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Gov. McAuliffe headlines ceremonial bill signings in Loudoun County

Gov. Terry McAuliffe at Riverside High School in Lansdowne signs into law a bill that creates a specialty license plate warning against distracted driving. Times-Mirror/Alex Erkiletian
Governor Terry McAuliffe (D) swung through Loudoun County this morning, where he headlined two ceremonial bill signings related to education and public safety issues.

McAuliffe's first stop was Northern Virginia Community College's Loudoun Campus in Sterling, where he gave his signature to HB 2040, a bill sponsored by local Del. Kathleen Murphy (D-34), whose district includes portions of Loudoun and Fairfax counties. The new law will aim to protect students from exploitation by for-profit colleges.

The bill holds for-profit institutions accountable by requiring they clearly define the transferability of credits, accreditation, eligibility for student loans, and other important information, and requires students and the university to sign a contract.

Virginia Secretary of Education Dietra Trent was also on hand for the bill signing.

McAuliffe's next stop was Riverside High School in Lansdowne, where he was greeted by students, school administrators, and local officials, including Del. Tag Greason (R-32), the sponsor of HB 1763, the reason for the ceremony. The bill will create a specialty license plate campaign to raise awareness about distracted driving.

The inspiration behind the bill was an Aug. 31, 2016 tragedy in Lansdowne, which cost the life of five-month old baby Tristan Schulz when his stroller was struck by a driver who was allegedly texting at the time of the accident.

Greason told the Times-Mirror that the revenue from the new license plates will support a public awareness campaign.

“There is a trigger in the code so once you sell over 1,000 license plates, you can direct the revenue to a specific cause,” Greason said.

Del. Tag Greason (R-32), left, championed legislation to create license plates warning against distracted driving. Gov. Terry McAuliffe (D), right, headlined a bill signing ceremony May 16 at Riverside High School, which is in Greason's district. Times-Mirror/Alex Erkiletian

Greason said he plans to work with the Schulz family to see that the revenue from the license plates will be directed toward a specific distracted driving related cause.

“We hope that people will see this license plate and it will be a reminder that I shouldn't be texting while driving,” Greason said.

The new license plate will be designed through a statewide contest next year among high school students. Students will have an opportunity to submit their designs and a panel of judges will review the submissions and select a winner. The winner will be announced next April and the license plate will be ready for sale in July 2018.

Mindy and Rod Schulz, Tristan's parents, were on hand for the bill signing and said they were grateful for the support.

“We are excited to see the students' passion about improving the safety and lives of not only their peers but Virginia citizens statewide,” said Mindy Schulz.

DMV Commissioner Rick Holcomb was at the event and expressed his support for the new license plates.

“The most important thing is to start the dialogue and talk about distracted driving – and it is about saving lives,” Holcomb said.

Gov. McAuliffe greeted the group and thanked everyone for coming out to support this cause.

“We have had 13 deaths from distracted driving and 872 injuries here in the commonwealth. It is a serious issue,” McAuliffe said.

“I tell my kids all the time to put your phones down. This is an important day,” he added.

Gov. Terry McAuliffe interacts with students at Riverside High School in Loudoun County. Times-Mirror/Alex Erkiletian


Agree with David Dickinson but one addition:  Grow up and show some consideration to other people.

1. Shut Up and Drive
2. Text and Die
3. If you can read my license plate logo you are too dang close.
4. God is my copilot because with drivers like you on the road I need a miracle just to get home.
5. Stop breaking the law ice hole

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