Newsletter - October 11, 2020
Make a plan to vote! Put it on your calendar NOW. I voted earlier this week in-person at Alexandria's early voting location, 132 N. Royal Street, right across the street from City Hall. After voting for Biden, Warner, and Beyer - and voting NO on Amendment 1 to protect Virginia from enshrining gerrymandering into our Constitution - I spent some time with No on 1 Alexandria volunteer extraordinaire Alex Sprague talking with voters before they headed into the polls.
Newsletter - October 4, 2020
No doubt Amendment 1 is convoluted and complicated. It was designed to be. When those who want to gerrymander Virginia are deceptively couching such an effort as "reform", things get pretty complicated. If Republicans use Amendment 1 to re-gerrymander Virginia back in their favor in 2021, Democrats will not have power to amend it again. Republicans could then lock themselves into permanent gerrymandered power the way they have in Wisconsin, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, North Carolina, etc. But they would have an advantage in Virginia. Because, unlike those other states, the Virginia Legislature appoints the Virginia Supreme Court -- and because Amendment excludes the Governor from having any role -- this would be a permanent revolving door of court appoints legislature appoints court appoints legislature. And voters could never stop it, unless we got a massive supermajority (60%? 65%?) to defeat the statewide partisan political gerrymander.
Newsletter - September 9, 2020
Last week, I told you about the Good Apples Act, HB5112, my bill that requires law enforcement (the "Good Apples") to report the wrongdoing of their fellow officers (the "Bad Apples"). I'm happy to report it passed on Friday, by a vote of 54-43, on a party-line vote. It now must pass through the Senate and be signed by the Governor before it becomes law.
Newsletter - August 30, 2020
The General Assembly's Special Session called by Governor Northam has begun. We are focusing on passing a new budget, COVID-19 relief measures, and police and justice reforms. The House of Delegates has already passed some extremely important bills for COVID relief, protecting Virginians from eviction, and bolstering the safety and fairness of our General Election. The House of Delegates first convened on August 18 in Virginia Commonwealth University's Siegel Center gymnasium, where the high ceilings allowed for good air circulation to prevent the spread of any dangerous particles that might have made it past the masks we were wearing, and the ample space allowed for proper social distancing.
Newsletter - August 10, 2020
I wanted to be sure you knew about two important developments in the fight to protect Virginians from COVID-19 and the economic crisis created by our federal government's utterly inadequate response to this pandemic: the launch of Virginia's first-in-the-nation COVID Exposure Notifications app, and an extension of the eviction moratorium through September 7. I have been hard at work preparing for our Special Session starting August 18. As the Chair of the Public Safety Subcommittee, I've been concentrating specifically on law-enforcement reform. I'll share more about what I'm working on for the Special Session in a newsletter next week.
Newsletter - July 26, 2020
I will be hosting Mark's Monthly Meetup virtually today, Sunday, July 26, from 1-3 pm, live via Zoom. As always, we'll be discussing whatever issues are important to you. This will be my last monthly meetup before the start of our Special Session on August 18. We will tackle a new budget, our COVID-19 response, and criminal justice and police reform. So it's a great time to discuss these issues.
Newsletter - July 25, 2020
In November 2019, you replaced the Republican majority in the Virginia House of Delegates and State Senate with a Democratic majority in both chambers of the General Assembly. You ousted House GOP leaders Kirk Cox and Todd Gilbert as leaders of the Western Hemisphere's longest-lasting legislative body, and replaced them with my friends, House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn and Majority Leader Charniele Herring. If you voted last year, contributed a dime to any Democratic candidate for the Virginia legislature, registered a single voter, or knocked a single door, you made all of this possible.
Newsletter - July 21, 2020
On July 17, America lost two icons: the Honorable John Lewis and Reverend C.T. Vivian. Both men were civil rights heroes who shaped our country's destiny.
Newsletter - July 20, 2020
We finally have a date for our Special Session. Beginning August 18, the General Assembly will meet (either in-person or virtually) "for the purpose of adopting a budget based on the revised revenue forecast and consideration of legislation related to the emergency of COVID-19 and criminal and social justice reforms."
Newsletter - June 30, 2020
The nation is understandably focused on the grim news of 125,000 Americans dead from the novel coronavirus, our strenuous efforts to prevent further spread, and the murder of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor (and far too many others), leading to an outcry for justice. But this grim news has overshadowed what was truly a historic session in the Virginia General Assembly: 1200 new laws go into effect tomorrow, July 1, with the most progressive policies ever put forth in Virginia history. In my June 27 newsletter, I gave you only a small sample of the laws I wrote or worked on that will go into effect tomorrow.