Representing Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax

We are two days away from Crossover! - Tuesday, February 11 - the halfway point of session and the deadline to have bills pass out of both House and Senate before heading over to the other chamber for approval. On Monday and Tuesday, we will be debating and voting on several hundred bills. These are the two busiest days of session on the Floor. 

Welcome to the longest newsletter of the year. (So long I had no room in the email software to send it all to you. More will come mid-week.)

Just as we did the previous week, the House of Delegates spent the first week of February passing transformative legislation that will improve the lives of millions of Virginians all across the Commonwealth.

This week's newsletter will be broken into two parts to account for the large amount of information contained within. This one will focus on the many bills of mine that passed the full House or are headed to a vote on the Floor. Part two will focus on the Not-Yet Successes of the session.

To say law week was a busy week is an understatement. Last week, sixteen of my bills passed the House, a committee, or a subcommittee. And five were continued to next year.

As this new Democratic House has introduced 40% more bills than any other House in Virginia history, it's been a very busy time. Most weekdays, I woke up around 6 am and finished work after midnight. I made it back to Alexandria Friday night and collapsed and slept through much of Saturday. Today (Sunday) I am rested and spent most of the day writing you this newsletter in anticipation of one more very long full week in subcommittees and committees.

This week, the House’s Democratic majority made dramatic progress. As I now sit on four critical House committees that decide crucial issues, I was able to proudly vote there in favor of bills I copatroned on three of the most important priorities you sent us to Richmond to accomplish:

  • Reduce Gun Violence
    (seven bills, including background checks and red flag laws)
  • Protect Reproductive Freedom
  • Remove Restrictions on the Right to Vote

This week, Virginia became the 38th state in the USA
to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment.

The ERA moved through the House very quickly. The Privileges and Elections Committee, on which I serve, heard the vote on Tuesday morning.

Although the ERA still faces court challenges, based on the deadlines Congress set when it first approved the amendment in 1972 and the decisions of a handful of states purporting to rescind ratification, the actions we took this week were a necessary precondition to finally achieving the goal of enshrining gender equality in our Constitution. It was awe-inspiring to think that my vote this week could end up changing the US Constitution and in such a profoundly powerful and important way.

Democrats promised that if we took the majority, passing the ERA would be at the top of our agenda. We kept that promise. 

The 2020 legislative session has begun. 

We are, quite simply, the most diverse House of Delegates in Virginia's history. 
Never before has the makeup of the House so reflected Virginia's diversity.

One of the first orders of business was to vote on House rules governing how our chamber will operate.

Honoring this historic occasion, we changed the House's default pronouns to the female.

This may seem like a trivial matter, but as Speaker Filler-Corn put it: “We have updated the language of the House to reflect a Commonwealth that is open and welcoming to everyone. For hundreds of years, the assumption was that male pronouns would cover everyone.” Now female pronouns also include the male, instead of vice versa.

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.