We are now in the final weeks of our General Assembly session in Virginia’s Capitol. We have met with a number of successes, but also a few setbacks, during our legislative journey here in Richmond. I was disappointed that an important Constitutional Amendment, SJ1, which would establish a fundamental right to vote in the Virginia Constitution, was not brought up for a vote on the floor of the House of Delegates. In 2021, we passed a resolution to begin the process of amending the Constitution of Virginia to restore voting rights after incarceration. However, the resolution must be passed again in 2022 before appearing on the ballot as an amendment.
I believe that the Commonwealth should amend our Constitution to automatically restore voting rights to our fellow citizens who have completed incarceration so that they are fully engaged in civic life by voting. A wide range of groups, across the political spectrum, support the restoration of voting rights including Americans for Prosperity and Prison Fellowship who wrote, “Restoring voting rights protects personal liberty. Restrictions on civic engagement with no substantial link to public safety or election security, are incompatible with the principles of a free society.” Today I attended a rally with the Virginia Right to Vote coalition which includes the League of Women Voters, ACLU, NAACP, Virginia New Majority and Virginia Interfaith Power and Light. The theme was — Please let the voters decide!
In terms of successes, I’m glad that a number of our initiatives to increase state support for school construction have made it to the House floor, including reforms to the Literary Fund, a new data tool for tracking school maintenance needs and a new program to provide grant funding to build schools. My human trafficking prevention bill and STEM careers bill are both making their way through the Senate.
Another success has been around strengthening our animal welfare laws for dogs with SB87, SB88, SB90, SB604 and HB1350 all moving through both Chambers. These bills will put pressure on a company called Envigo to improve treatment of the beagles they breed for scientific research. In addition to being chief co-patron of HB1350, I have been helping Senator Bill Stanley find homes for 260 beagles from Envigo. If you or anyone you know is interested in adoption please go to homewardtrails.org or reach out to Senator Stanely’s office at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday was a busy day with our 14th Annual Capitol Square Basketball Game to raise funds for cancer research. Team House raised $13,035 contributing to a total of $50,693 raised for the VCU Massey Cancer Center. For the halftime show, in honor of reaching the House fundraising goal, Delegate Mike Mullin gave Delegate Matt Farris the honors of shaving his mustache for charity! The Governor’s administration, Team Youngkin, won a game against the lobbyists. Then the House competed against the Senate and we are excited to report that Team House were the winners of the Capitol Square Classic!
As the General Assembly Session comes to a close this week, our office looks forward to hearing your concerns and how we can help you. We hold office hours each Tuesday and Thursday 8 to 10AM or 2 to 5PM. If you would like to schedule a meeting or need assistance please reach out to my staff by email at email@example.com or phone at 804-698-1094.
Photos from the Week
Here I am with one of the rescued beagle puppies from Envigo
Senator Stanely and Senator Boysko with a rescued
beagle puppy from Envigo ready for adoption!
Team House (Pink) vs. Team Senate (Green)
Del. Farris shaving Del. Mullin’s mustache during halftime
Outside the Capitol with the Right to Vote Coalition and the League of Women Voters
Supporting the Virginia Right to Vote Coalition with Delegates Ward, Simon, Maldonado, Hope and Delaney