This week’s newsletter, I share updates on the legislation I carried during the 2023 session, provide an overview of Reconvened Session, and reflect on community meetings and events from this past week. Thank you for taking the time to read the newsletter and for staying informed.
Endorsing Lashrecse Aird for State Senate
First, I share the announcement issued yesterday by the Virginia Senate Democratic Women’s Caucus. In a joint statement (see image below), we formally endorsed former-Delegate Lashrecse Aird for 13th Senatorial District. As a Delegate, Lashrecse patroned crucial legislation related to workers’ rights, maternal healthcare, criminal justice reform, and access to housing.
Now, when reproductive healthcare is on the line throughout the country, we cannot afford to lose a single vote on protecting access to abortion. We have already seen what rollbacks on reproductive healthcare access have caused in states such as Texas, Arizona, and South Carolina. The lives of women in Virginia are literally on the line.
Lashrecse’s voice is needed within the halls of the Senate, and I look forward to working with her campaign as she seeks office.
Legislation Signed Into Law
This week, all four items of my legislation that passed the General Assembly were signed into law: SB798, SB802, SB928, and SB1005. Leading into the 2023 session, I partnered with many constituents, advocates, and organizations to bring forward legislation that would truly impact the lives of my constituents and the Commonwealth. My 2023 legislation focused on college affordability, workforce development, aiding veterans and their families, providing increased support for our English Language students, and expanding access to contraceptives for our most economically-disadvantaged community members, and more.
I introduced twenty-six bills this session, with many gaining bipartisan support in the Senate. Nineteen of those bills passed out of the Senate, most on unanimous or bipartisan vote, and moved forward to the House of Delegates. Fifteen of the bills were killed by Republican-controlled committees because of partisan politics.
Although the Governor touts the signing of 738 bills, the Commonwealth's progress could have been greater if partisan politics did not stand in the way of legislative progress. I will continue to work on these issues and intend to reintroduce many of these bills during the 2024 legislative session.
On Wednesday, April 12, members of the General Assembly will return to Richmond for the Reconvened Session. The purpose of this session is to consider the bills that have been returned by the Governor with amendments or that he has vetoed. We anticipate that the Session will last one day, but we have the option to extend the session if consensus is not reached. During the Reconvened Session, the Legislative Information System (LIS) website is a great resource. Here, constituents can view the Governor’s recommended amendments to legislation, view bills vetoed by the Governor with explanations of his objections, and livestream House and Senate video to follow proceedings.
During the Reconvened Session, as dictated by the Constitution of Virginia, members are focused only on legislative acts in response to a Governor’s vetoes and amendments. A consensus has still not been reached on the state budget, and a $1 billion gap remains between the two proposals. I will continue to meet with my colleagues and advocate for the Senate version of the budget, which provides critically-needed funding for public education, healthcare accessibility, and pay raises for state employees.
Community Events and Meetings
Connecting With My Office