Representing Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax

Joe Biden has just picked Kamala Harris as his running mate, and I couldn't be more pleased. A winner of three statewide elections in America's largest state and a smart, tough, effective leader, Harris lives and breathes our country's progressive values. I'm confident she will give Biden good advice in the Oval Office and be an effective President, if necessary, in the event of tragedy.



I wanted to be sure you knew about two important developments in the fight to protect Virginians from COVID-19 and the economic crisis created by our federal government's utterly inadequate response to this pandemic: the launch of Virginia's first-in-the-nation COVID Exposure Notifications app, and an extension of the eviction moratorium through September 7. I have been hard at work preparing for our Special Session starting August 18. As the Chair of the Public Safety Subcommittee, I've been concentrating specifically on law-enforcement reform. I'll share more about what I'm working on for the Special Session in a newsletter next week.



I will be hosting Mark's Monthly Meetup virtually today, Sunday, July 26, from 1-3 pm, live via Zoom. As always, we'll be discussing whatever issues are important to you. This will be my last monthly meetup before the start of our Special Session on August 18. We will tackle a new budget, our COVID-19 response, and criminal justice and police reform. So it's a great time to discuss these issues.



In November 2019, you replaced the Republican majority in the Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate with a Democratic majority in both chambers of the General Assembly. You ousted House GOP leaders Kirk Cox and Todd Gilbert as leaders of the Western Hemisphere's longest-lasting legislative body, and replaced them with my friends, House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn and Majority Leader Charniele Herring. If you voted last year, contributed a dime to any Democratic candidate for the Virginia legislature, registered a single voter, or knocked a single door, you made all of this possible.



On July 17, America lost two icons: the Honorable John Lewis and Reverend C.T. Vivian. Both men were civil rights heroes who shaped our country's destiny.



We finally have a date for our Special Session. Beginning August 18, the General Assembly will meet (either in-person or virtually) "for the purpose of adopting a budget based on the revised revenue forecast and consideration of legislation related to the emergency of COVID-19 and criminal and social justice reforms."



The nation is understandably focused on the grim news of 125,000 Americans dead from the novel coronavirus, our strenuous efforts to prevent further spread, and the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (and far too many others), leading to an outcry for justice. But this grim news has overshadowed what was truly a historic session in the Virginia General Assembly: 1200 new laws go into effect tomorrow, July 1, with the most progressive policies ever put forth in Virginia history. In my June 27 newsletter, I gave you only a small sample of the laws I wrote or worked on that will go into effect tomorrow.