Last night, Karen Graf sent an email to her supporters announcing she is ceasing her campaign for Delegate. While I have not yet had a chance to speak with her since the announcement, I welcome her call to work together to elect Democrats throughout the Commonwealth in the many Republican-held districts in the House of Delegates, particularly those that voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016. The woman who beat Trump by 3 million votes is right on this. We are Stronger Together.
Session ended Saturday. It's good to be home in Alexandria. And now the campaign begins. Please mark your calendars to vote for my re-election in the Democratic primary on Tuesday, June 13th.
One in five women will suffer sexual assault or domestic violence in their lifetime, and some men will undergo this ordeal as well. When I ran for office, I made clear that services to survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence would be one of my highest priorities. If you've been following along in prior newsletters, you know all about my Bill of Rights for Survivors of Sexual Assault, which extends the time in which evidence of sexual assault is preserved. On Wednesday, the Senate passed my bill HB 2127 unanimously. It passed the House of Delegates unanimously last week.
This week, two of my bills passed the House: (1) my bill to preserve evidence of sexual assault and (2) the bill I chief co-patroned with Republican Delegate Terry Kilgore to protect Virginians' First Amendment right to protest. Both bills are moving on to the Senate. Unfortunately, my budget amendment to bring more broadband internet to rural Virginia was rejected by the Appropriations Committee.
When the Democratic Leadership of the House of Delegates asked me to speak out against last week's Executive Order, I spoke straight from the heart. I compared the current ban on lawfully admitted and vetted refugees, fleeing mass murder in Syria, to the 1939 attempted exodus of German Jews, turned away at our border and sent back to the gas chambers. I called on every Delegate -- and particularly Republicans who have fallen silent -- to speak out in defense of American values and our immigrant history. I urged them to reject fear. To say, "Never Again!"
This week was the single busiest of the year for us. It was Peak Week, the middle week of the three full weeks before “Crossover”, that magical mid-session date when each House of the General Assembly finishes its business and puts its approved legislation into the lap of the other House (February 7 this year). We have to move more than 1000 House Bills before Crossover! Because 99% of House bills have to go through Committee first – and 90% of the time an additional Subcommittee as well – it’s a crazy busy time.