In this week’s newsletter, I’ll share information on the Reconvened Session and the General Assembly, recent conversations regarding court rulings on Mifepristone, and opportunities for community engagement. I also provide reflections on recent community events. Thank you for taking the time to read the newsletter and for staying informed.
On Wednesday, members of the Virginia Senate and House of Delegates gathered at the Capitol for the General Assembly’s Reconvened Session. This session focuses on the Governor’s amendments and vetoes to the legislation that passed during the 2023 regular session.
The Governor’s vetoes were sustained. Overriding a veto requires at least 26 votes within the Senate Chamber, and we did not have enough votes to defeat the Governor’s vetoes. The bills vetoed by the Governor as as follows:
HB 1536passed unanimously out of both the Senate and House of Delegates, but the Governor vetoed the legislation. The legislation would have ensured more timely responses with employee grievances within the Virginia Department of Corrections and the Department of Juvenile Justice.
SB 1051 sought to address the towing of service vehicles when they are on private property in order to provide services for utilities. The bill passed both chambers with overwhelming bipartisan support. The veto of this legislation means that broadband service providers and other utility providers may have their service vehicles towed away as they are working to restore or address service needs.
SB 1085 was legislation that established a workgroup to examine vehicle noise in the Commonwealth and to report those findings to the Senate and House Transportation Committees. Noise pollution is something that constituents have voiced concerns about, not only to my office, but other members of the Assembly have echoed similar sentiments. Unfortunately this legislation, which passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, was vetoed by the Governor.
All 140 General Assembly seats are up for election, and every candidate is running in newly-drawn district lines as a result of the 2021 redistricting. The General Assembly will undergo significant leadership and committee membership changes as many of my colleagues bid farewell after years and decades of service.
In significant ways, the “torch” is being passed as we see this remarkable wave of retirements in both the Senate and the House. However, I am confident that the work of the General Assembly and its efforts to address the continuing and emerging challenges of this new decade will move forward–as it must–to ensure that the Commonwealth is serving the needs of all Virginians.
Although the decision by the Texas judge is meant to specifically threaten access to reproductive healthcare, it attempts to set a dangerous precedent, undermining healthcare determinations made by scientists and medical experts and placing that responsibility in the hands of political appointees or elected judges.
I have joined state legislators from across the country in opposing the politicization of critical health care concerns and in rejecting any further efforts by the courts to limit access to mifepristone.
Join Us for Our Upcoming Town Hall
On Tuesday, April 25, I will be hosting a town hall at Brightpoint Community College’s Chester Campus in the Nicholas Center Ballroom. Topics include the recent General Assembly session, the state budget, redistricting, and other community concerns. The town hall is open to the public, but registration is required. Register to attend here. We hope you will join us.
VDOT Town Hall
The Virginia Department of Transportation conducts numerous projects and studies to determine the need, costs and impacts of proposed highway projects across the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth Transportation Board (CTB) allocates public funds to transportation projects using the Six-Year Improvement program (SYIP). On Monday, April 24, at 4:00pm the CTB is conducting public hearings for SYIP fiscal year 2024-2029 in the Richmond District. Formal public comment on projects proposed to be included in the SYIP will be accepted at the meeting. A description of project proposals in various localities are able to better prepare comments. Allocations for funding can include highway, road, bridge, rail, bicycle, pedestrian and public transportation projects.