MARK IN THE NEWS
Virginia House Bills Introduced to Eliminate “Balance Billing,” Remove Robert E. Lee Statue, Hold Special Election in Case of Tie, Ditch Photo ID, Join National Popular Vote Compact, etc.
Redistricting Debate Likely to Take Center Stage Again Next Month in Richmond
Virginia Public Radio
*Hey, Washington Post!
*Since when is a body appointed by Republicans -- including an ex-Republican Senator/Delegate, the sister of a sitting Republican Senator, Ken Cuccinelli's right-hand man, and three judges to the right of Scalia -- a nonpartisan body?
Or by mail and phone:
900 East Main Street, Suite E208
Richmond, VA 23219
301 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314
Can you believe it's already?
Happy New Year!
I hope you, like me, are excited about what the future holds.
In one week, we will have Virginia's first true progressive majority in 400 years, matched only by the short-lived Reconstruction Assembly formed after Union troops forced change on Virginia following the Civil War. In 2020, Virginians will have the first progressive change we freely chose ourselves.
We are going into the new year with Democratic majorities in both the Virginia House of Delegates and Virginia Senate for the first time in a generation. A generation ago, Virginia still had a large number of conservative Democrats, remnants of the Byrd machine. Those days are long gone. This is the chance many of us have been waiting a lifetime for.
I have been very, very busy not letting this opportunity go to waste.
As of today, I have introduced 21 bills -- and we are just getting started.
I will be introducing as many as 40 or more bills to bring Virginia into a bright new progressive decade.
So, even as I traveled briefly to my hometown of Nashville for the holidays, I've been working nonstop every day on bills, working to get the details right. I've been talking with my fellow legislators, the Governor's and Attorney General's offices, constituents, progressive groups, and even potential legislative foes to negotiate the very best legislation we can possibly achieve.
To start the new year off right, so please join me for refreshments and great conversation on Sunday, January 5th from 4 - 6 pm in Old Town.
If you attend, you will be the first in Virginia
to hear the complete list of bills I will introduce this session.
And I'll be able to answer your questions and address your concerns
the very night before I leave for Richmond...
On December 30, I introduced five criminal justice bills.
All of these bills address problems in Virginia's justice system. Civil rights and justice under the law have long been focuses of mine.
Click on the description of each bill below to read a summary.
And from that link, there is another link to the exact text of each bill.
HB244 repeals a state law that
forces local police to waste taxpayer resources doing the work of federal immigration enforcement.
HB245 repeals an archaic law
banning sex between consensual adults outside of marriage.
HB246 sets up the first Virginia law on police body-worn cameras and requires localities to adopt written guidelines with public comment prior to implementation.
(Last year, this bill had the support of both the police and the NAACP.)
HB247 increases penalties for drivers who seriously hurt pedestrians while disobeying traffic laws.
(Brought to me by Alexandria
Families for Safe Streets )
Click here for a list of all of the bills I have introduced so far.
These are just the beginning.
- - - - -
- a bill that allows people who have served their time to expunge crimes from their record that are no longer crimes anymore. This will be very useful, for example, to people previously convicted of marijuana possession after my HB301 or a similar measure decriminalizing marijuana becomes law.
& Four New Labor Bills
for the New Year
I wanted to ring in the New Year celebrating working people.
So just at the stroke of midnight on January 1, 2020, I introduced the following four new bills (also too new yet to be numbered):
- Paid Family Medical Leave
(Those who celebrate family values should support recovery after pregnancy and parental bonding time with newborns.)
- Option to Raise Local Minimum Wage Higher than State or Federal
(The cost of living is higher in Alexandria and Arlington than it is in Lynchburg and Danville. If elected local officials want to raise local minimum wages, why should state lawmakers in Virginia prevent them from doing so)?
- Banning Employers from Asking Past Salary or Wages of Applicants
(People should be paid based on their value to an employer, not based on their salaries from prior jobs. This "salary-past" question has been reported as a leading cause of the still-existing pay gulf between men and women, and between whites and minorities.)
- Collective Bargaining Rights for Public-Sector Workers
(No matter where you work, you should be allowed to join a union and advocate for better benefits and higher wages. This bill would allow localities, at their discretion, to recognize and bargain with unions representing municipal or county employees.)
- - - - -
But that's not all, folks...
If you want to be the very first people to hear me lay out
my complete legislative agenda for 2020,
if you want to ask question or know details about my bills,
or you simply want to join me for one last fun event
before I drive down to Richmond to fight for our community's values,
- - - - -
And a final word
on the Gerrymandering Amendment...
Just Say No!
Finally, I also have been leading the fight against gerrymandering by opposing a badly flawed constitutional amendment that might well allow a Republican-appointed body to choose our legislature in 2021 and forevermore. All you have to do is check my previous newsletters to read my writing and hear me speaking on this issue in great detail.
When even the Washington Post cites a badly written push-poll (see Q10!) that inaccurately describes what the amendment does, you know we have our work cut out for us. But I'm proud to say we are making leeway. More and more people are learning what this amendment does and why its dangerous promotion of gerrymandering has to be stopped.
Since the election, my opponents on this issue have raised tens of thousands of dollars to defend this disastrous amendment. Since the election, I've raised less than a tenth of that. If you want to help me get the word out to fight this mistake, please contribute to my campaign by clicking here.
The Wason Center "forgot" to mention in its push-poll that, upon the request of just two Republican Delegates, the proposed constitutional amendment would allow a Republican-appointed partisan body (the Virginia Supreme Court)
to gerrymander all of Virginia's legislative districts.
No wonder the poll showed strong support by voters.
How many of them had actually read the amendment to know that
those giving them the poll had misled them about what was in it?
I have written the Washington Post and asked them to issue a correction.
Their readers should know the poll's contents in order to judge its (lack of) accuracy.
In the Community...
Whether you celebrate
I hope you've had a pleasant holiday season.
And I wish everyone a joyful, meaningful, prosperous, and generous New Year.
One of the nice things about celebrating Eight Nights of Chanukah
is it can be done each night with a different family gathering.
I spent the last few nights of Chanukah in my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee.
Here I am with a "small" group of family.
On another night, the family gathering of 50+ people was too large to fit in a photo.
But each menorah here represents a branch of the family.
Celebrating Chanukah on a different day at the Jewish Community Relations Council's Legislative Breakfast with General Assembly colleagues
Delegates Ibraheem Samirah, Kathleen Murphy, Speaker-designee Eileen Filler-Corn, Senator George Barker, and Delegate Mark Sickles.
Speaker of the Virginia House of Delegates.
At the groundbreaking of the Potomac Yard Metro Station with
Alexandria City Council members Amy Jackson, Mo Seifeldein, John Chapman,
and Vice Mayor Elizabeth Bennett-Parker.
Alexandria City Council member Del Pepper has been
looking forward to the Potomac Yard Metro for a long time.
Standing on an aerial floor map representing the heart of the 45th district.
At the Governor's announcement of the huge $3.7 billion deal to bring
more VRE and Amtrak trains to Northern Virginia and the entire region.
(See: Northam promises more VRE, Amtrak trains with $3.7B deal)
Finally, a big thanks to the 40+constituents who joined me at the home
of Greg Parks and David Lord to play "The Gerrymandering Game."
We learned about how politicians gerrymander for partisan gain.
We also discussed in detail what approach
Virginia should take towards real redistricting reform.
This map was made to look like Virginia!
Please Join Me!
I personally participate at the events in red.
And I host the events in blue.
Thursday, January 2
7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Alexandria Delegation Public Hearing
Alexandria City Hall
City Council Chambers (Third Floor)
301 King Street, Alexandria
Sunday, January 5
4:00 pm - 6:00 pm
and Legislation Announcement
Home of Helen Morris
1500 Cameron Street, Alexandria
Monday, January 6
7:30 pm - 9:00 pm
Alexandria Democratic Committee Meeting
Minnie Howard School
3801 W. Braddock Road, Alexandria
Wednesday, January 8
Start of the 2020 Legislative Session
Virginia State Capitol
1000 Bank Street, Richmond
Sunday, January 19
1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
Mark's Monthly Meetup
2615 Mt. Vernon Avenue, Del Ray
It is always my honor and privilege to serve you.
Delegate Mark Levine
Serving Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax in Virginia's 45th District