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James Pest Control Recognized by Virginia General Assembly

June 30, 2023

Pest Control Technology

By Brad Harbison

The company was presented with Virginia General Assembly Resolution No. 567 in recognition of 50 years in business and its contributions to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Pictured (left to right) are Sonia and John James, Virginia delegate Amanda Batten, Shara James Ware and administrative assistant Tawny Bartelt. Photo courtesy of James Pest Control

WILLIAMSBURG, Va. – On June 14, Virginia delegate Amanda Batten visited the office of James Pest Control to present the company with a copy of Virginia General Assembly Resolution No. 567,  which honored the company for 50 years in business and its contributions to the Commonwealth of Virginia. (Click here to download the Resolution No. 567).

The resolution was passed by the House of Delegates and Senate of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

James Pest Control was founded by Sonia and John James, former president of the Virginia Pest Management Association (VPMA) and the Tidewater Pest Control Association. In 2005, John James was recognized by VPMA with a Lifetime Stewardship Award in recognition of this efforts to enhance the standards and protocols of the pest control industry in Virginia.

The resolution also commended James Pest Control for “supporting the economic vitality of Williamsburg and surrounding areas and the businesses the call it home through its involvement with the Greater Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce.”

Today, James Pest Control is led by CEO Shara James Ware, daughter of Sonia and John James. Shara joined the business after graduation from Longwood College School of Business.

Triggered by doughnuts?

May 26, 2023

Fox News

On “The Ingraham Angle”, Virginia Republican state Del. Amanda Batten says she tried to “show appreciation to teachers,” but the local teachers’ union criticized her gesture.

A Republican lawmaker delivered doughnuts to teachers. Then came a political food fight

May 23, 2023

Virginia Mercury

By Graham Moomaw

Critics object to Del. Amanda Batten’s teacher appreciation gesture funded with campaign money

Earlier this month, Virginia Del. Amanda Batten, R-James City, bought almost 1,000 doughnuts and set out to give them to public school teachers working in her Williamsburg-area district.

She marked the occasion with a Facebook post showing her carrying armfuls of doughnut boxes in a multi-school delivery that she said amounted to 996 doughnuts, or 83 dozen.

“The end of the school year is in sight, and I’m grateful to our hard-working teachers as we recognize Teacher Appreciation Week,” Batten’s May 12 post read. “Thank you for all you do!”

The doughnut deliveries to 19 schools in the Williamsburg-James City County and New Kent County school districts were accepted. But — in a sign of the intensity of Virginia’s political debates over K-12 public schools — some in the Williamsburg-James City County system saw an ulterior motive hidden beneath the glaze and sprinkles.

One of the photos posted to Batten’s Facebook page showed a custom doughnut-box label with an important line in smaller print: “Paid for and Authorized by Friends of Amanda Batten.” That phrase signals an activity was funded by money from a political campaign; Batten confirmed the doughnut expenditure was made from her campaign account.

The pushback, which included the local teachers’ union taking aim at Batten’s voting record, was so strong school officials told Batten similar doughnut drop offs would be declined in the future due to their “political nature.”

In an official statement on the matter, the Williamsburg-James City County Education Association, which represents local teachers, took aim at Batten’s record of voting for more alternatives to traditional public schools and against collective bargaining rights for teachers.

Alynn Parham, the president of the local teachers union, said Batten’s visits sparked an email from an anonymous group of teachers who “addressed concerns about Batten’s presence in the school district.”

“The union felt that we needed to also make a response recognizing that her presence triggered some members and employees,” Parham said.

The school division ultimately sided with staffers who felt the doughnut delivery was inappropriate.

“While we certainly appreciate the gesture of thanks, several members of our staff have indicated the purpose of the gift appeared to champion the Delegate’s campaign and/or be an attempt to solicit votes (ex. flyer indicated gift was ‘paid for and authorized by friends of Amanda Batten’),” Kara Wall, the school division’s strategic communications director, wrote in a May 15 email to Batten.

In an interview, Batten said there was nothing political about the note that came with the doughnuts. Adding the campaign disclosure, she said, was an attempt to “err on the side of transparency” and show the $1,672 doughnut purchase wasn’t made with taxpayer dollars.

“I don’t know if that’s an appropriate use of taxpayer dollars or not. We had the campaign funds to do it,” Batten said. “Had I left off what I think is a legally required disclaimer, that somehow would have been more acceptable? That’s odd.”

Asked if she considered using her own money, Batten said she saw the expenditure as no different than other routine uses of campaign funds “to support community events and outreach.”

“I just think it’s sad that anyone would object to the observation of Teacher Appreciation Week by a legislator,” Batten said. “Or the default would be to politicize doughnuts.”

Batten is running in a redrawn district with a slight Republican lean against Democratic candidate Jessica Anderson, who works as a receptionist in a Williamsburg-James City County elementary school.

In a statement, Anderson called the doughnut delivery and accompanying social media post a “political stunt” and “photo op” by a candidate who has “voted against teachers’ best interests.”

“No candidate for public office is above the rules,” Anderson said.

In the school division’s response to Batten, Wall pointed to a division policy putting restrictions on the “distribution of information/materials” in schools. That policy says advance approval is required “before any materials may be distributed or made available at the request of non-school organizations.” A section on “political communications” says students cannot be required to “convey or deliver any material” calling for the election or defeat of any candidate or advocating a position on political matters.

“Non-political information or materials may be submitted to me for consideration and approval,” Wall wrote.

Batten, a former legislative aide first elected to the General Assembly in 2019, said she did doughnut drop offs in other school systems, including neighboring New Kent County, without controversy.

“I’m not aware of any school division other than Williamsburg-James City County that has told anyone they were prohibited from dropping off baked goods simply because of the source of funding for said baked goods,” she said.

Virginia has no law requiring campaign funds to be spent only on campaign purposes, despite years of failed efforts to create such a rule. 

General Assembly members regularly spend money on community goodwill efforts that could potentially enhance their standing in the eyes of voters but are less overtly political than a typical campaign ad. 

Those expenditures often include direct donations to charitable groups and nonprofits, as well as banquet tickets and sponsorships for local events. It’s not uncommon to see campaign funds being spent on school-related items like ads in football game programs and other school publications, contributions to scholarship funds, donations to athletics and band booster clubs and sponsorships of homecoming ceremonies, graduation parties and prom nights.

Due to the limited campaign finance information candidates are required to disclose, some expenditures show up only as money transferred from campaign accounts to public schools with no detail listed about a specific purpose.

According to the Virginia Public Access Project, campaign money has been used in the past to supplement activities affiliated with Williamsburg-James City County Public Schools. For example, Senate Minority Leader Tommy Norment, R-James City, contributed $100 to “Jamestown High School After Prom” in 2009 and has made three other $100 contributions with the school listed as the recipient. In 2013, former Republican Del. Brenda Pogge made a $30 payment to “Warhill High School Track.”

Batten said she saw nothing unusual or untoward about the doughnuts.

“I don’t think it’s a stunt to thank teachers,” she said.

Delegate Amanda Batten secures the Republican nomination in bid to seek re-election to the House of Delegates

April 6, 2023

Contact: Lauren Keiser | (757) 741-8866

WILLIAMSBURG, VA – Delegate Amanda Batten (R⎯James City County) is officially the Republican nominee for the 71st District in the Virginia House of Delegates.

“I’ve been honored to serve in the Virginia House of Delegates for two terms, and I look forward to continuing my efforts to represent our growing community,” stated Delegate Batten.

Delegate Amanda Batten represents the 96th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. The 96th District includes portions of James City and York Counties. Batten is currently serving her second term in the Virginia House of Delegates and is a member of the following House Committees: Education, Commerce & Energy, Public Safety, and Rules. Additionally, Batten also serves on the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation Board of Trustees as Secretary, the Commission on Civic Education, the Hampton Roads Transportation Accountability Commission, the Online Virginia Network Authority, and the Governor’s Aerospace Advisory Council.

This year, Delegate Batten will run to serve the residents of the newly-redrawn 71st District, which encompasses much of the present 96th District. The 71st District will include portions of James City and New Kent Counties and the entire City of Williamsburg.

Peninsula lawmakers reflect on General Assembly session with community leaders

March 17, 2023

The Virginia Gazette

By Dominic Catacora

Local lawmakers met in Williamsburg to participate in a post-session legislative forum hosted by the Greater Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce on Wednesday.

State Sens. Tommy Norment, Mamie Locke and Monty Mason and Del. Amanda Batten shared their insight with community leaders on the 2023 session of the General Assembly. Dels. Mike Mullin and A.C. Cordoza were unable to attend the event held in the Williamsburg Library Theatre.

The legislators cited the Dominion Energy bill as a prime example of a bill finding bipartisan support.

“It really required a lot of stakeholders to get together around the table and talk about what would be a workable compromise,” said Batten, R-Norge. “This would be the governor’s office, the attorney general’s office, obviously leaders from the legislators, the patrons of those bills, all the stakeholder groups that are out there, the affected utility companies, but also the environmental groups and a number of other folks as well.”

Read the full article here.

General Assembly Post-Session Forum Follow Up

March 16, 2023

Williamsburg Yorktown Daily

By Stephanie Sabin

The forum, hosted by the Greater Williamsburg Chamber of Commerce, featured Sen. Norment, Sen. Mamie Locke, Sen. Monty Mason, and Delegate Amanda Batten. Delegates Mike Mullin and A.C. Cordoza were scheduled but unable to attend the session.

“We talk about the volume of legislation, and it can’t be overstated how intense the pace is during a ‘short legislative session’ where every day is jammed packed,” stated Batten, “One of the challenges we had this year was it was a campaign year. I think a lot my colleagues would share in Norment’s desire to have a very short session where we only do the budget. It was not a productive year.”

Read the full article here.

Daily Work of Justice series hosts event with public officials, community members

March 7, 2023

The Flat Hat

By Joseph Wehmeyer and Peerawut Ruangsawasdi

Thursday, March 2, the College of William and Mary Office of Community Engagement facilitated a community discussion about democracy as part of the Daily Work of Justice conversation series in, Sadler Tidewater A.

Virginia Del. Amanda Batten, R-James City, shared her thoughts after the event.

“I enjoyed it. It’s always interesting when it’s something that’s really structured. It was a little bit stilted, I think, at times. But I think the longer we sat there, the more natural it was to have a bit of back and forth,” Batten said.

Batten said she appreciated that the issue of housing was brought up during the conversation.

“That’s a hot issue around here, but it’s not necessarily one that is going to grab nationwide headlines,” Batten said. “But it’s still a controversial one.”

Read the full article here.

Threat assessment bills propose fixes in how Virginia colleges respond to violence

February 14, 2023

Virginia Mercury

By Nathaniel Cline

Virginia’s colleges and universities may soon be permitted to obtain criminal histories and health records of people seen as posing a “significant” threat on campuses under legislation that recently passed both the House and Senate.

The legislation, which was carried by Sen. Steve Newman, R-Bedford, and Del. Amanda Batten, R-James City, was filed in response to the November shooting at the University of Virginia that left three football players dead.

Read the full article here.

Delegate Amanda Batten carries thirteen bills through the House of Delegates to address constituent priorities

February 8, 2023

CONTACT: Lauren Keiser | (757) 741-8866

WILLIAMSBURG, VA – Delegate Amanda Batten (R-James City County) successfully introduced thirteen bills that passed the House of Delegates before the February 7 crossover deadline. The bills will next be heard in the Senate.

“With thirteen of my bills having passed the House, I am extremely pleased with the first half of this legislative session. I am grateful to my constituents for their role in submitting this legislation and look forward to collaborating with the Senate during the remainder of the session,” stated Delegate Batten.


HB1907 requires consumer loan providers to include as part of every loan application a question regarding whether any individual has contacted the applicant to send money in consideration of receiving money via a government or lottery organization. This decreases the likelihood of consumer exploitation by scammers.

HB1909 allows local school boards to establish opportunity classrooms in response to requests from teachers. A plan approved by either the school board or school administration must be in place to ensure proper funding, transportation, and assessments are managed for students enrolled in the opportunity classroom.

HB1910 requires any organization that sends an unrequested absentee ballot application to a registered voter to include instructions on completing and submitting the application. Additionally, the bill requires a statement that the application is not sent by any state or local government official or agency and also disallows information pre-population on the application.

HB1911 prohibits officers and employees of state and local governments in the Commonwealth from receiving a gift exceeding $100 from foreign countries of concern, including the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the Republic of Cuba, the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela, and the Syrian Arab Republic.

HB1912 clarifies that Virginia’s Tier 1 and Tier 2 universities require Treasury Board approval before entering into certain university-related foundation financing arrangements. This oversight will help avoid financial risks to the universities.

HB1916 requires threat assessment teams at public institutions of higher education to obtain available criminal and health records for individuals posing a significant threat of violence, as well as notify local law enforcement, the campus police, and the local attorney of the Commonwealth within 24 hours. The threat assessment team may also invite representatives from campus to participate in individual cases. These measures will better protect our students, faculty, and staff and prevent violent incidents.

HB1918 expands access to mental health services and removes the financial burden associated with such care by requiring health insurers, health care subscription plans, and health maintenance organizations to provide coverage starting January 1, 2024, for health care services offered through audio-only telehealth. Mental health professionals can deliver these services via audio-only when other means of real-time communication are unavailable, or the patient lacks the capability to use them. 

HB1921 establishes a licensure and regulatory program for earned wage access services. These services allow employees to access the wages that they have already earned (based on the hours worked) prior to the regularly scheduled pay. This bill sets strong consumer protections for an industry currently operating in Virginia with no guardrails.

HB2223 adds the members of the board of directors of the Virginia Innovation Partnership Authority to the list of those required to file their state and local statements of economic interest annually with the Virginia Conflict of Interest and Ethics Advisory Council.

HB2225 requires each school board to provide teachers, parents, principals, and other school leaders with students’ results on any Standards of Learning assessment or Virginia Alternate Assessment Program assessment as soon as practicable after the assessment is administered.

HB2422 amends the Home Solicitation Sales Act to clarify that it does not apply to technology services that provide insurance and service agreements. These are companies that are in a customer’s home because they have been invited to make repairs on insured products or to install and activate technology systems. Such businesses are currently regulated by four other entities, and this legislation will reduce bureaucratic red tape.

HB2457 prohibits any public elementary or secondary school teacher from being required to attend training sessions more frequently than once every five years for topics such as blood-borne pathogens, seizure and seizure disorders, student conduct, and mandatory testing. The bill also allows substitute teachers to fill vacancies for up to 180 days in any school year. This provides a valuable opportunity for teachers to focus on what matters most: providing the best educational experience for students. 

HB2471 provides for the removal of general registrars from office by the circuit court when a majority of the members of the State Board of Elections or a majority of the members of the local electoral board have signed a petition for removal. If a petition is received, the Virginia Division of Risk Management will assign counsel to the defense of any affected local electoral board member or general registrar. This adds stability to registrars’ offices and to the oversight of elections.

Delegate Amanda Batten represents the existing 96th District in the Virginia House of Delegates. The 96th District includes portions of James City and York Counties. In her second term, Delegate Batten serves as the Majority Caucus Chair in the Virginia House of Delegates and is a member of the following House Committees: Education, Commerce & Energy, Public Safety, and Rules. 

In 2023, Delegate Batten will run to serve the residents of the newly-redrawn 71st District, which encompasses much of the present 96th District. The 71st District will include portions of James City and New Kent Counties and the entire City of Williamsburg.

Lawmakers in Tennessee and Virginia Named 2022’s Sound Money Legislators of the Year

December 27, 2022

Sound Money Defense League

As the year comes to a close, Money Metals Exchange and the Sound Money Defense League have named Tennessee State lawmakers Rep. Bud Hulsey and Sen. Frank Niceley in Tennessee and Delegate Amanda Batten in Virginia as “Sound Money Legislators of the Year.”

Meanwhile, Virginia Delegate Amanda Batten successfully passed House Bill 936, not only extending the sunset date on Virginia’s existing sales tax exemption but also eliminating the state’s regressive taxation of all precious metals purchases below $1,000.

Read the full article here.