Lobby Day Is Over

Citizens Advocate for Gun Control from Both Sides at the Capitol

  • The Virginia Citizens Defense League held a Second Amendment rally at the Bell Tower at Capitol Square in the morning. The Virginia Center for Public Safety followed with an afternoon vigil that honored lives lost to gun violence.


Northam says he supports raising Virginia's smoking and vaping age from 18 to 21

  • Gov. Ralph Northam said Monday that he supports legislation to raise Virginia’s minimum age for tobacco purchases from 18 to 21, locking in bipartisan backing for the bill among top political leaders. “The less minors that put that first cigarette in their mouth, the better,” Northam said in an interview Monday morning. “Nicotine is addictive, we know that.”

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School Safety Bills Are Up for Final Approval

  • The House of Delegates on Tuesday is expected to pass the first five bills in a package of legislation to improve school safety — proposals drafted by a special committee after the mass shooting last year at a high school in Parkland, Florida. House Speaker Kirk Cox, a high school teacher for 30 years, and other Republican delegates held a news conference Monday to urge support for the bills, which would help schools improve security, require them to have emergency response plans and ensure that counselors spend most of their time with students.

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Va. Senate Republicans take up $15 minimum wage and kill it, seeking to send message to Northern Virginia chamber

  • The Senate, on a 21-19 party-line vote, by which Republicans sought to send a message to the Northern Virginia Chamber of Commerce, defeated a bill Monday to raise the minimum wage to $15 per hour by 2021.

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Lobbying ‘Day of Action’ Brings Hundreds to Richmond

  • Hundreds of political activists from across Virginia gathered in Richmond on Monday to lobby in favor of driving rights for immigrants, a higher minimum wage and voting rights for felons.

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Richmond-area senator wants to restore pre-recession school staffing levels

  • Lifting a decade-long cap on certain state-funded school staffing won’t come cheap, but Sen. Jennifer McClellan, D-Richmond, is asking the General Assembly to do it — again.

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Williams: Virginia has a dark history of lynching. Efforts are underway to bring it to light.

  • The 80-odd men who broke into the Charles City courthouse jail to lynch Isaac Brandon were masked, armed and unburdened by the truth.

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VCU report: City won't recoup investment on Redskins training camp deal until at least 2023

  • Richmond won’t break even financially until 2023 on the economic development deal that brought the Washington Redskins to the city for the team’s annual training camp, according to a new study by the Virginia Commonwealth University Center for Urban and Regional Analysis.

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Masculinity Over Everything

  • It’s been a few days since the Women’s March RVA and as motivated as I am to build; my passion is to amplify narratives of persistence for black women. I understand that dismantling the patriarchy will take bulldozers of disruption as well as barriers of sustainable resistance. With this resistance, will come reactions, some healthy and others that perpetuate the historic harms, especially at the expense of black women. These oppressive reactions are normally ones loaded in defense and avoidance of bias that then lead to unnecessary caping. Caping, or to cape, is defined in the Urban Dictionary as “blindly defending someone.” As I reflected on seeing 1000 Richmonders from all backgrounds at the Arthur Ashe Center last Saturday, I couldn’t help but think how we, as a society, have different reactions to people based on how we perceive their identity. It is human nature to process the world through a lens of our own experience; however, our lenses are partly shaped by the dominant narrative of our country. The problem comes when we blindly rely on our unchecked lens to guide how we think we are supposed to react. AKA: CAPING.

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A Sacred Public Space

  • "Today, we work to restore history together," Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney told a crowd of 250-plus volunteers at a special ceremony held at Evergreen Cemetery on Martin Luther King Jr.'s birthday. "Today, we celebrate the permanent protection of Evergreen as a sacred public space that represents our shared values of freedom, service and opportunity."

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I am so happy it's Friday

 

VRS says Northam's budget plan to boost law enforcement health credits would raise liabilities by $76 million

 

  • The governor's budget proposal already has drawn fire from House Appropriations Chairman Chris Jones, R-Suffolk, who called the increases for state police, sheriffs and their deputies, and other state law officers "fiscally irresponsible" and unfair to other public employees who receive the credits after retirement to help pay for health insurance.

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House committee chairman who stopped ERA last year unsure if he'll schedule new vote

 

  • A Senate resolution for Virginia to become the 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment passed a committee with bipartisan support on Wednesday, indicating that it’s likely to pass the full Senate and head to the House.

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Virginia Lawmakers Seek Information on Prisoner Segregation

 

  • Virginia is one of seven states that do not require record keeping for segregated prisoners. Del. Patrick Hope, D-Arlington, has introduced a bill that would require DOC to annually submit data reports to the General Assembly and governor regarding the length of confinement, inmate demographics and disability treatment. Hope said the bill would increase transparency and improve inmate mental health care.

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Lawmakers Have Mixed Reactions to Governor’s Address

  • The 2019 General Assembly session marks Northam’s second year in office and the 400th anniversary of the House of Burgesses, the first democratically elected legislative body in the British American colonies. His speech didn’t shy away from acknowledging the state’s “long and complex history” while connecting several of the session’s proposals to health and safety.

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Goodbye Formalities, Lets Legislate!

Goodbye Formalities, Lets Legislate!

Resolutions for the Virginia General Assembly to ratify the ERA did not get out of GOP-controlled committees last year, even with ERA supporters packing committee rooms and pressuring lawmakers to take action. Since then, ERA supporters have done a flurry of lobbying across the state, including a bus tour, and enlisted support from more Republicans in anticipation of a major push this year.

The Virginia House of Delegates convened for the 400th time

The Virginia House of Delegates convened for the 400th time

On Wednesday, the Virginia House of Delegates gaveled in the 2019 General Assembly Session, reaching a historic milestone of 400 years of uninterrupted lawmaking for the people of Virginia. The House of Delegates, formally the House of Burgesses, is the the oldest continuously elected law-making body in the New World, established in 1619.

Marking this historic milestone Speaker Kirk Cox addressed the 100 members of the House of Delegates. His remarks as prepared for delivery are below.



Opinion: Do not expect any gun reform in the General Assembly this year

Opinion: Do not expect any gun reform in the General Assembly this year

It started months before the beginning of the 2019 session, the trend and rhetoric that implied Speaker Cox and GOP leadership would not entertain any talks to address gun violence. When Speaker Cox convened the select committee for school safety, he gave them one specific directive: stay away from guns. Last summer, Cox said his reasoning for steering the committee away from gun talks was because “Once we go there, that’s all we’ll discuss.”

Northam Announces Legislative Proposals to Protect Voting Rights and Reform Campaign Finance Laws

By Brandon Jarvis

Ahead of the General Assembly session that convenes on Wednesday, Virginia Governor Ralph Northam presented legislative proposals that he is pushing with assistance from legislators. The main chunk of his agenda include protecting voter rights and campaign finance reforms for the state of Virginia. In all, the package includes proposals to implement no-excuse absentee voting; repeal the requirement to show a photo ID to vote; limit large campaign contributions; ban direct contributions from corporations or businesses; and prohibit the personal use of campaign funds.

“Participation makes our democracy strong—we should encourage every eligible voter to exercise this fundamental right, rather than creating unnecessary barriers that make getting to the ballot box difficult,” said Governor Northam. “I am also hopeful we will be successful working together this session to increase the transparency of our elections for Virginians by imposing reasonable limitations on campaign contributions.”

Senator Mamie Locke and Delegate Charniele Herring are patroning bills that will help reduce lines on Election Day and expand access for more Virginians to exercise their right to vote. It would permits any registered voter to vote by absentee ballot in any election in which they are qualified to vote. This bill removes the current list of statutory reasons under which a person may be entitled to vote by absentee ballot.

Legislation repealing the law requiring individuals to present a photo ID in order to vote is another bill that is being pushed by Sen. Locke, along with Del. Kaye Kory.


“Voting is the constitutional right of every American citizen. Lawmakers should be working to increase access to the voting booth, not inventing ways to keep voters away from the polls,” said Delegate Kaye Kory. “The photo ID requirement prevents the most vulnerable Virginians from voting and silences the voices of those who most need to be heard.”

Legislation to limit large individual campaign contributions will be patroned by Senator Chap Petersen. This bill caps campaign contributions at $10,000 per candidate over the course of a given primary and general election cycle. Thirty-nine other states and the federal government have set limits on how much a single person can contribute to a campaign. In Virginia, no limit currently exists.

“There’s too much big money in politics,” said Senator Chap Petersen. “We need some reasonable limits on what people can contribute in order to keep the process honest.”  

The proposal to ban direct corporate and business contributions to campaigns will be patroned by Delegate Elizabeth Guzman. To ensure enforcement, the bill also bans corporations and businesses from making direct contributions to their own political action committees. Contributions from individuals would be unaffected by this legislation.

“Our Commonwealth has an opportunity to reform campaign finance laws by banning direct corporate and business donations,” said Delegate Elizabeth Guzman. “Virginians want legislators who represent their interests, and this reform will foster more trust in the legislative process.”

Legislation to ban the personal use of campaign funds will be patroned by Delegate Marcus Simon. This bill prohibits candidates from using campaign money for personal expenses, which is currently allowed under Virginia law.



Brandon Jarvis and Richmond 2day

My name is Brandon Jarvis and I am the managing editor at Richmond2day.com. However, I will also be working with RVA Dirt as I report on the General Assembly. RVA Dirt has an excellent grasp on Richmond City politics - being my main source for information as it is happening in the city since 2016. They have presented real-time news and facts from City Council and School Board meetings to forums and town halls.

I am looking forward to the opportunity to help them expand their coverage that is already unique in Richmond’s media market. However, while I work as a reporter and team up with RVA Dirt, Richmond 2day will continue to have a team of reporters and citizen-journalists covering the General Assembly and any other political news across the state, from Congress to the local local School Boards.

The media and the press are the most important tools of democracy. Transparency is necessary for a government to govern and lead effectively. My goal is to present a reader with the facts and details that they need to create an informed opinion on a subject. Thank you for allowing me to do that.

Follow me on Twitter @Jaaavis for real-time updates.