Friday, April 12Hampton Roads Weekly

Legislative Update – Delegate Barry Knight

Legislative Update

By Delegate Barry Knight

Since 2009, I have had the unique privilege and honor to represent the citizens of the 81st House District in the Virginia House of Delegates.

I was asked by the City of Virginia Beach and Oceana Naval Master Jet Base to patron legislation that would keep trespassing drones out of military landing zones, thereby not adding

unnecessary risk to the lives of those who serve to protect our freedoms. HB 1636 seeks to protect military aircraft by prohibiting use of a drone within a 1-mile radius of any military airfield or helicopter landing zone. Drones are a new and exciting technology but use must be done so in a responsible manner.

HB 1637 creates a special license plate that bears the legend “PROTECT SEA LIFE”. This bill reflects Virginia Beach as a great tourist attraction, as many come to Virginia Beach from all over the world. In addition, after 1,000 people apply for the license plate, 60% of those monies will be paid into the state treasury and credited to the Virginia Aquarium Fund. These funds shall be paid annually to the Virginia Aquarium and used to support its operation and programs.

HB 1725 represents a bipartisan collaboration of the House Select Committee on School Safety, the first committee of its kind in 150 years, to address concerns that are important to students, teachers, and parents across Virginia. This bill requires each school board in Virginia to consult with local building officials and fire marshals to develop a procurement plan to ensure that all security enhancements to public school buildings are in compliance with the Uniform Statewide Building Code and Statewide Fire Prevention Code. This bill is a result of consensus-driven, practical solutions to gaps in Virginia’s school safety policies. I am committed to ensuring your tax money is spent on the most effective proposals where smart investments

are made to address safety concerns for years to come.

I love to hunt and fish and have always been keen to preserve the health of Virginia’s natural resources. HB 1769 grants the Virginia Marine Resources Commission (VMRC) authority to

manage the Commonwealth’s menhaden fishery. As both a filter feeder and primary food source for many Chesapeake Bay species, menhaden play a vital role in the health of the Bay. The Chesapeake Bay is the largest nursery for menhaden on the Atlantic Coast, it is important to take politics out of the equation when dealing with this key resource and let scientists take the lead. Last year was the first time my Menhaden legislation made it out of full committee and onto the floor of the House, so I’m looking to build on that progress.

HB 1770 would explore distillers in Virginia keeping more of their profits and the loss of income to Virginia would be offset by expanding hours of operation on Sundays. This bill is an effort to

increase economic stimulus and continue growing the presence of distilleries in Virginia.

I live in the Pungo area of Virginia Beach. Recurrent flooding is a complex issue that impacts a unique part of Virginia in many ways. HJ 610 is a study that looks to examine the effect of wind

tides on the Southern Watershed. We in the 81st District are no strangers to tidal flooding and the challenges it presents, as these tides are flood stage when strong southerly winds push water north from the Currituck and Albemarle Sounds.

I will put in legislation for the Dome Site. If the City of Virginia Beach approves it, I intend to file legislation to let the Commonwealth of Virginia help the City of Virginia Beach pay back its

bond debt on public infrastructure, since the State would be receiving sales tax revenue from the Dome Site. If the Commonwealth benefits from receiving revenue, it should share in the burden of its financing. The Dome Site provides an exciting opportunity to reinforce the City of

Virginia Beach as a tourist destination and would be a win-win for businesses and the City alike.

I am also considering introducing legislation about a casino the Pamunkey Indian Tribe wants to locate in the downtown area of Norfolk. There is federal recognition of the Pamunkey Indian Tribe and they are allowed to have a casino. Per my bill, I would like a seat at the table, so that the Commonwealth of Virginia shares in the oversight capacity. Hampton Roads has had great success in attracting business and I look to help in building on that track record.

Delegate Barry Knight is a native Virginian who resides in the Pungo area of

Virginia Beach with his wife and three sons. At 26 years of age, Barry began his

own agribusiness venture by opening a hog farm, which became extremely


Delegate Knight served on the Virginia Beach Planning Commission from

2003-2009 and was chairman in 2007 & 2008. Delegate Knight was first elected to

the Virginia House of Delegates in 2009 and serves on four standing committees:

Agriculture, Chesapeake, and Natural Resources; General Laws; Rules; and

Appropriations, as well as nine subcommittees, serving as Chairman on four of them.

In addition, during the 2018 General Assembly session Delegate Knight was named

as a conferee to the state budget, as well as the House Select Committee on

School Safety.

Delegate Knight also serves on the Virginia State Housing Commission, Virginia

State Water Commission, the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Board of Trustees,

and the FACT Fund Commission, which deals with federal policies from the BRAC


For his pro-business record, Delegate Knight was awarded as a “Champion of Free

Enterprise” by the Virginia Chamber of Commerce for the fifth year running, and in

May 2018 Delegate Knight was selected by The Hampton Roads Business Journal

to their 2018 Power List, showcasing the most influential people in Hampton