Representing Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax

Newsletter - October 14, 2018

My Op-Ed:

Our Illegitimate Supreme Court Makes

Three Branches of Undemocratic Government

Published in Justice Unbound: A Journal of Christian Social Justice 
and Blue Virginia

"[T]oday, for the first time in American history, the majority of its voters have not been able to choose any branch of the federal government."

We now have "a government of the minority, by the minority, and for the minority."

You can read my entire article at Justice Unbound or Blue Virginia here. 


Fighting Domestic Abuse and Sexual Violence

I advise on board of Project PEACE to protect Arlington survivors of domestic & sexual violence.
I shared my story at a Project Peace Domestic Violence awareness forum.
Pictured with program manager Cheryl Bozarth, survivor Kate Ranta and Kate's son William.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

You may already know how domestic violence has affected my family. If you don't, you can learn more by reading this 2015 article in the Washington Post about my fight for justice for my sister and my family. Because of how personal this issue is for me, fighting for survivors of domestic abuse and sexual violence has been one of my top priorities since long before I was first elected. 

I advise the board of Arlington's Project Peace, and four times a year, I travel to Richmond to serve the Virginia Advisory Committee on Sexual and Domestic Violence. I'm also proud of my work protecting rape kits for survivors from disposal and obtaining the federal and state funds necessary to bring Northern Virginia 24/7 Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners at INOVA Fairfax Hospital.

This month, I participated in numerous public awareness events and behind-the-scenes strategizing with women's advocates to make sure we do everything in our power to stop the scourge of domestic and sexual violence.

At two recent forums in Fairfax and Arlington Counties, I shared my search for justice following the murder of my sister by her husband.

Fairfax County Sheriff Stacey Kincaid bravely shared her story of the domestic violence she faced in her family when she was a girl.

And my friend Delegate Kathleen Murphy courageously declared, for the first time in public, that she is a survivor of sexual assault.

All three of our testimonials are linked in WUSA 9's story here.

Here's mine:

As the confirmation process of Kavanaugh made clear, your voice is needed now more than ever to show your commitment to listening to accounts of sexual and domestic violence and acting upon them. Statistics show that one in three women and one in seven men are survivors. That's hundreds of people you personally know. And if you don't know their stories, that may be because they are afraid to tell you. Or feel shame. Or fear they won't be believed.

There is no better time than now to let those you love know you care, that you won't judge them, and that you will listen to their stories carefully, with empathy and respect. 

Publicizing Fairfax County's "Make the Call" campaign, urging survivors and witnesses
to report domestic & sexual violence. Thank you especially to Sheriff Stacey Kincaid
and Delegate Kathleen Murphy for sharing their own personal stories.

If you or someone you know is a victim, witness, or survivor of domestic or

sexual violence, please make the call to report it. All lines are open 24/7.

  • Alexandrians, call 703-746-4911 (Domestic Violence Hotline) or 703-683-7273 (Sexual Assault Hotline).
  • Arlingtonians, call 703-237-0881.
  • Fairfax residents, call 703-360-7273.
  • Virginia Sexual/Domestic Violence and Assault Hotline
    800-838-8238 | Text: 804-793-9999

These calls save lives. Make the Call!


Voter Registration Deadline:

Monday, October 15

Confirm your registration status by clicking here.

The deadline to register to vote or update your registration in Virginia is TOMORROW, Monday, October 15. Register! Register your friends! Register your like-minded neighbors! And then vote in November!

Please, make sure you are registered. Check your voter registration record online.

You can also register or edit your registration information at the link above.

The Voter Registration Application can also be mailed via the U.S. postal service or hand-delivered to any official registration office. If mailed, the application must be postmarked no later than the deadline. If delivered in person, either by the applicant or a third party, the application must be received by the deadline. On the final day of registration for an election all general registrar offices close at 5:00 p.m. Applications postmarked or received after the deadline will be held and processed after the election.

For questions concerning completing the application and voting on Election Day, call your local registration office.

For other questions contact the Virginia Department of Elections. 

ABSENTEE VOTING HAS STARTED

If you want to vote before Election Day or think you might not be able to get to the polls that day, Virginia has an absentee voting program. You may be eligible to vote Absentee By Mail or Absentee In Person if you have a qualifying reason. 

VOTE ABSENTEE IN PERSON

For most of us, voting absentee in person is actually much easier than voting by mail.  

You can get it all done in a quick one-step process. And you can be sure your vote is counted.

Alexandria will offer in-person absentee voting at the Office of Voter Registration & Elections, 132 North Royal Street (Suite 100).

Arlington will offer in-person absentee voting at the Arlington Government Center, Courthouse Plaza, 2100 Clarendon Blvd. (Suite 320).

Fairfax will offer in-person absentee voting at the Mount Vernon Governmental Center, 2511 Parkers Lane and the Franconia Governmental Center, 6121 Franconia Road.

VOTE ABSENTEE BY MAIL

In order to vote Absentee By Mail, you have to apply to receive a ballot. You can get an application here to mail in or you can apply online here. Applications must be received by 5:00 pm the Tuesday before the election. Your completed ballot must then be received by 7:00 pm on Election Day. Mail voting is two steps, requiring you to mail a timely application and then to fill out a ballot and mail it back as well.

I prefer voting absentee in person. It's one step. And you know your vote was received and will be counted.


Court to Draw New District Lines for Virginia House

to Undo Republican Racial Gerrymander

In June 2018, after three years of appeals, including an appeal to the United States Supreme Court, a three-judge federal panel ruled that Virginia Republicans in 2011 illegally drew district lines that racially gerrymandered the Commonwealth and requested the General Assembly draw new fair lines by October 30.

In the months that followed, Republicans appealed the ruling, sought to stay the ruling, refused to draw a map, refused public hearings, expressly refused to even consider setting a date to consider a map, and rejected on party lines a Democratic map proposed months ago. Governor Northam declared an impasse.

Then, under court pressure, Republican Speaker Kirk Cox finally scheduled a special session on October 20th to consider only a new Republican map designed to protect Republican incumbents that, in several districts, made racial gerrymandering worse. When Governor Northam wisely said he would veto a proposal such as this that did not obey the court order, Cox canceled the special session.

As expected, we are at a legislative dead end.

So -- unless the Supreme Court interferes -- the federal court will draw the new lines in time for the 2019 elections. This is probably best for everyone involved. As I've stated before, politicians should be taken out of the redistricting process entirely. 

For more background on redistricting, please read my previous newsletters on the topic: my August 20 newsletter, and my September 21 newsletter


Medicaid Expansion: 30-Day Public Comment

Period on Work Requirements ends October 20

As part of the Virginia legislature's historic compromise to expand Medicaid, we unfortunately included work requirements in the new law. I did not want these to be included in the law, but their inclusion was the only way we were able to get the Republican votes needed to pass it. 

Now the Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS) must submit what's called a Medicaid Section 1115 Demonstration Waiver to seek federal approval for work requirements. The work requirements plan is also called COMPASS. 

To read the COMPASS Waiver’s full Public Notice, please follow this link

To read a copy of the draft Compass Waiver application, please follow this link.

The primary effect of work requirements is to make it harder for people to access affordable healthcare. Instead of wasting funds to implement these requirements, I would rather use the money to bring health care to those in need.

PUBLIC COMMENT

The 30-day public comment period for the Virginia COMPASS application ends on October 20, 2018. All comments must be received by midnight (Eastern Time) on Saturday, October 20, 2018. Public comments may be submitted by email to 1115Implementation@dmas.virginia.gov or by regular mail or in person at the address below.

Susan Puglisi

Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services

Attn: Virginia COMPASS

600 E Broad Street

Richmond, VA 23219

PUBLIC HEARING 

DMAS will also hold a public hearing in Arlington on October 15th where verbal or written public comments can be submitted. To give verbal comments at the public hearings, individuals will need to sign up in advance on a sign-up sheet available at the public hearing. All public comments should be limited to two minutes each.

The location and time of the public hearing is: 

Monday, October 15th, 2018, 3:30-5:00 PM
Arlington Central Library
1015 N. Quincy St
Arlington, VA 22201

To view the presentation to be provided at the public hearing, please follow this link.

After considering the public’s ideas and comments about the proposed changes, DMAS will make final decisions about what changes to make to the Virginia COMPASS Waiver and then submit a revised application to CMS. The summary of comments, as well as copies of all written comments received, will be posted for public viewing on the DMAS website along with the waiver extension application when it is submitted to CMS.

All information regarding the Virginia COMPASS Waiver application can be found on this web page. DMAS will update this website throughout the public comment and application process.

For more information about Virginia’s current 1115 Demonstration, which the Commonwealth is seeking to extend, please visit the CMS website at: https://www.medicaid.gov/Medicaid-CHIP-Program-Information/By-Topics/Waivers/1115/downloads/va/va-gov-access-plan-gap-ca.pdf.


Alexandria Renew Seeking Public Input on

Plan for Overhauling Sewage System

Initial Public Comment Period Ends October 25th


Potential sewage diversion tunnel routes on the River Renew plan. 

As detailed in previous newsletters, Alexandria Renew, the City of Alexandria's sanitation facility, is seeking public input on RiverRenew, the city's initiative to overhaul its 19th-century combined rainfall/sewage overflow system. A state law passed in 2017 required Alexandria to remediate all four of its combined sewer outfalls by July 1, 2025. You can learn more about the project here

Click here for details on possible comment topics.

The deadline for the initial phase of public input is October 25th.

Whatever concerns you have about the project, now is a great time to make your voice heard.

- Are you concerned about traffic disruptions? 
- Noise and vibrations from construction? 
- Higher bills?
- Harm to local historical landmarks or artifacts found underground?
- Would you rather they do round-the-clock construction for a shorter period of time, or construction only during regular working hours for a longer period of time?

All of these things are being taken into consideration.

Perhaps you have other concerns.

Click here to submit your comments.


Trump Proposes New Rules to Stifle Free

Speech & Prevent Protests on National Mall

Public Comment Period Ends TOMORROW, October 15th

The Trump administration, in a clear step towards authoritarianism, is seeking to implement a new permitting process for protests on the National Mall and near the White House. These changes including limiting protests in front of the White House and charging a fee for permit applications for the first time ever. 

The National Park Service, which is proposing the new rules, is accepting public comments until TOMORROW, October 15th.

Click this link and then click the green button (above) to submit your comment.  Let them know that the First Amendment must be protected.


Come discuss any issue on your mind.
It's OK to come late or leave early.

 

Every month, I make sure to be available in this informal setting for any constituent who wishes to discuss a concern or just say hello. 


In the Community...

Speaking with constituents at Mark's Monthly Meetup on Sep. 23.
Sometimes, there's only a small number of people. Why don't you check it out?

Meeting with Sen. Barbara Favola, Del. Jennifer Boysko, and women's advocates 
for a women's equality agenda in Virginia. 

With Alexandria's Legislative Director Sarah Taylor, Mayor Allison Silberberg, and Senator George Barker, speaking at the Alexandria Council of Human Services Organizations' legislative meeting.

Celebrating the Arlington Gay and Lesbian Alliance and the Grand Opening of Federico's Ristorante Italiano with Freddie Lutz and Senator Adam Ebbin. 

Hearing from members of the Fairlington Community Association about their concerns and priorities.

Visit Alexandria spoke to a packed house about all the benefits tourism brings to the City of Alexandria. 

With fellow Delegates Alfonso Lopez, Marcus Simon, Rip Sullivan, and Patrick Hope
at the 8th Congressional District Kennedy-King Dinner. 

At the Brennan Center for Justice's panel on election security. 

With Del. Alfonso Lopez and Fairfax County School Board Chair Karen Corbett-Sanders 
at the Fairfax County Democratic Committee's first ever Pride reception.

Campagna Center's Oktoberfest was a great event in support of a great organization.

With domestic violence advocate Kate Ranta and her son William at a Project PEACE awareness event.
We must take a stand against domestic and sexual violence.

With Senator Mark Warner supporting State Senator Jennifer Wexton's bid 
to repeal and replace Rep. Barbara Comstock in Congress. 

The cutting of the ribbon at the Grand Opening Ceremony of the Governor's Health Sciences Academy at T.C. Williams.

Thanking Governor Ralph Northam for helping to open the Governor's Health Sciences Academy at T.C. Williams. 


Upcoming Events

Please Join Me!

 
(I personally participate in the events in red)
 
Sunday, October 14
3:00-5:00 pm
Fundraiser for Elizabeth Bennett-Parker for Alexandria City Council
106 N. Lee St., Alexandria
 
Tuesday, October 16
7:00-8:00 pm
Canek Aguirre for Alexandria City Council Meet and Greet
Home of Bill Sermons and Alyson Young
903 Crestwood Dr., Alexandria
 
Thursday, October 18
2:00-4:00 pm
COPN Work Group
Pocahontas Building, House Commitee Room
900 E Main St., Richmond
 
Saturday, October 20
2:00-4:00 pm
Guest House Graduation Ceremony
100 W. Luray Ave., Alexandria
 
Tuesday, October 23
2:30-3:00 pm
Transgender Day of Remembrance Proclamation Signing Ceremony

Arlington County Office of Human Rights
2100 Clarendon Blvd #318, Arlington, VA 22201
 
Wednesday, October 24
6:00 - 8:00 pm
Safe Virginia Initiative Panel, Guns and Domestic Violence:
A Lethal Combination
George Mason University's Johnson Center, Meeting Room C
4400 University Drive, Fairfax
 
Sunday, October 28
2:00-4:00 pm
Mark's Monthly Meetup

Los Tios
2501 Mt. Vernon Ave., Alexandria

It is always my honor and privilege to serve you.

Delegate Mark Levine
Serving Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax in Virginia's 45th District