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Bell gives citizen legislator awards for help in passing laws

Sometimes even legislators need a little help creating laws.

Delegate Rob Bell, R-Albemarle, honored 16 Virginians for their help in creating and passing a baker’s dozen of laws, including two who worked on two bills passed by the General Assembly.

The bills were passed into law in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 legislative sessions.

Bell gave his Citizen Lawmaker awards at a Thursday event at the Central Branch of the Jefferson Madison Regional Library.

There were seven laws passed in the 2020 session sponsored and supported by citizens. They were:

Catherine Gardner, who worked on HB 342 to exempt up to $2,500 in income from farmers market sales from meals tax or food and beverage taxes.

Nancy Gill, who worked on HB 345 to amend the Scottsville town charter to allow staggered terms for town council elections, among other changes.

Helen Dunn and William Shifflett, on behalf of Albemarle County Public Schools, for supporting HB 351 that now allows retired school bus drivers to get back behind the wheel without impact on retirement benefits at times of critical driver shortages.

John Shephard, for his work on HB 370 to repeal law forbidding election officials from also serving on a board of zoning appeals.

Leza Sisley, for working on HB 664 to addresses the needs of first responders for testing for diseases like hepatitis after being exposed to body fluids of someone who died.

Eileen Gomez, Kristina O’Meara and Emily Sims, on behalf of Baker-Butler Elementary School, for working on HB 860 that allows school nurses to stock and administer albuterol inhalers, and provides Good Samaritan protections for their use.

Richard Schmack and his daughter Erika, for work on HB 1573 that increases penalties for dog and cat owners who allow their animals to run at-large after being notified that the animal is suspected of having rabies.

In the most recent General Assembly session six bills were passed into law with help from area residents. The people receiving Bell’s awards and the laws they worked on are:

Tracy Morris, for HB 740 that made stealing a catalytic converter a felony and requires increased record keeping by scrap metal purchasers.

Maggie DeBoard, for her work on HB 741 that requires school districts to create detailed and accurate floor plans for each public school when creating annual school safety audits.

Daniel Gochenour for HB 745 that allows respiratory therapists to practice while their licensure is pending.

Nathan Creighton, and the Ruckersville Volunteer Fire Company, for passing HB 746 to create the Volunteer Fire Department Training Fund. The fund reimburses volunteer fire departments for the costs of training. It also created a study group on ways to providing cost-effective training for volunteer departments and firefighters

Camille Cooper, for HB 749 that allows funds from the Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Victim Fund to pay salaries and purchase equipment for sexual assault nurses, forensic examiners and pediatric nurse examiners.

Helen Dunn and William Shifflett, again on behalf of Albemarle schools, for HB 1146 that adds options for training and testing school bus drivers.


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