2024 Session of the General Assembly

….,Timmy continues to fight to protect our Second Amendment rights.  He understands the importance of providing law abiding citizens with the means to protect and defend themselves.  He also recognizes that in today’s environment there are many who are diligently working to take our Second Amendment rights away….

On Saturday, March 9, the 2024 Session of the General Assembly adjourned sine die marking the end of my first session.  It was an honor to serve as your Senator.

Since I was sworn-in on January 10th I have faced difficult decisions that others didn’t always agree with, but the first question I always asked was “how will this affect the families who reside in District 1?”  There were over 2,000 bills introduced this session and over 1,000 bills passed and were sent to the Governor. Many of those bills passed on party lines.  

It is extremely concerning to me that the various party line legislation that successfully went through both houses neglected to protect the gun rights of law-abiding citizens and failed to promote small business policies  

I had the opportunity to speak on the floor of the Senate to express my strong opposition to the Minimum Wage increase. Once again this legislation passed with the full support of the Democratic majority.  There were no republicans in the Senate or the House who supported this measure and the devastating consequences that go with such an increase.  The language included takes minimum wage from the current rate of $12 an hour to $13.50 effective Jan 1 2025 and to $15.00 effective Jan 1 2026. For small businesses facing the challenges of today's economy, an increase in minimum wage creates a hardship most may not be able to overcome.

This was a budget year and the General Assembly along with the Governor are responsible for passing a two-year (biennial) budget for the Commonwealth. The leadership in both the House and Senate spent a great deal of time and energy crafting a budget that was voted on the last day of session. After much thought and deliberation, I voted against the budget.  

While there are a number of positive components, overall, I could not support it because priorities were added that will adversely burden hard working people and poorly impact our business environment and Virginia’s economy as a whole.    There are over two billion dollars in tax increases along with mandating that Virginia join the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiatives (REGGI).  Despite my disagreement, the budget did pass both the Senate & the House of Delegates and was sent to the Governor.  I will return to Richmond on April 17th for the Reconvened Session to consider the Governor's proposed amendments to the budget and other legislation. 

I wanted to provide an update regarding the amendment I introduced for the reconstruction of the Clermont Farm Barn.  
In a call with the Governor's staff I learned this funding was included in the 2024 - 2026 Biennium Budget and that House appropriations confirmed that 1.3 million has been designated for this project.  However, please keep in mind the budget process still has multiple steps to complete before a final budget is approved. I am optimistic this amendment will stay in place and the Clermont Farm Barn will have the funding needed to finish construction. 

Thank you to all who visited me during session and for those who contacted my office to share concerns and support.  Together we will work to keep common sense legislation at the forefront.  My experience in Richmond confirms the immediate need to elect Republicans to serve at every level of our government.  

Please contact me at senatorfrench@senate.virginia.gov