4 Bills Backed By Reston's New Legislator Passed By House Of Delegates

RESTON, VA — Del. Karen Keys-Gamarra (D-Reston) was elected in November to succeed Reston’s long-time delegate Ken Plum. As of Saturday, the freshman lawmaker already had four bills passed in the Virginia House of Delegates.

“Two are related to education,” she told Patch on Saturday. “One specifically trying to make sure our services to homeless students are appropriate [HB 168]. The second one is providing guidance with respect to composting, because I understand environmental issues are extremely important to our area. [HB 166] “

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Keys-Gamarra is also a chief co-patron on maternal health review legislation, which the house of delegates passed on a 76 to 23 vote on Jan. 31. A day later, the Senate referred the bill to the committee on education and health.

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“We have some very high rates of death that are inappropriate in the state of Virginia,” she said. “It’s very significant, especially when you look at other states. We want to make sure that we can get the data we need in order to change those trends.”

Related: Keys-Gamarra, Alcorn, Meren, Boysko Elected To Represent Reston

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On Thursday, the house voted unanimously (99-0) to refer Keys-Gamarra’s fourth bill, HB 171, to the Senate. She said the bill would improve the way that court documents are processed, making the process more convenient for the average person. The bill was referred to the Senate Committee for Courts of Justice on Friday.

Patch interviewed Keys-Gamarra at McLean High School, following Saturday’s town hall meeting on Senate Bill 675, the “Tysons casino” bill.

“I first heard about this proposal right around the time just after the primaries,” she said, during the meeting. “I was thinking, ‘Well, which elected official from these areas suggested it?’ When I saw no hand raised, I thought, ‘That’s interesting.'”

Related: ‘Kill Casino Bill,’ Hundreds Call On Lawmakers To Oppose SB 675

None of candidates who represented Tysons, McLean, or Vienna, the areas most directly impacted by a casino being built in Tysons, introduced SB 675. Instead, Sen. Dave Marsden (D-Burke) was the bill’s chief patron.

“As much as I am very much against this, I had so much fun, as soon as I knew I had won, talking to my new colleagues and explaining the concept of representation, the Boston Tea Party, the whole thing,” Keys-Gamarra said, eliciting laughter from the town hall audience.

On Monday, the Senate Finance and Appropriations Committee voted to hold over SB 675 on a 13-2 vote, with one abstention, effectively killing the bill for the 2024 legislative session.

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