Governor’s budget: Coffeewood would convert to female facility

Growing Virginia’s economy and creating jobs continues to be a high priority for Republicans in the Virginia House of Delegates. This emphasis has yielded positive results as 177,300 new jobs were created over the last four years. Forbes has ranked Virginia as the number one state for doing business. Virginia’s 5.4 percent unemployment rate is the third lowest east of the Mississippi, lowest in the Southeast, and 1.8 percent lower than the average for our region.

House Bill 122 will help Culpeper-based Tanom Motors as they move forward with production of the Tanom Invader by defining it in the Code of Virginia as an autocycle and listing the requirements for licensing and registration. Virginia’s DMV worked with officials in other states to create this definition which will provide regulatory stability across state lines for Tanom, their dealers, and their customers. House Bill 122 reported unanimously out of the House Transportation Committee last week and favorable action by the full House of Delegates is expected this week.

Another bill of local interest is House Bill 165. This bill comes at the request of the Culpeper Town Council and reflects the outcome of the overwhelming approval by the citizens of Culpeper of a referendum to move the election of council members and the mayor from May to November. This bill passed the House of Delegates unanimously last week and will next be heard in Senate committee.

Laws have local and statewide impacts as does the budget. The Governor’s introduced budget proposes to close the Coffeewood Juvenile Correctional Center and to repurpose it as an adult female correctional facility in the Department of Corrections. I have reached out to incoming Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran on this topic, and participated this week in a hearing by the Public Safety Subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee on corrections issues.

The conversion of this facility has been recommended because the juvenile population continues to trend downward, but the adult female population is trending upwards. Funding and positions are provided in the budget to move approximately 170 offenders from existing state facilities to Culpeper along with approximately 130 state-responsible female offenders who are currently serving their sentences in local and regional jails.

Because the budget calls for this to be effective July 1, Department of Corrections officials are moving quickly to work with existing Coffeewood Juvenile employees regarding job opportunities at the adult facility and the retraining necessary to fill those positions. I have told corrections officials that it is my desire to work with them to prevent negative impacts on employees, their families, and the community. There will be some job disruption, but I am glad to work with and for constituents as this process moves forward.

Please contact our office with any concerns.

Reach Ed in Richmond:
Phone: (804) 698-1030