This week our work in the General Assembly is in full swing. I have submitted all my legislation for consideration and am now presenting bills before committees in the House. Today, one of my bills, HB216, passed unanimously out of the General Laws committee and will now be heard on the House floor on the “uncontested calendar” which means no one objected to the bill in committee. This is a bill requested by the Cities of Newport New and Hampton to clarify the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act when it comes to local officials attending city events.
I have three human trafficking prevention bills making their way through the House General Laws committee. Human trafficking is a persistent problem in Virginia with our major highways, airports and tourist areas. We need to build more awareness in the community about how to detect and report suspected cases of trafficking. Here are the three anti-human trafficking bills I am carrying this session:
- HB257 directs the Virginia State Crime Commission (VSCC) to create a common definition of human trafficking that may be entered into Virginia Code and accepted by local and state agencies. The VSCC must form a stakeholder work group to contribute to the creation of definition.
- HB258 allows the Department of Criminal Justice Services to create mandatory trainging for hotel employees to recognize the signs of human trafficking. This strengthens training measures to ensure the protection of citizens in Newport News and the rest of the Commonwealth. This bill has been garnering lots of attention in the media.
- HB260 requires all victim services providers to obtain and renew every two years, certification through the Human Trafficking Victim Support Certification Program. This program will be developed by the Sex Trafficking Response Coordinator within the Department of Criminal Justice Services.
Thank you for taking time to read this newsletter and to those of you who have emailed me about upcoming legislation. It is the honor of my life to serve you in the Virginia House of Delegates. Please stay safe during the winter weather this weekend!
Delegate Shelly Simonds
Meet the Legislative Team
Ken Wright is Delegate Simonds’ Legislative Assistant and Chief of Staff. He assists the Delegate with legislation, holds meetings, scheduling, constituent services, and manages the office email. Ken has experience working on campaigns and nonprofits in member and public engagement. He enjoys working for Delegate Simonds because of her drive to help others. He also values her experience in education and knowledge of education and election issues.
Ken is originally from Winston Salem, North Carolina and has family in the Hampton Roads region. He has a diverse family background which led him to politics. Ken was inspired by both of his grandmother’s civic engagement through social work, the arts and environmental issues. Ken values equity and opportunity, a living wage, and working towards a world where no child is limited by their background or financial status. When Ken is off the clock he enjoys playing music, chess and hanging out with his kitten named Banjo.
Kameron Clarke is serving as Delegate Simonds Session Aide and Communications Director. She assists with scheduling, managing office emails, social media posts and the weekly newsletter. Kameron has experience in policy administration and campaigns and served as field coordinator during Delegate Simonds 2021 re-election campaign.
Kameron is originally from Alexandria, Virginia and is the granddaughter of Newport News residents. She learned the importance of civic engagement from her parents and has always had a passion for bettering her community through politics. Kameron values gender and racial equality, and hopes for a more equitable Virginia. In her free time, Kameron is an avid runner, enjoys taking care of her houseplants and spending time with her beloved cat Jax.
Photos from this Week
Delegate Simonds enjoyed zooming with Karen Garner and members of the Alzheimer’s Association during their advocacy day. She also recognized them in a speech on the House floor.
Commissioner of the Revenue Tiffany Boyle visited Delegate Simonds in her office with Valerie Gains, Chief of Staff, and Timothy Turek, Deputy Administrator.
Delegate Simonds enjoyed practicing her Spanish with members of CASA during their lobby day for the Latino Community.
Delegates together on the floor of the House Chamber honoring teachers by wearing “Red for Ed” on Wednesday.