For important dates during the session, go here.
Click above image to watch my speech in memory of Crystal Hamilton
I spoke on the House Floor this week in memory of 29-year-old Crystal Hamilton and in support of her 11-year-old son. Many of you know the tragic story of Ashley Guindon, the brave Prince William County Police Officer who was killed on her first day on the job. The same man who shot Officer Guindon and two other police officers had just murdered his wife Crystal. Their son heard the gunshots and ran for his life.
Few realize that this father, the only surviving parent, now has custody of the boy, the main witness to the crime. Despite the best efforts of Crystal's family, the man who murdered this poor child's mother is still determining his future.
My own family suffered a similar history. When my sister was murdered by her husband, my niece and nephew were kept in custody by their father who killed their mother for more than nine years, despite our best efforts to bring them home from Mexico, where their father ran to escape the law.
A few weeks ago, I offered a bill that would strengthen Virginia's child custody laws to remove children from the custody of violent abusers. That bill was rejected in subcommittee on a party-line vote, but my hope is that the extremely positive reaction to my speech on the House Floor will encourage both my Republican and Democratic colleagues to work with me next year to pass a new law that will keep awful situations like these from occurring again. Click above to watch the speech.
The Richmond Times-Dispatch photographed my floor speech, which was applauded by Republicans and Democrats alike.
Should someone dying and begging for pain relief receive it? Or should it be denied because the facility in which the terminal patient lives has a religious objection to hospice?
To me, this is not a difficult question. We must always be compassionate to the most vulnerable. And who is more vulnerable than a terminal patient suffering great physical pain?
This week, the House of Delegates passed a bill that would enable assisted living facilities to prohibit their residents from receiving hospice care. The bill was uncontested in the House until I took a stand against it. I offered an amendment that said although the facilities would not have to provide hospice themselves, they would still have to allow residents who want hospice to procure it from another source.
As you will see, by clicking the picture below, my amendment led to a passionate debate on the House Floor. Although ultimately, my amendment was rejected and the bill passed, I did manage to get 25 votes against a once-uncontested bill.
I hope that Governor McAuliffe will veto this bill and allow people to choose to reach the end of their life without pain.
You can watch the full debate by clicking below:
You can read the text of the resolution here.
It is always my honor and privilege to serve you.
If session is done by next Saturday March 12, I will host a town hall at noon at Alexandria City Hall where I would welcome your questions and concerns.
Delegate Mark Levine
Serving Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax
in Virginia's 45th District