Posts Tagged ‘Tony Wilt’

Wilt Announces Appointments

April 12, 2022


Harrisonburg- Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Broadway) has been appointed by Speaker Todd Gilbert to serve on several commissions and committees for his current term in office. This includes a new appointment to the Joint Legislative Audit and Review Commission (JLARC), as well as reappointment to the Chesapeake Bay Commission and I-81 Committee.

JLARC is the General Assembly’s primary oversight body that reviews state agencies and programs to ensure taxpayer dollars are being used appropriately and to make recommendations for improvements. Staffed by a dedicated team of professionals, JLARC reports also play a vital role in legislative decision making.

“Citizens must have confidence that taxpayer dollars are being used as intended and that government programs serve their purpose. JLARC provides that review,” said Wilt. “I look forward to my service on JLARC to be an active contributor to their important mission. I also appreciate the Speaker reappointing me to the Chesapeake Bay Commission and the I-81 Committee.”

Delegate Wilt previously served on the Chesapeake Bay Commission from 2018-2020. The Commission is comprised primarily of legislators and citizen members from the three member states – Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Virginia. The group develops coordinated policy solutions that can be implemented throughout the Bay states to improve the health of the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries. Delegate Wilt currently serves on the I-81 Committee. This committee is tasked with providing advice and recommendations to the Virginia Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) regarding the development and updates to the I-81 Corridor Improvement program. This includes identifying and prioritizing projects to recommend for funding.

Wilt Dairy Bill First to be Signed by Governor Youngkin

February 14, 2022

RICHMOND- On Monday Governor Youngkin signed his first bill into law. It happened to be legislation patroned by Shenandoah Valley Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Rockingham). Taking office in mid-January, Delegate Wilt’s was the first to make it to the Governor’s desk due to the emergency status of the legislation. The bill makes several adjustments to the recently established Dairy Margin Coverage Premium Assistance Program.

“As the Commonwealth’s top industry, it’s fitting to have the first bill signed into law be one that supports our farmers and agriculture economy,” said Wilt. “This bill makes some necessary improvements to our Dairy Margin Coverage Premium Assistance Program that was established last year. Providing some assistance to our dairy farmers while also further incentivizing conservation practices is something that I have worked on for several years. I’m glad we had the opportunity to get something across the finish line last year and can build on that progress now.”

“Thank you, Governor Youngkin and Delegate Wilt, for your work to expand eligibility to the Virginia Dairy Producer Margin Coverage Premium Assistance Program,” indicated Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services (VDACS) Commissioner Joseph Guthrie. “Now, more of the Commonwealth’s dairy farmers can participate in the federal Dairy Margin Coverage program and receive tier 1 level reimbursement for their participation, when they have a resource management plan or nutrient management plan that is certified or undergoing certification by the Virginia Department of Conservation and Recreation or a local soil and water conservation district. This is a win for Virginia agriculture, for the consumer, and for environmental stewardship.

The legislation that has now become law ensures farmers can participate in the state premium assistance program, despite recent delays in the rollout of the federal farm bill program. The federal program works like an insurance policy to guard against low and volatile milk prices. The state premium assistance program helps small to mid-size dairy farmers in covering their costs to sign up for the federal program. The bill also ensures that farmers that choose to work with the federal Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) on their conservation practices are still able to participate in the premium assistance program. Dairy farmers that are interested in participating should contact VDACS for more information.

This year is the long 60 day session and is set to conclude in mid-march. Delegate Wilt has served in the House of Delegates since 2010 and represents the City of Harrisonburg and a portion of Rockingham County.

Wilt Appointed to Rules Committee

January 13, 2022

RICHMOND- On Wednesday it was announced that Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Rockingham) will serve on the powerful Rules Committee in the Virginia House of Delegates. This is in addition to his other three previous assignments on the Commerce and Energy Committee (previously Labor and Commerce); Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources Committee; and the Public Safety Committee. It was announced a few weeks ago that he will serve as Chairman of the Public Safety Committee for the current term.

The General Assembly officially got underway on Wednesday. In addition to electing a Speaker and Clerk, committee assignments were announced for all members.

“I’m honored to receive this additional committee assignment and look forward to the new challenge,” said Wilt. “As the name implies, the Rules Committee takes up matters related to how the General Assembly operates and conducts business, in addition to a myriad of other issues. How we conduct ourselves and the process with which we do things is extremely important. Without a fair legislative process that the public can have confidence in and trust, nothing else matters.”

In addition to taking up issues of how the body governs itself, the Rules Committee handles all study resolutions, official designation resolutions, and anything else the Speaker decides to send to the Committee. The Speaker, Delegate Todd Gilbert (R-Shenandoah), will serve as the Chairman of Rules in accord with the historic custom and practice of the body.

This year is the “long” 60 day session and is set to conclude in mid-march. Delegate Wilt has served in the House of Delegates since 2010 and represents the City of Harrisonburg and a portion of Rockingham County.

Wilt Renews Effort to Provide Affordable Healthcare Option for Small Business

January 11, 2022

RICHMOND- On Tuesday Delegate Tony Wilt introduced legislation to allow for a health plan option that could provide more affordable access to healthcare for many small businesses and their employees.

Delegate Wilt patroned similar legislation in 2019 and Democratic legislators took the lead in the two previous years. While the policy has enjoyed broad bipartisan support in the legislature, Governor Northam had rejected the plan. With a new Governor come Saturday, Delegate Wilt is hoping to get the bill across the finish line this year.

“This bill opens up an opportunity for coverage for many who currently have no option under the crushing premium increases we have seen in recent years,” said Wilt. “Small businesses want to provide robust benefits and take care of their employees, but with the inflationary pressures we are experiencing this continues to be a challenge,” said Wilt. “In the most recent campaign I committed to pursue this solution again if reelected, and today I’m making good on that promise!”

“Small businesses continue to struggle to find affordable health coverage options for their employees. This legislation will provide Virginia’s small businesses with an additional option for quality, more affordable health coverage through a shared risk pool with other small businesses,” said Virginia Chamber of Commerce President & CEO, Barry DuVal. “The Virginia Chamber applauds this innovative, bipartisan effort and thanks both Del. Wilt and Sen. Mason for carrying their companion bills that will improve access to quality health coverage for small business workers.”

The legislation expands the opportunity for small businesses to join under a Multiple Employer Welfare Arrangement (MEWA). A MEWA is a self-funded benefits consortium of small employers that pool together to offer their employees comprehensive, affordable group health care coverage on terms similar to those available to large employers. The bill includes a number of safeguards to ensure minimum coverage requirements and solvency of the plans.

Delegate Wilt represents the 26th House District, which encompasses Harrisonburg and part of Rockingham County. He was first elected to the House of Delegates in June of 2010.

Wilt Named Chairman of House Public Safety Committee

December 29, 2021

HARRISONBURG–Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Rockingham) issued the following statement following the announcement that he has been selected to chair the House Public Safety Committee when the General Assembly convenes in January.


“Ensuring safe communities for our citizens is a core function of state government. It is an honor to be named chair of this important committee that guides much of our policy as it relates to law enforcement, individual liberties, and criminal justice.


“The last two years we have seen efforts that restrict the ability of law enforcement to do their jobs. We have seen attacks on the rights of law-abiding citizens to protect themselves. Finally, the rights of crime victims have often been overlooked.


“I look forward to working with the incoming administration and General Assembly leaders to ensure law enforcement has the tools necessary to keep our citizens safe, secure our Second Amendment freedoms and maintain a criminal justice system that treats offenders fairly while also looking out for the interests of crime victims.


“I’m anxious to get to work in Richmond for the citizens of our Commonwealth.”

Virginia Farm Bureau Federation AgPAC Endorses Tony Wilt for 26th District House Seat

August 27, 2021

Harrisonburg – On Tuesday Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Broadway) received the endorsement of the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation (VFBF) AgPAC, a political action committee of Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, in the race for the 26th District seat in the Virginia House of Delegates.

“I am grateful to have the support of the premier organization representing Virginia farmers,” said Delegate Wilt. “As a representative of the top ag producing community in the Commonwealth, I understand how critical a vibrant agriculture sector is to our entire local economy. That’s why I have made supporting our farmers and the ag industry a focus during my time in office. Just this year we were successful in passing our legislation that provides more support and tools for our farmers to implement voluntary water quality improvements and I was also proud of our bi-partisan effort to get help for our struggling dairy industry. If reelected, I plan to continue to support policies that preserve our family farms and protect our natural resources, while guardian against ill-conceived heavy handed government mandates that will destroy local farms.”

The non-partisan VFBF AgPAC was created by Farm Bureau in 1999 and employs in-kind contributions to support candidates who can best support agriculture and Farm Bureau issues. A full list of candidates endorsed by the committee can be viewed online at vafb.com.

Delegate Wilt currently represents the 26th House District in the Virginia General Assembly. The 26th District includes the City of Harrisonburg and part of Rockingham County.

NFIB Recognizes Delegate Wilt as Guardian of Small Business

August 24, 2021

HARRISONBURG (August 23, 2021)– The National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Virginia’s leading small business advocacy organization, presented its coveted Guardian of Small Business Award to Virginia Delegate Tony Wilt Monday morning at Happy Hounds Doggie Daycare, an NFIB member and small business owner, at 300 Waterman Drive in Harrisonburg.

The Guardian of Small Business award is the most prestigious honor that NFIB bestows on legislators in recognition of their efforts to support small business. The NFIB Virginia Leadership Council, an advisory board comprised of NFIB members, voted to present the award to Delegate Wilt for his outstanding leadership on small business issues.

“I am proud to present Delegate Wilt with this prestigious small business award,” said NFIB’s State Director in Virginia, Nicole Riley. “Delegate Wilt not only has an exceptional voting record with NFIB but has demonstrated leadership on small business issues. He deserves this award thanks to his promise to keep taxes low and promote a stable and economically safe environment for our small business entrepreneurs and job creators here in Virginia.”

“I’m honored by this recognition from Virginia’s leading voice on small business issues, NFIB,” stated Wilt. “The fallout from the pandemic combined with the burdensome policy changes adopted by the majority in Richmond the last two years have made it extremely difficult for many small businesses and entrepreneurs. I will continue to push for a reasonable tax and regulatory environment that allows our small businesses the best opportunity to grow and create jobs.”

About NFIB
For more than 75 years, NFIB has been the voice of small business, advocating on behalf of America’s small and independent business owners, both in Washington, D.C., and in all 50 state capitals. NFIB is nonprofit, nonpartisan, and member-driven. Since our founding in 1943, NFIB has been exclusively dedicated to small and independent businesses and remains so today.

New Laws Update

July 1, 2021

As of July 1, legislation passed during the 2021 General Assembly session, with few exceptions, is now law. This session the Democratic majority continued advancing a significant number of their progressive priorities that I believe move the Commonwealth in the wrong direction and, without course correction, will have negative unintended consequences for years to come.

Even in this difficult political environment there are still opportunities to pass some positive bi-partisan initiatives for the citizens of the Commonwealth. This includes some of the bills I was pleased to be a part of, such as our bill to establish an enhanced tax credit for our farmers to implement best management practices, our bill to improve access to services for all students with a brain injury, as well as a bill headed by Delegate Kilgore to establish a grant program to incentivize solar development on reclaimed mine land and old industrial sites (brownfields) in order to avoid development on prime farm or forest land.

Among the more concerning new laws are those that weaken potential consequences for even the most violent and insidious crimes – even at a time when violent crime is increasing across the nation. These soft on crime measures disregard crime victims and the fact that Virginia’s existing policies allowed the Commonwealth to enjoy one of the lowest violent crime rates and the lowest recidivism (reoffend) rate in the nation. This year the majority also broke the long standard practice of prohibiting taxpayer funding of abortion – which survey after survey shows the public supports maintaining. Following the passage of the “Clean Economy Act” in 2020 that will raise electric bills significantly over the course of the next few decades, they built off this “progress” to pass an emissions standard matching California’s that will drive up transportation and vehicle costs as well.

Marijuana legalization has no doubt been the hot topic of the year and there are respectable arguments on both sides of that issue. Arguments on the general question of legalization aside, the final version of the new law contains numerous problematic aspects. Among them is the fact that we are legalizing the substance but failing to simultaneously have a system in place for a legal market to purchase it. This will allow the black market to flourish, ensuring the legal market won’t likely be able to compete once established. The bill also establishes that possession up to a pound (which I understand can be 900-1,000 joints) is only a $25 fine. Someone in possession of a pound of marijuana does not likely have it only for their personal use – they are probably dealing it. Coincidently, that $25 fine is the same fine now in place if you accidently let go of a balloon at the fair- although that fine is cumulative ($25 for each balloon).

Sometimes what didn’t pass is just as notable as what did. The General Assembly didn’t pass any provision that sought even modest progress to ensure election integrity. These included bills to reestablish the photo ID requirement and allow the opportunity to more frequently remove dead people from the voter rolls, among others. While there was bipartisan support for the bill to require that our schools be open to in-person learning five days a week in accord with CDC recommendations, unfortunately there was not support for making that effective for the remainder of the 2020-2021 school year. Could we have gained decent Democratic support on that effort, it may have salvaged at least several months of what was left of the school year. As it were, many students across the Commonwealth remained shut out from their schools and continued to struggle – putting them even further behind moving forward.

In addition to a brief list below that offers a snapshot of the legislation approved, each year the division of legislative services publishes a document that contains many of the bills signed into law that may be of direct interest/impact to many citizens. That document can be found here.

Of course, neither listing is comprehensive . For the full scope of bills signed into law or considered during the 2021 Regular or Special Session, please visit lis.virginia.gov.

If you have questions about any of the new laws or if my office might be of assistance in any way, please don’t hesitate to reach out. You can reach us by email at [email protected] or by phone at 540-208-0735.

Bills of Possible Interest:
HB 1763 Creates an enhanced income tax credit for the implementation of certain agricultural best management practices by the farmer that are required as part of a certified resource management plan.

HB 1904 requires all school teachers and officials to complete cultural competency training every 2 years, as directed by the Board of Education, or risk revocation of their teaching license.

HB 1909 permits school boards to declare any non-school zone buildings or other school property where employees work as gun-free zones.
HB 1925 establishes the Virginia Brownfield and Coal Mine Renewable Energy Grant Fund and Program.

HB 1965 directs the State Air Pollution Control Board to implement a low-emissions and zero-emissions vehicle program for motor vehicles starting with model year 2025, effectively adopting the California Vehicle Emissions Standards.

HB 2001 mandates all state and local government buildings to add electric vehicle charging materials and to add tracking technology to monitor energy efficiency and carbon emissions. Local governments are given the authority to enact even stricter requirements.

​​​​​HB 2032 includes all employees providing domestic services in employee protection laws. Private homes will be subject and open to inspection by the Dept. of Labor and Industry.

HB 2081 will ban any individuals other than law enforcement from possessing guns within 40 feet of polling places on Election Day.

HB 2159 Prohibits any individual over 16 from releasing a nonbiodegradable balloon into the air outdoors and subjects the individual to a $25 fine per balloon. If a person under age 16 releases a balloon at the instruction of an adult, the adult is subject to the $25 fine.

HB 2312 Legalizes possession of marijuana up to an ounce and allows the cultivation of a limited number of marijuana plants for personal use. Possession of up to a pound of marijuana is reduced to a $25 civil penalty. Imposes limits on dissemination of criminal history record information related to certain marijuana offenses. The bill creates the Virginia Cannabis Control Authority (the Authority), the Cannabis Oversight Commission, the Cannabis Public Health Advisory Council, the Cannabis Equity Reinvestment Board and Fund, and the Virginia Cannabis Equity Business Loan Program and Fund. Establishes a regulatory and licensing structure for the cultivation, manufacture, wholesale, and retail sale of retail marijuana and retail marijuana products, to be administered by the Authority (including pro-union access requirements). The provisions establishing a legal retail market are subject to a delayed 2024 effective date and reenactment by the 2022 Session of the General Assembly.

SB 1165 abolished the death penalty in all circumstances, including for mass murderers, terrorists, and those who kill law enforcement officers.

SB 1266 grants certain crimes — including assault, gang violence, and sex/human trafficking — a presumption for receiving bail and requires a judicial officer to consider all relevant information before denying bail.

SB 1276 repeals the ban on abortion coverage in plans offered through the state-operated exchange, allowing taxpayer funding of abortion.

SB 1303 requires all school divisions to offer full-time, in-person instruction effectively starting with the 2021-2022 school year (previous efforts to make it effective in February for the remainder of the 2020/2021 school year failed to pass).

SB 1381 makes it a Class 1 misdemeanor to carry a firearm in the Capitol Building, within Capitol Square and the surrounding area, and any state-owned building or building where state employees regularly work.

Wilt Named Brain Injury Association Legislator of the Year

June 28, 2021

Richmond- On Thursday Delegate Tony Wilt (R-Rockingham) was presented the Legislator of the Year award by the Brain Injury Association of Virginia at a ceremony in Richmond. He received the award for his work in successfully pursuing legislation benefitting individuals impacted by brain injury in both the 2020 and 2021 General Assembly Sessions.

“While I’m honored to receive this award, our success would not be possible without the support of our local Brain Injury Connections of the Shenandoah Valley, the Brain Injury Association of Virginia and advocates like local resident Amanda Morris, who presented the idea for the 2021 legislation,” said Wilt “There is always more work to be done, but I’m happy to have played a part in advancing policy that allows those with a brain injury diagnosis to receive the appropriate treatment and services that will allow them to lead productive and happy lives. We’ve already heard some practical examples of how the 2020 bill is working to improve outcomes, so hearing those real stories makes these efforts all the more worth-while.”

“Each year, the Brain Injury Association of Virginia honors a member of the Virginia General Assembly for their outstanding public service and support of the brain injury community,” stated Anne McDonnell, Executive Director of the Brain Injury Association of Virginia. “Delegate Wilt patroned bills to improve crisis responses and expand treatment options for persons with brain injury, and we are very grateful for his interest in and genuine care for those we serve.”

During the 2020 General Assembly Session Delegate Wilt advanced a bill to require a brain injury component be included in Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training for law enforcement. The intent is that a heightened awareness of brain injury and the ability to recognize signs and symptoms will lead to improved outcomes for those individuals that may be in crisis while suffering from a brain injury.


The most recent legislation Delegate Wilt carried in the 2021 Session modifies the current definition of brain injury for special education services to be more inclusive of acquired brain injuries, beyond only those obtained through external physical force. The current narrow definition may result in some students with an acquired brain injury not receiving the appropriate services or receiving services that are unnecessary. Both bills passed the General Assembly and were signed into law by Governor Northam.


Reconvene Session Update

April 8, 2021

The final business of the 2021 Regular Session and Special Session I wrapped up yesterday as we “returned” for the Reconvene Session to handle the Governor’s amendments to legislation and the budget.

Parole Board Scandal
The first noteworthy issue was the consideration of the Governor’s budget language for a non-investigation “investigation” of the Inspector General’s handling of the Vincent Martin Parole Board investigation. Despite the Governor claiming he wanted an independent investigation of the Parole Board scandal, his unserious proposal is a whitewash in hopes of making the issue go away. For starters, the scope of what the Governor put forward is so narrow that it is almost certain nothing will become of it. The Governor’s language only allows the “independent” investigator to review the actions of the Inspector General’s office in the handling of the Vincent Martin investigation. It does not even allow consideration of the Parole Board’s actions or the review of other cases outside of Vincent Martin. For example, the recent revelation of discussions between Parole Board staff and members stating they felt “drunk with power” will not be reviewed under the terms of the Governor’s investigation. Secondly, two of the parties in charge of appointing the investigator have been accused of their own inappropriate involvement in the original investigation – the Attorney General and the Governor. Additionally, the Speaker of the House and the President pro tempore are to be consulted as well in this selection- all Democrats. So much for independent or bi-partisan.

Despite efforts in the Senate to move forward with a path for a truly transparent and bi-partisan investigation, the Governor’s amendment was adopted.

Marijuana Legalization
The other major debate of the day surrounded the marijuana legalization bill. When the bill left the House during session it had its flaws, but at least it allowed time for the regulatory and retail framework to be set up before it was legalized. Majority Leader Herring stated at the time that legalizing before the retail market was established would enable the black market to grow to the degree that legal retail sales could never catch up. That was not good enough for their activists, however. Caving to the pressure, the Governor put forward a substitute that legalizes possession of up to an ounce immediately with possession up to a pound (which I understand is quite a lot of pot) being only a small fine. Meanwhile, it will still be a few years before the LEGAL retail market can be established.

The Governor knows this action will have immediate negative outcomes, that’s why he also proposed some budget funding for immediate youth prevention efforts and law enforcement training to attempt to better recognize when someone may be driving impaired. That issue has been one of my main concerns with legalization all along. Unlike alcohol, there is no definitive means for law enforcement to know or prove when someone is driving impaired because they are high. When I questioned the Majority Leader on the floor yesterday, she acknowledged no objective means currently exists. By acknowledging that more people will be driving while high, we must also acknowledge this will likely mean more accidents and tragedy on our roadways – which has been an unfortunate reality in other states that have legalized marijuana.

To top it off, the Governor added provisions to his substitute that really have nothing to do with marijuana, but that have everything to do with continuing the back-door effort to fully dismantle Virginia’s right to work law. The substitute includes a number of pro-union positions. These include a requirement for private licensed businesses in the legal marijuana industry to grant unfettered access to their private businesses and property for union organizing efforts. It also forces these businesses to remain neutral in unionization attempts, implements card check requirements which potentially destroy employees right to a secret ballot and his substitute institutes prevailing wage requirements. It’s certainly a bag of goodies for the unions. Of course this will serve as the precedent to mandate these requirements on all licensed businesses down the road. If a business does not adhere to these pro-union policies they lose their license and their ability to operate.

Unsurprisingly, the Governor’s substitute for this bill also passed on a largely party line vote.

Final Update on My Legislation
Prior to the Reconvene session, I had two bills that were signed into law by the Governor.

The first is our initiative to establish a new tax credit that will cover 50% of the cost of best management practices that farmers wish to implement on their farms to aid water quality improvement efforts. The idea for an enhanced tax credit for our farmers was one of the recommendations included in the latest roadmap for restoring the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries, so I’m glad to see it come to fruition. Along with existing cost-share and other programs, this will further assist in the effort to improve water quality and meet our goals without the need for heavy-handed government intervention.

Anyone interested in this new enhanced tax credit will work with their local soil and water conservation district office. Given that the new credit does not officially go into effect until after July 1, the agencies will be taking the next few months to develop the finer details of how it will be administered. However, I should note the program does contain a $2 million cap in the total amount of credits that can be issued a year, so anyone that is interested should not delay too late in the year to inquire.

The Governor also signed our bill that modifies the definition of brain injury for special education purposes. This bill is more inclusive of acquired brain injuries, beyond only those obtained through external physical force (blunt force). The current narrow definition can result in some students with an acquired brain injury not receiving the appropriate services or receiving services that are unnecessary.

This bill was originally brought to me by a constituent whose son experienced difficulties in receiving the appropriate services, at least in part due to the current narrow definition that is in place. For a more in-depth look at this issue, WMRA recently did an interview with the constituent, Mrs. Morris, and Cindy Noftsinger, another critical stakeholder involved in moving this legislation forward. You can find that story here.

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