In these final days leading to crossover, the term used to describe when bills passed in each house of the General Assembly are presented to the other for consideration, the pace of activity has markedly increased.

In this, my first session, I am pleased to have the opportunity to make the voice of Southside Virginia known during these debates.

Prior to assuming this office, Don Merricks wisely informed me of the importance found in not only what legislation is passed, but also in what potential legislation is killed.  As a member of the Courts of Justice Committee, I have seen firsthand the accuracy of this observation.

Of the many standing committees in the House of Delegates, the Courts of Justice Committee is responsible for the heaviest docket. This year, Courts of Justice was assigned nearly 300 bills for consideration, more than any other House committee. 

I am told that this amount is the most considered by the committee since 2007, accounting for roughly one-fifth of the total bills introduced this session.

Many of the proposals we consider draw heated debate and meetings routinely last for several hours.

I wish to thank all of you who have spoken with me about the potential impact of legislation we have considered. 

As always, I welcome your calls and insight with the knowledge that a mistake in policy could lead to destructive results.

Decisions made in the Courts of Justice Committee have a direct impact on citizens and their children. I want you to know that I take this responsibility very seriously.

Another serious issue that my colleagues from Southside Virginia and I are intent on addressing is with regard to the recent Duke Energy coal ash spill into the Dan River. 

My office has been in contact with the Department of Environmental Quality, leaders of the Roanoke River Basin, and local government officials to monitor this situation.

The Southside delegation has also been briefed by state agency heads on this matter.

We are told that releases from the North Carolina facility have finally been stopped. 

Reportedly, surface water quality results continue to trend in a positive direction and will be monitored over the next several weeks. 

I understand that data sampling for the Kerr Reservoir has been initiated and sampling points are being expanded.

Safety failures like this are deeply troubling and highlight the continuing importance that public policy decisions are made with the utmost consideration for public safety and the protection of our rivers and water sources.

As I have made clear from day one, I will never forget this obligation.

Del. Les Adams of Chatham represents the 16th District, which includes most of Pittsylvania County as well as Martinsville and part of Henry County.

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