Science and Tech in the Legislature
Kenneth R. "Ken" Plum
Two years of chairing a legislative study on science and technology in the mid-1990's convinced me that issues arising from advances in science and technology were going to increase in the future and were going to require a level of expertise that did not exist in the legislature. That is why I introduced the bill that in 1997 established the Joint Commission on Technology and Science (JCOTS), perhaps the first state legislative standing committee in the nation with such a specialization. No longer would the General Assembly have to take up legislation related to electronic commerce, access and support, and consumer protection in an electronic age without technical support and knowledgeable advice.
I was honored to chair JCOTS for its first several years and continue to serve on it as a member. In addition to legislative members, JCOTS has from the beginning utilized representatives from scientific disciplines and technology fields to advise it. This cooperative effort between government, business, and academia has helped to thrust Virginia forward as a leader both in using technology in government functions and in promoting economic development throughout the Commonwealth in business and industries related to scientific and technological endeavors. JCOTS and its members promot the use of technology in the legislative process and in the workings of government. It helped get the state through Y2K without major incident. It made Virginia one of the first states to adopt the Uniform Commercial Electronic Transactions Act. JCOTS members worked with the executive branch in establishing a chief information officer for Virginia government.
JCOTS met recently and laid out plans for the remainder of this year. I will continue to chair a technical advisory group on e-cycling building on the success in the last legislative session of enacting a bill providing for computer recycling. JCOTS will look at the use of technology in helping to relieve traffic congestion and the use of open education resources to improve education. JCOTS will also continue its review of protecting individual identities in public records. Review the total work plans at http://jcots.state.va.us.
To participate in a technical advisory committee, send a resume to Ms. Lisa Wallmeyer, JCOTS, 910 Capitol Street - 2nd Floor, Richmond, VA 23219-0406. If I can answer any questions about JCOTS and the technical advisory committees, write to me at email@example.com.
The use of science and technology in government can expand democracy by making government more open to its citizens, enhance the quality of life for all, and expand economic development opportunities. I have been pleased to be part of these exciting changes in Virginia.
Attend an exclusive Festival Preview Reception sponsored by the Greater Reston Arts Center (GRACE) on Friday, May 2, 6:30 to 9:00 p.m. at Reston Midtown, Reston Town Center. Tickets cost $35 for members and $50 for non-members of GRACE. Reserve your tickets by calling GRACE at 704.471.9242 by April 25. The Preview Reception, an exclusive preview of works of artists participating in the 17th annual Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival in May, will include a live art auction with Delegate Ken Plum serving as auctioneer for the event.
The Fairfax County Solid Waste Management Program will host a Community Clean-up Event for county residents on Saturday, May 3, 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. at the Reston Park-and-Ride located at the intersection of Fox Mill Road and Reston Parkway. Residents will be able to dispose of household hazardous waste and shred and recycle personal documents, all at no charge. This is an excellent opportunity to dispose of documents containing personal information in addition to common hazardous materials such as pesticides, fertilizers, automotive fluids, oil-based paints, and fluorescent bulbs at a convenient site. For a complete list of 2008 environmental events and for information about materials collected at each event, go to www.fairfaxcounty.gov/recycling.
Attend the 8th Annual Pet Fiesta on Saturday, May 3, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. at the Reston Town Center. The event is a celebration of pets and pet ownership with a Tails on Trails dog Walk, Doghouse of Style Fashion Show of pet-wear, Paws-itively Fun Pet Contests, Super Pet Adoption, exhibitors of pet resources, and rescue groups. Family fun activities include face painting, caricature artists, and live entertainment. All on-leash pets are welcome; general admission is free. For more information, visit www.PetFiesta.org or www.RestonTownCenter.com.
Mosaic Harmony's 15th Anniversary Spring Celebration Concert will be held on Saturday, May 3, 7:00 p.m., at the McLean High School Auditorium, 1633 Davidson Road, McLean. Tickets for the "Let it Shine" concerts are available now. Visit www.mosaicharmony.com or call 301.816.9220 for information and ordering. Find out more about Mosaic Harmony by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Are you new to Reston? "Get to Know Your Reston Association (RA)," an event for newcomers and those not-so-new to Reston, will be held on Thursday, May 8, 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Reston Association Main Conference Room, 1930 Isaac Newton Square. Information will be available about RA and its many services, amenities, and programs available to you. Meet staff and Board members, and find out about volunteer opportunities. Light refreshments will be served; door prizes will be awarded. RSVP to Ha Brock, RA Volunteer Coordinator, at email@example.com or 703.435.7986.
The National Association of Letter Carriers will be collecting non-perishable food items like canned meats and fish, canned soup, juice, pasta, vegetables, cereal and rice on Saturday, May 10, to help families in need in our community. You can help by placing your food donation at your mailbox on May 10 before your letter carrier arrives. It will be taken to the Post Office and then delivered to local pantries.
The State Arboretum of Virginia Annual Garden Fair will be held May 10-11, 9:00 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. More than 80 vendors will offer unique plants for sale to help support the Arboretum that is located in Boyce, about 30 minutes west on Route 7. For more information, visit www.virginia.edu/blandy.
If you have early-stage Alzheimer's or a memory disorder, join the Alzheimer's Association at a gathering for people with dementia to talk about living with the disease. "The Emerging Voice of Alzheimer's - A Town Hall Meeting" will be held on Monday, May 12, 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at the Grand Hyatt Washington Hotel. To register go to www.alz.org/townhall or call 703.766.9007.
The Fairfax County Department of Transportation is developing a 10-year comprehensive Transit Development Plan (TDP) for Fairfax Connector and Metrobus service in the county and wishes to receive public comments about this plan at a public meeting scheduled for May 14, 6:30 p.m., at the Northern County Government Center in Reston. For more information or to submit comments about the Transit Development Plan, visit the Fairfax County website at www.fairfaxcounty.gov/fcdot.tdp.htm or call 703.324.1500 to record your comments.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) has announced that proposed secondary street acceptance requirements are available for public comment. The requirements ensure that streets accepted into the state system for perpetual public maintenance provide long-term public benefit. The regulations and additional information can be found at www.VirginiaDOT.org/projects/ssar. There will be a public hearing on the regulations on May 14, 5:30 p.m. at the Northern Virginia Community College, Ernst Cultural Center forum Area, 8333 Little River Turnpike, annandale, VA 22003.
Join hundreds of bicycle commuters to celebrate Bike to Work Day on Friday, May 16, 6:30 to 9:00 a.m. at the Reston Town Center. Each year since 2002, cyclists have gathered at the Town Center for a free breakfast, raffles of bike-related prizes, and bicycling information handouts including the new Fairfax County Bike Map to be unveiled on Bike to Work Day. Pre-registered riders also get a free t-shirt. Delegate Ken Plum and Hunter Mill Supervisor Cathy Hudgins will greet the riders at 8:00 a.m. Register at www.waba.orga.
The Northern Virginia Fine Arts Festival sponsored by GRACE is May 17-18. More information is at www.restonarts.org.
Make an appointment at Reflections of You - Fairfax Salon and Spa for May 18 for a "Cut-a-thon" to raise money to assist the family of one of the stylists, Tisa Robbins, who lost their Navajo reservation home to fire. Visit www.ROYSalon.com or call 703.591.5306.
The Opening Ceremony for the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life in Reston will be held on Saturday, May 31, 1:00 p.m. at the athletic field behind South Lakes High School. The Relay will go all day, all evening, and through the night, ending the next morning. Come join the fun! Delegate Ken Plum's "Top of the Town" team always welcomes new members or visitors. This is a great way to make new friends while raising money for cancer research. Come visit the "Top of the Town" tent to say hello on May 31.
Attend the Rotary Senior Senior Prom on Saturday, June 21, 2:00 to 4:30 p.m. at St. Joseph's Church in Herndon. This dress-up event is for anyone who has reached 50 or better - and their families - and will feature great food and music. Call 703.437.5886 to rsvp.