-old, high-occupancy toll lanes.
The idea, Surovell says, is that state residents have already paid to build the roads with their tax dollars and shouldn’t have to pay the same amount as non-residents to use the roads.
Also still in play is a Surovell effort to amend the Virginia Freedom of Information Act to make clear that local elected boards cannot retreat into closed session to discuss raising their own salaries.
The issue made news last June, when the Prince William County Board of Supervisors went into closed session, in part, to discuss giving themselves a raise.
Supervisors Pete Candland, R-Gainesville, and Jeanine Lawson, R-Brentsville, publicly protested the move. In August, the Virginia Freedom of Information Advisory Council issued an opinion saying the Prince William board acted improperly by using the personnel exemption to discuss their salaries in closed session.
Surovell said he came up with the idea for his bill after reading that County Attorney Michelle Robl and Board Chairman Corey Stewart, R-At Large, also an attorney, said they believed current exemptions to the law allowed the board to discuss the matter in closed session.
“If there’s any lawyer who thinks they can use FOIA law exemptions for that, we need to make sure they know they cannot,” Surovell said.