This week in the General Assembly: Majority matters!

This week in the General Assembly: Majority matters!
This week at the General Assembly: Majority matters!
This week: majority matters!
Virginia Progressive Legislative Alert Newsletter

This week in the General Assembly, Democrats find out that being in the majority is pretty darn fun! They took that majority for a ride, passing bills in both House and Senate that we’ve been waiting in some cases decades for.

Here are some highlights from this week in the General Assembly:

Legislative Update

House and Senate pass ERA ratification resolutions
  • In the House, lots of Democrats rose to speak in support of HJ1, carried by Delegate Carroll-Foy (HD2) with chief co-patrons Ayala (HD51), Ward (HD92), and Kory (HD38), with every Democrat co-patroning.
  • A floor substitute had to be made to match the resolution language to the Senate version. Republicans whined about this, and acted as if a floor substitute was a shocking new unfair “tactic” even though this happens all the time. 
  • In a thoroughly satisfying moment, Speaker Filler-Corn ruled Minority Leader Gilbert out of order for complaining, and let the vote proceed.
  • The resolution passed 59-41, with Republicans Coyner (HD62) and Campbell (HD6) voting with the Democrats in support, and Walker (HD23) doing so but later clarifying he meant to vote against.
  • Speaker Filler-Corn said “For the women of Virginia, and the women of America, the resolution has finally passed,” and the room erupted into applause. Delegate Orrock (HD54), with a total lack of class, interrupted to state that rules of decorum had been violated. Speaker Filler-Corn had, respectfully speaking, zero effs left to give, told him “duly noted,” and enjoyed the rest of her historic moment of victory.
  • Over in the Senate, where ERA ratification resolutions have passed repeatedly before, things were much less dramatic, but McClellan’s SJ1 did pass 28-12, with Republican co-patron Hanger (SD24), and Republican Senators Vogel (SD27), DeSteph (SD8), Dunnavant (SD12), Kiggans (SD12), and Minority Leader Norment (SD3) all joining the Democrats.
Senate passes long-awaited commonsense gun reforms
  • The Senate Judiciary met to hear gun bills Monday morning, following last week’s votes in the House and Senate to approve rules banning weapons from the Capitol building.
  • Senator Obenshain (SD26) complained about the security lines, and that some Northam Administration officials were rumored to have entered without passing through. But even the Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security said he’d gone through the metal detectors.
  • Republican Senators also complained that Judiciary Chair Edwards (SD21) had agreed to delay hearing the gun bills because Senator Stanley (SD20) wasn’t available, and somehow had changed his mind after discussing things with his Caucus. Edwards ignored their complaints and moved along with the bills.
  • Interestingly, the mostly pro-gun crowd sat stoically and didn’t make a peep. One or two designated citizens testified on each bill, occasionally making relevant points, and often just complaining about the left-wing agenda, Michael Bloomberg, and Socialism.
  • By Thursday, the Senate passed: a bill limiting handgun purchases to one a month–SB69, Locke (SD2) & Saslaw (SD35); a bill allowing localities to restrict firearms at public buildings, parks, and permitted events–SB35, Surovell (SD36), Deeds (SD25), Edwards (SD21), & Favola (SD31); and universal background checks–SB70, Lucas (SD18) & Saslaw (SD35). The first two were partisan votes, but universal background checks was supported by Hanger (SD24) and Dunnavant (SD12). The Red Flag Law bill, SB240 Barker (SD39), should pass the Senate floor today.
  • NOTE!! The universal background check bill was weakened at the last minute by an amendment from Senator Peterson (SD34), striking reference to transfers of firearms. This makes it harder for law enforcement to enforce–it’s crucial the House get this amended back to the original version. Please reach out to your Delegate and ask her to hold firm on the original language of this bill!
…more from this week
  • Driver’s License Suspension: SB1–Stanley (SD20), McClellan (SD9), Suetterlein (SD19), Ebbin (SD30) & Edwards (SD21)–to make permanent ending the practice of suspending licenses for failure to pay court fines and fees, reported from Judiciary Committee unanimously. The Senate has passed this bill multiple times before, but the House subcommittee has always killed it. Last year the Governor put it into the budget just for this fiscal year.
  • Menstrual products at schools: SB232 from Boysko (SD33) and McClellan (SD9) to require schools to make menstrual products available in school bathrooms reported unanimously out of Senate Education and Health, after an amendment extended it from applying only to schools in low-income neighborhoods to all schools.
  • Race on Marriage Certificate: After a federal judge recently found Virginia’s requirement to report race on the marriage license form, bills from Suetterlein (SD19) and Ebbin (SB30) were drafted to remove the requirement–and for divorce forms as well. These passed the Senate Judiciary unanimously this week.
  • Full-day kindergarten: SB238 from Barker (SD40) to require all public schools have full-day kindergarten passed the full Senate on a 32-6 vote.
  • Marijuana: A handful of options for marijuana bills were considered in the Judiciary Committee this week. Ultimately, though, there were irreconcilable differences, and the committee decided to send all the bills to the newly-created criminal subcommittee, chaired by Senator Deeds (SD25).
  • Campaign finance reform: Multiple campaign finance reform bills were heard in Senate Privileges and Elections Committee, to limit donations to under a certain dollar amount, and to prohibit donations from Dominion (originally a broader bill, but amended to apply only to the two monopoly regulated public utility companies). These were all carried over for a week until the next meeting after some fairly negative discussion among committee members. In a House Privileges and Elections subcommittee on campaign finances, ban on personal use of campaign funds bills were also carried over after some discussion that might lead to a weaker bill coming out; and a bill to allow localities to enact their own public financing system was killed outright.

If any of the above bills are important to you, now is the time to contact your legislators and tell them how this bill affects you and your family. Contact information for Delegates and Senators can be found HERE; if you aren’t sure who represents you, put your address in HERE to find out.

Virginia Progressive Legislative Alert Network

PO Box 2612, Merrifield
Virginia 22116-2612 United States

facebook twitter website