MARK IN THE NEWS
F.C. Event Marks 50th Anniversary of Stonewall
Falls Church News-Press
Or by mail and phone:
900 East Main Street, Suite E208
Richmond, VA 23219
301 King St
Alexandria, VA 22314
The Farce of July
Picture credit: The Washington Post. Article below.
Inside the effort to build suspense — and crowds — for Trump’s Fourth of July
Happy Independence Day to my Fellow Americans.
Not this year. With our President kowtowing to dictators all around the globe; praising murderous dictators in Russia, North Korea, China, and Saudi Arabia while striving to be more like them with restrictions on our press and tanks in our streets, all while forcibly separating families escaping persecution, locking innocent children in overcrowded cages where they have no beds, inadequate food and medical care, few showers, and no toothbrushes or blankets that even the Taliban gave their military prisoners -- I'm not inclined to go to the megalomaniac toddler's multi-million dollar celebration of himself to witness his open-air theft of millions of dollars of taxpayer money to his own emolument-filled pockets.
Since the entire purpose of the event is to help our narcissistic President, self-loathing in his personal and intellectual inadequacies, "avoid the prospect of facing a smaller crowd of the sort that gathered on the Mall for his swearing-in", I certainly won't contribute to his numbers, despite the fact that I've gone every year prior.
And I would join the protests today, except I'm not a fan of Code Pink. Still, I can't quibble with anyone who joins them. A selfie in front of the giant orange baby blimp would be a nice momento.
My annual tradition of hosting friends and supporters for a fun night of food, drinks, and fireworks at my home in North Old Town continues on Saturday, July 13, 7:30-10:30 pm. Raise your glasses of lIme-peach-minT-rum punch and share a drink with me. Lime, peach, mint, and rum taste very sweet together. My parents will be flying in from Nashville to attend.
At last year's Fireworks on the Potomac, almost 200 progressives came out to support turning the legislature blue, and I know I can fit even more folks in my house and on my back lawn this year. (Maybe not in the house but definitely on the lawn!)
Can you help?
Throwing this party takes a lot of hard work.
Instead of donating money,
can you donate time and sweat equity to preparing food and drinks for the event?
New Virginia Laws Go Into Effect
I voted for every single one of these new laws.
Use of mobile phones or other handheld devices in a highway work zone is now prohibited. To be clear, you don't need to be using your phone; simply holding it in a prohibited area is a violation. Violators are subject to a $250 fine.
Move Over for Police and Emergency Vehicles
If you are traveling on a four-lane highway and see a stationary police car or emergency vehicle on the right-hand shoulder or in the right lane, you are required, if you are safely able to do so, to move to the left and leave at least one empty lane between you and the parked vehicles so you don't risk injury to those on the side of the road. If you neglect to do so, it's now a misdemeanor for reckless driving and not just a traffic infraction.
Local Control of Scooters
No Tobacco in Our Schools
Tobacco products are now completely banned on public school campuses and at school events. The age for buying tobacco products has been raised to 21. (Details below.)
Newsboys, shoe-shine boys, babysitters who work 10 hours or more per week, ushers, doormen, concession attendants, and cashiers in theaters are no longer exempt from minimum wage requirements. The exemption for these jobs was a vestige of the Jim Crow era, when these positions were thought to be primarily held by black people.
(And yes, I'm fully aware that "girls", "men", and "women" can shine shoes or deliver news. But the lingo tells you something about how old this code language is that we repealed.)
Pay Stubs Required
Employers are now required to give either a written or digital pay stub to employees at each regular pay date. This is a strong step forward, although farmworkers (unfortunately) remain exempt.
Minimum Age to Purchase Tobacco Raised to 21
Alcohol at Coworking Spaces
Coworking spaces with at least 100 members can serve beer and wine to members and guests on the premises with a special license. (I was asked to copatron this bill by local businesses in Alexandria.)
"Jacob's Law" allows same-sex couples the same rights to be surrogate parents as opposite-sex couples. I was proud to co-patron this legislation.
At the bill signing ceremony for "Jacob's Law."
Medical professionals are now required to provide parents information about perinatal anxiety in addition to perinatal depression, shaken baby syndrome, and safe sleeping positions.
More People are Allowed to Adopt
Stepsiblings, stepparents and other adult relatives have been added to the list of people who can apply to adopt a child.
Mandatory Reporting of Child Abuse
Ministers, priests, rabbis, imams and other religious practitioners have to report child abuse, except in instances where the information supporting the suspicion of child abuse or neglect is required by the doctrine of the religious organization to be kept secret. I strongly supported this and wanted it to go even farther.
It is now a crime to share "deep-fakes," digitally-created fake images or videos that falsely portray another person engaging in sexually-explicit activities.
The list of new laws that could have taken effect this year -- but didn't -- include universal background checks on gun purchases; a ban on high-capacity magazines, bump stocks, and assault weapons; and extreme risk protection laws. I will personally introduce Virginia's ban on high-capacity magazines, bump stocks, silencers, and assault weapons at our special session this Tuesday, July 9. You will hear a lot more on this in future newsletters. For a full list of the Governor's gun-violence prevention agenda, click here. I'm in full support of the entire agenda.
If we pass any of these laws, they will go in effect in November.
If we don't pass these laws, we have to change the seats of the legislators who voted against or refused to consider them.
With your help in 2019, we can change Virginia in 2020...
Want to help make that happen? Join me Saturday, July 13 at 7:30 pm for ...
A Victory for the Constitution?
For Now, 2020 Census Won't Include Citizenship
but I'm very worried it will come back...
The Trump administration had sought to ask a question about citizenship as part of the 2020 Census count, but just recently, the Census Bureau confirmed that the Census questionnaires have begun to be printed without the citizenship question included. The administration backing down on including this question would be a victory for the rule of law and democracy.
The Census is mandated by the Constitution and its results are used to help create voting districts and determine federal funding to different localities. The inclusion of the citizenship question threatens the integrity of the Census data by making non-citizens (and citizens living with non-citizens) less likely to answer Census questions honestly. In turn, it will lead to massive undercounts of populations in communities with higher immigrant populations.
But Trump is still fighting to include the question,
which is "specifically crafted to provide
a structural electoral advantage to white Republicans."
So stay tuned.
Now Running Unopposed...
My putative Republican opponent this November failed to qualify for the ballot. To qualify, you need 125 petition signatures from voters who live in the 45th District of the eastern half of Alexandria, South Arlington, and a couple of adjoining Fairfax precincts south of the City of Alexandria that I'm proud to represent. I have collected that number of signatures in a few hours at the Braddock Metro each of the three times I've ran, but the Republican who announced he was running against me for the last three months apparently only garnered 72. He will not be on the ballot this fall.
Why? Because we give virtually all our money away. Of all the non-competitive races, I was the only Delegate who gave so much of our campaign money away in 2017, that my campaign ended the year in debt. In 2017, I gave away more than $50,000: the highest contribution of any Democratic Delegate outside our leadership. Giving to me is a two-fer. You help show the Democratic Caucus your support for my hard work and you end up giving the money to the House campaign where it's needed most.
We can be nimble. Members of the House Democratic Caucus have access to the latest polls and latest money donations. When the Koch Brothers suddenly dump a million dollars in one particular competitive race in mid-October to put up TV ads, we will know immediately and we can respond accordingly in that particular race. I know it's hard to know exactly where to give. Everyone is asking for your contribution right now. I commit to you that we will forward your donation to the vulnerable Democratic incumbents and competitive Democratic challengers who need the money most. If a candidate is way ahead, they don't get your contribution, because they don't need it. Nor they do get funded if they -- wonderful though they are -- have little chance to win the seat. Nor do they get money if their campaign is flush with sufficient cash to have a strong campaign. We are careful to spend the money in the races where the contribution will make the most difference to Mission 51: a Democratic majority in the Virginia House of Delegates.
By being careful with your contribution and sending it to me to distribute, you not only let me know you value my work. You get more bang for your buck!
In the Community...
Serving on a panel discussing the LGBTQ-rights movement to mark the
50th Anniversary of the Stonewall Uprising. Also on the panel were Nick Benton of the Falls Church News-Press, Delegate Danica Roem, Don Davenport (who was at Stonewall on the fateful day 50 years ago), and advocate pastor Diane Maloney.
Met with Parents for Safe Alexandria Schools members to discuss
gun violence prevention legislation and the July 9 Special Legislative Session.
In Shirlington, talking with voters at a Pizza and Politics fundraiser for House Democrats
With faith and community leaders at Christ Church Refugee Ministry's Refugee Community Dinner.
It is extremely important that we welcome refugees into our communities.
What a contrast we provide to the Trump Administration's sadistic cruelty!
With Senator Tim Kaine and Freddie Lutz at Senator Kaine's Pride Event at Freddie's Beach Bar
Celebrating Pride with Loudoun County Democrats,
Delegates David Reid and Karrie Delaney, and Senator Adam Ebbin.
Speaking at the Loudoun County Democratic Committee's Pride Event.
Click the photo or right here to watch my speech.
Please Join Me!
(I will be speaking at events in red.)
10:00 am - 2:00 pm
Rosemont July 4th Celebration
Maury Elementary School
600 Russell Road, Alexandria
1000 Bank Street, Richmond
SATURDAY, JULY 13
Fifth Annual Fireworks on the Potomac
North Old Town, Alexandria
Pictures from last year's celebration...
Let the fireworks begin...
So come celebrate July 13 with us!
Meet my parents!
Join us in a toast to Trump's Impeachment
with our signature
Throwing this party takes a lot of hard work.
Instead of donating money, can you donate time and sweat equity to preparing food and drinks for the event?
It is always my honor and privilege to serve you.
Delegate Mark Levine
Serving Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax in Virginia's 45th District