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Legislative Update

Warner, Warren introduce legislation to hold credit reporting agencies accountable



WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Mark R. Warner (D-VA) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) introduced today the Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act to hold large credit reporting agencies (CRAs)—including Equifax—accountable for data breaches involving consumer data. The bill would give the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) more direct supervisory authority over data security at CRAs, impose mandatory penalties on CRAs to incentivize adequate protection of consumer data, and provide robust compensation to consumers for stolen data.

In September 2017, Equifax announced that hackers had stolen sensitive personal information – including Social Security Numbers, birth dates, credit card numbers, driver’s license numbers, and passport numbers – of over 145 million Americans. The attack highlighted that CRAs hold vast amounts of data on millions of Americans but lack adequate safeguards against hackers. Since 2013, Equifax has disclosed at least four separate hacks in which sensitive personal data was compromised.

“In today’s information economy, data is an enormous asset. But if companies like Equifax can’t properly safeguard the enormous amounts of highly sensitive data they are collecting and centralizing, then they shouldn’t be collecting it in the first place,” said Sen. Warner. “This bill will ensure that companies like Equifax – which gather vast amounts of information on American consumers, often without their knowledge – are taking appropriate steps to secure data that’s central to Americans’ identity management and access to credit.”

“The financial incentives here are all out of whack – Equifax allowed personal data on more than half the adults in the country to get stolen, and its legal liability is so limited that it may end up making money off the breach,” said Sen. Warren. “Our bill imposes massive and mandatory penalties for data breaches at companies like Equifax – and provides robust compensation for affected consumers – which will put money back into peoples’ pockets and help stop these kinds of breaches from happening again.”

The Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act would establish an Office of Cybersecurity at the FTC tasked with annual inspections and supervision of cybersecurity at CRAs. It would impose mandatory, strict liability penalties for breaches of consumer data beginning with a base penalty of $100 for each consumer who had one piece of personal identifying information (PII) compromised and another $50 for each additional PII compromised per consumer. To ensure robust recovery for affected consumers, the bill would also require the FTC to use 50% of its penalty to compensate consumers and would increase penalties in cases of woefully inadequate cybersecurity or if a CRA fails to timely notify the FTC of a breach.

The Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act is supported by cybersecurity experts and consumer groups:

“U.S. PIRG commends Senators Warren and Warner for the Data Breach Prevention and Compensation Act. It will ensure that credit bureaus protect your information as if you actually mattered to them and it will both punish them and compensate you when they fail to do so,” said U.S. PIRG Consumer Program Director, Ed Mierzwinski.

“This bill establishes much-needed protections for data security for the credit bureaus. It also imposes real and meaningful penalties when credit bureaus, entrusted with our most sensitive financial information, break that trust,” said National Consumer Law Center staff attorney, Chi Chi Wu.

“Senator Warner and Senator Warren have proposed a concrete response to a serious problem facing American consumers,” said Electronic Privacy Information Center President, Marc Rotenberg.

“This bill creates greater incentive for these companies to handle our data with care and gives the Federal Trade Commission the tools that it needs to hold them accountable,” said Director of Consumer Protection and Privacy at Consumer Federation of America, Susan Grant.

Sen. Warner has been a leader in calling for better consumer protections from data theft. Following the Equifax data breach, Sen. Warner asked the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) to examine whether credit reporting agencies such as Equifax have adequate cybersecurity safeguards in place for “the enormous amounts of sensitive data they gather and commercialize.” He slammed the credit bureau for its cybersecurity failures and weak response at a Banking Committee hearing with Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Chairman Jay Clayton last year. Similarly, in the aftermath of the 2013 Target breach that exposed the debit and credit card information of 40 million customers, Sen. Warner chaired the first congressional hearing on protecting consumer data from the threat posed by hackers targeting retailers’ online systems. Sen. Warner has also partnered with the National Retail Federation to establish an information sharing platform that allows the industry to better protect consumer financial information from data breaches.

To view a fact sheet about the legislation, click here. The bill text can be found here.

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Legislative Update

Goodlatte applauds House passage of the 2018 Farm Bill



WASHINGTON, DC – Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the statement below regarding the House of Representative’s passing the Agriculture and Nutrition Act of 2018:

“It has been a privilege to serve as a member of the Farm Bill Conference Committee and I am pleased to have voted today with my colleagues in the House to pass the 2018 Farm Bill.
The Farm Bill is the most important piece of legislation affecting American agriculture.

Over the past five years, America’s farmers have persevered through a nearly 50-percent drop in net farm income. This legislation provides the stability America’s farmers, ranchers, and rural communities need. Further, the Farm Bill legalizes the production of hemp as an agricultural commodity and removes it from the list of controlled substances. The well-balanced reforms in this Farm Bill will strengthen business opportunities and provide stability for farmers and rural communities for the next five years.

It has been a true privilege to represent the interests of farmers in Virginia’s Sixth District. I look forward to seeing agriculture remain a vital part of the American economy.”

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Legislative Update

Senate passes bipartisan legislation Kaine cosponsored to strengthen veteran-owned small businesses



WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate unanimously passed bipartisan legislation that was cosponsored by U.S. Senator Tim Kaine and introduced by Senator Tammy Duckworth to help entrepreneurs grow their small businesses and expand economic opportunity. The Veterans Small Business Enhancement Act, which now heads to the U.S. House of Representatives, would allow veteran small business owners to acquire equipment and property that the federal government no longer has a use for by adding veterans to the list of eligible recipients for federal surplus personal property, which already includes women and minority small business owners as well as Veterans Service Organizations.

“When the men and women who have tirelessly served our nation come home and begin new careers in their communities, we owe them our support,” Kaine said. “That’s why one of my top priorities in the Senate has been easing servicemembers’ transition from active duty to the civilian workforce. I’m excited that this commonsense legislation brings us closer to that goal by helping veterans who own small businesses thrive and in turn strengthen their communities.”

Kaine has focused in the Senate on supporting veterans, servicemembers, and their families. He’s been a leader on efforts to reduce unemployment for veterans and military spouses and ensure those who serve our nation receive the health care and benefits they were promised. The first bill Kaine introduced in the Senate – the Troop Talent Act of 2013 – was a bill to ease the transition for servicemembers into the civilian workforce. This year, Kaine introduced two bills — the Military Spouse Employment Act of 2018 and the Jobs and Childcare for Military Families Act of 2018 — to reduce military spouse unemployment and support military families. Key provisions of these two military spouse bills were signed into law as part of the Fiscal Year 2019 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA).

The General Services Administration (GSA) has overseen distribution of federal surplus personal property for 15 years in partnership with the Small Business Administration (SBA) and State Agencies for Surplus Property (SASP) through the Federal Surplus Property Donation Program. When there is no federal need for excess property, SASPs disburse the property to eligible recipients who otherwise may have been unable to acquire it. This legislation is supported by the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), the National Association of State Agencies for Surplus Property (NASASP), and the American Legion.

American Legion National Commander Brett P. Reistad has previously said: “The American Legion supports legislation that would give veteran-owned small businesses access to surplus federal property. Unclaimed surplus property costs the federal government millions of dollars to dispose of or maintain every year. This same surplus property may help small businesses offset the overhead expenses associated with opening a storefront or office, which benefits the United States.”

There are more than 2.5 million veteran-owned small businesses across the country, including approximately 76,000 in Virginia. As more Iraq and Afghanistan-era veterans transition out of the military and begin their next career, this number will only increase.

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Legislative Update

Senator Tim Kaine: Our progress to combat Alzheimer’s disease



WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Tim Kaine (D-VA), a member of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, applauded Committee passage of legislation he introduced with Senator Susan Collins (R-ME) called the Building Our Largest Dementia (BOLD) Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act. This legislation would build out the systems necessary to create a public health infrastructure to combat Alzheimer’s disease and promote brain health. In addition to Kaine and Collins, the bill was also sponsored by Senators Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV) and Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV). The legislation will now advance to the full Senate for consideration.

Senator Kaine’s family, like nearly 150,000 families in Virginia, knows what it’s like to have a loved one with Alzheimer’s. Kaine has repeatedly called for action to combat this disease. During the HELP Committee’s markup of the legislation today, Kaine discussed how important passing the BOLD Act is to millions of American families.

“Everybody in this place has an Alzheimer’s story that’s directly related to their family. I have a sister-in-law who was diagnosed at age 54, and in just casual conversations with colleagues we all have these stories and that’s not just the United States Senate, that’s the entire American population,” Kaine said. “Over 150,000 Virginians have Alzheimer’s. That number is expected to grow by 35 percent in the next 10 years. And it’s interesting: 150,000 plus with Alzheimer’s, the number of family caretakers in Virginia is 460,000. So it’s about 3 family caretakers for every person that has Alzheimer’s and I think those of us who have experience know how complex the caretaking arrangements are and how much our caretakers need support. So I’m very happy to work together with Senator Collins on this.”

Ahead of the vote at the hearing, Ranking Member of the HELP Committee Senator Patty Murray said, “Alzheimer’s, which affects one in ten people over age 65, is a devastating disease. It is hard on patients fighting to hold on to cherished memories and a feeling of loss of control in their daily lives. It is hard on family members, on friends, on caregivers who are often the family members trying to help a loved on grapple with the day to day challenges of the disease while coping with their own grief and daily needs. This bill takes important steps to bolster our public health response to Alzheimer’s with new partnerships, new tools, and new efforts to build a better support system to ease the burden for families who are affected by Alzheimer’s.”

“The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act is an important step to bolster our public health response to Alzheimer’s, a devastating disease impacting millions of Virginians and other Americans,” said Alzheimer’s Association Chief Public Policy Officer, Robert Egge. “We are grateful to Senator Kaine for his support of the bill and his contributions to advance policies to improve the lives of all those affected by Alzheimer’s.”

This legislation would apply a public health approach to Alzheimer’s disease by establishing a modern infrastructure for the prevention, treatment, and care of Alzheimer’s and related dementias. Coordinated primarily by the Centers of Disease and Prevention (CDC), it would establish:

Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Dementias Public Health Centers of Excellence dedicated to promoting effective Alzheimer’s disease and caregiving interventions as well as educating public health officials, health care professionals, and the public on the most current information and research related to Alzheimer’s disease, including cognitive decline, brain health, and health disparities.

Cooperative Agreements awarded to State, Local, and Tribal Health Departments to develop and carry out evidence-based Alzheimer’s interventions, including supporting early detection and diagnosis, reducing the risk of potentially avoidable hospitalizations, improving caregiver support and care planning, among others.

Improved Data Analysis and Timely Reporting that would help ensure that data on Alzheimer’s, such as cognitive decline, caregiving, and health disparities are analyzed and disseminated to the public in a timely manner.

The BOLD Infrastructure for Alzheimer’s Act is supported by the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s Impact Movement, National Association of Chronic Disease Directors, and the National Association of Counties. Click HERE and HERE to read their letters of support.

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Legislative Update

Congressman Bob Goodlatte: Reflection on my time of service



Along the highways and byways in Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District, I’ve spent countless hours and over a million miles driving during my 26 years in the United States House of Representatives. During the weekly journeys from my home in Roanoke to my workplace on Capitol Hill and on all the trips in between visiting every corner of the Sixth District, I’ve reflected on the trust placed in me to represent more than 760,000 individuals. I learned long ago that in order to do the job, I would never forget the responsibilities of a servant leader. I’ve shared the experiences of my job through this weekly column. This will be the last of 1,350 of them.

Public service is a higher calling. America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles and the men and women who’ve heeded the call to serve since our nation’s birth have understood those foundational guidelines. Those principles are in the words of countless American leaders, like those of General Douglas MacArthur: “A true leader has the confidence to stand alone, the courage to make tough decisions, and compassion to listen to the needs of others.”

As I’ve served as Congressman, I’ve been mindful of the solemn responsibility to listen to and “stand in” for those constituents throughout the Sixth District. I’ve enjoyed meeting them in my offices, at events I’ve hosted and at community events like lawn parties and parades and festivals, and at the businesses and civic groups large and small I’ve been invited to speak to in the Roanoke Valley, the Shenandoah Valley, the Alleghany Highlands, and the Blue Ridge Mountains. Those constituents shared their concerns, their hopes, and their dreams with me; they’ve voiced support for my work and they’ve also let me know why they’ve disagreed with my positions. I’ll be forever thankful for witnessing each of them express themselves as active participants in our Constitutional republic.

My service in the Sixth District also required paying close attention to constituent needs related to government agencies. Every day presented an endless variety of requests for assistance. I’ve been here to assist folks who needed help with federal benefits, the status of tax returns and immigration paperwork, and expediting passports for long-planned family adventures. I’ve helped arrange and even accompanied constituents on tours of the United States Capitol. Through the years, I’ve hosted hundreds of town and tele-town hall meetings. I’ve drawn attention to what I considered government wrongdoing affecting my constituents’ well-being and then shared in my constituents’ relief when problems that lingered for years were resolved. I’ve also visited with each and every young man and woman whom I’ve nominated to our military academies, glimpsing in each one of them the future of what it means to serve our country.

I’ve been moved many times over by the unique opportunity to have served in the world’s longest-serving deliberative body. It’s allowed me to work with colleagues in the House with whom I now share lasting friendships and for whom I will always have unending respect. We each chose to devote a portion of our adult lives to debating the issues and then setting out to create legislation on a myriad of subjects – supporting our military; making it easier to participate in our dynamic economy; and promoting the freedom to live, work, worship, and play in the land of the free.

From the start of my service in Congress, I’ve been joined by another set of colleagues – my staff. The individuals who have worked for me in Washington, D.C. – including on the
Agriculture and Judiciary Committees – and in my Roanoke, Lynchburg, Staunton, and Harrisonburg offices are devoted men and women, plain and simple. They are my eyes, ears, and
even my voice in representing me by fielding phone calls, greeting visitors, and attending countless meetings and events when I can’t be present in the Congressional district that I’m thankful to call my home. I’ve been fortunate to hire those folks – my fellow public servants. I’ve been moved by their breadth of knowledge, their advice on complicated issues, and their abiding commitment to helping my constituents. I will be forever grateful to them for choosing to join me in the public arena and for their unending support.

And from the moment I made my decision to first run for Congress until I announced I would step aside at the end of my present term, my family has served as my bedrock, the essence of why I could choose to serve as an elected official and, now, to enter a time of reflection and some relaxation before I move on to a new venture. With the eternal love of my wife Maryellen, my daughter Jennifer, and my son Bobby — and more recently my son-in-law Matt and my granddaughters — I’ve dutifully reported to Capitol Hill for going on 26 years.

Soon, I’ll make my final drive from my offices in the Rayburn House Office Building for one last work-related trip through what I consider the most beautiful and friendliest Congressional district in the country. I offer my deepest heartfelt thanks to those who elected me to serve in the House of Representatives. It’s a privilege a select few have been entrusted with in America’s history. I was blessed to be able to serve for a quarter century plus one year and to do deeply rewarding work from my first day in Congress. It’s been the honor of my life to have spent this time in service.

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Legislative Update

Army Captain Andrew Patrick Ross from the Shenandoah Valley was one of three servicemen killed in Afghanistan on Tuesday.



Photo courtesy of DoD

WASHINGTON, DC –Congressman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) issued the statement below regarding the passing of United States Army Captain Andrew Ross:

“It saddens me to recognize Captain Andrew Patrick Ross, one of our United States who grew up in Lexington, Virginia, within the heart of Virginia’s Sixth Congressional District.

Captain Ross approached me when he sought an appointment to the United States Military Academy. He was a remarkable candidate for nomination and shone brightly during my interview with him. Having met Drew personally, his success while enrolled and his graduation from West Point came as no surprise. He excelled in the military, earning the honors and decorations of two Bronze Star Medals, a Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, and the National Defense Service Medal, among others, and became a distinguished member of the 1st Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), the Green Berets.

Captain Ross will also be remembered among his friends from the Lexington community and his fellow Rockbridge County High School students. His leadership on the soccer field and his example when leading graduating seniors from the class of 2011 during the Pledge of Allegiance are examples of his dedication and commitment to excellence.

Those cherishing his memory most will, of course, be his family. My heartfelt condolences go out to each one of them.

Drew Ross not only answered the call of his country to protect the freedoms we all so cherish, he paid the utmost price to guarantee freedom for others. Drew gave his life to make our nation stronger and safer for those of us who remain and for generations to come. My prayer is that his family will be comforted during this difficult time and knows that we will hold fast to the example of Drew’s noble service.”

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Legislative Update

Goodlatte Staff to hold open door meetings



WASHINGTON, DC – A member of Congressman Bob Goodlatte’s staff will hold open door community office hours the first and third Wednesdays of the month in Front Royal.

A staff member will be available to meet with citizens to assist with problems they might have with a federal agency and hear their views on current issues before Congress.

Warren County Open Door Meeting

10:00am – 12:00pm
Samuels Public Library
330 E. Criser Road
Front Royal, Virginia

Upcoming Dates:
November 7, 2018
November 21, 2018

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all-day The Nutcracker in Front Royal @ Skyline High School
The Nutcracker in Front Royal @ Skyline High School
Dec 16 all-day
The Nutcracker in Front Royal @ Skyline High School
Don’t miss The Nutcracker! This professional production of the seasonal classic ballet will be presented at Skyline High School, Front Royal, VA on December 15th and 16th, Saturday 2:30 & 7:00 pm and Sunday 2:30[...]
4:00 pm R-MA offers Free Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA campus
R-MA offers Free Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA campus
Dec 16 @ 4:00 pm – 6:00 pm
R-MA offers Free Christmas Concert @ Boggs Chapel on the R-MA campus
The public is cordially invited to attend the Randolph-Macon Academy (R-MA) Christmas Band Concert on Sunday, December 16th at 4:00 pm. This free concert will take place in Boggs Chapel on the R-MA campus. The[...]
10:00 am Paper Sculpture Party: Koi Fish @ Art in the Valley
Paper Sculpture Party: Koi Fish @ Art in the Valley
Dec 17 @ 10:00 am – 12:30 pm
Paper Sculpture Party: Koi Fish @ Art in the Valley
Create your own 5″ x 7″ koi fish paper sculpture with your friends! Schedule your own party for up to 8 people (3-person minimum). No drawing skills are necessary. Artist Tiffany Budzisz will walk you[...]
6:00 pm Volunteer Info Session – Child A... @ Middle of Main
Volunteer Info Session – Child A... @ Middle of Main
Dec 17 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Volunteer Info Session - Child Advocate @ Middle of Main
Learn how you can help ensure abused and neglected children find safe, loving, and permanent homes.  The first step to becoming a CASA volunteer is to attend an Information Session. There, you will have the[...]
9:00 am 2019 Dare to Dream Grant Applica... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
2019 Dare to Dream Grant Applica... @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Dec 18 @ 9:00 am – 11:00 am
2019 Dare to Dream Grant Application @ Front Royal Women’s Resource Center
Front Royal Women’s Resource Center (FRWRC) Now Accepting Applications for 2019 DARE TO DREAM GRANTS (Take classes, start a business, purchase a computer, learn a new skill, train for a profession, start a non-profit, anything[...]