The 2017 General Assembly session is officially over! In January and February we passed 1,773 bills and resolutions, including the budget. Governor McAuliffe reviewed them all and sent us 83 amendments to bills, 27 amendments to the budget, and 40 vetoes. Unlike Congress, the Virginia General Assembly works efficiently!
Our Governor stuck with his -- and my -- principles on both the budget and laws.
The 2017 General Assembly session ended Saturday, so I have had almost two days to process what happened. It was a very strange session -- we accomplished a lot that was constructive but we also passed a lot of destructive nonsense.
As we approach the end of the 2016 session , I want to report to you on both the final budget and the selection of a Supreme Court justice. The budget is something I am proud to be associated with. The Supreme Court debacle is a disgrace.
As you may remember from a recent e-newsletter, a major compromise has been reached on the I-66 transmodal project. Design Public Hearings had been scheduled in January and February but were not held due to inclement weather. Those hearings have now been scheduled for the following dates and locations:
(All hearing times are 6-8 pm. A brief presentation begins at 6:30 p.m.)
Monday, March 7, 2016
Washington-Lee High School Cafeteria
1301 N. Stafford Street, Arlington, VA 22201
Tuesday, March 8, 2016
For years we have been struggling to make essential improvements to I-66. The Interstate is the most congested major road in the most congested region in the country. Lack of funding, arguments about widening inside the Beltway, concerns about right of way, disagreements about tolls, and opposition to mass transit have made progress seem, at times, impossible.
I must be the world's worst prognosticator. Just this past Monday I wrote you that the legislature is so divided on gun safety measures that nothing good was going to happen. I was so wrong.
A major compromise has been reached.
When our Attorney General announced he was going to follow Virginia law and not allow concealed weapon permit reciprocity with states that have weaker permit laws than we have, he alarmed the NRA. They realized that Governor McAuliffe would veto any bills to reinstate weak reciprocity agreements; they decided to work on a compromise.
Secretary of Public Safety Brian Moran and Republican leaders met several times and worked out an agreement on three major gun issues.
These days I feel like the old lady in the nursery rhyme who "had so many children she didn't know what to do!" Each of my bills and budget amendments has a life of its own in the General Assembly and just keeping track of them is a challenge. I want each to thrive and make it through the legislative process -- but that is a difficult and lofty goal.
Public Hearings Scheduled
Senate Finance Committee Pre Session Public Hearing
Thursday, January 7, 2016, Hearing begins at 10:00 a.m.
University of Mary Washington, University Center, Chandler Ballroom, Fredericksburg, Virginia.
Town Hall Meeting with Senator Janet Howell and Delegate Ken Plum
Thursday, January 7, 2016 -- 7:30-9:00 p.m.
Reston Community Center - Lake Anne Plaza - in the Rose Gallery
Arlington Delegation Town Hall Meeting
As summer 2015 ends, I want to give you an update on my activities as your Senator. It has been a somewhat unusual few months, so I will divide the report into "personal", "professional", and "political" sections.
Arlington, VA -
Over the twenty four years that I have been in the Virginia Senate hundreds of people have asked me basically the same question: What is a nice lady like you doing in a place like Richmond?
It always makes me laugh but it also makes me ask myself: Why do I love being in the Virginia Senate? Especially over the past several months, I have been reassessing if I should run for a seventh term. Things are rough and often ugly in Richmond. We progressives are in a constant struggle with the overwhelmingly far right House of Delegates. Developing friendships or even working relationships across party and regional lines seems to be getting harder and harder.
Yet, I can't quit now! I really love fighting for our values. We can't stop working for a Virginia that cares for all its people and treats everyone fairly. I want to be on the front lines of this struggle. It may not be for everyone, but there is no better place for me than the Senate of Virginia.