Representing Alexandria, Arlington, and Fairfax

As you might expect from the penultimate week of the 2021 Session, last week featured both exciting successes and grave disappointments. 

On the bright side, both chambers passed my constitutional amendment affirming marriage equality in Virginia. My Virtual Meetings bill and Safe Elections bill passed the Senate and are on their way to the Governor's desk. My Safe Capitol Bill will go to the Senate tomorrow and likely placed in conference. I am optimistic it will pass.

However, the Senate in Committee killed three of my bills that passed the House: Redistricting Transparency, Ending the State Funding of Religious Bigotry, and Police Accountability.

This week, we saw the best and the worst of American democracy. We saw a compelling case put on by the impeachment managers. We saw irrefutable video proof of the dangers of the Big Lie, particularly when a United States President loads propaganda as a weapon and fires it in the direction of the U.S. Congress. We saw all 50 Democrats and seven brave Republicans stand up for our Republic. And we saw a craven 43 Republican Senators actually vote to countenance the attempted violent overthrow of our Republic by a President who wanted to overturn free and fair elections and impose himself as dictator.

Friday, February 5, was Crossover, the date by which a bill has to pass in its chamber of origin in order to be considered by the other chamber. In other words, other than the budget bills, Friday was the date by which House bills had to pass the House, and Senate bills had to pass the Senate for each of them to have a chance of becoming law.

We began session on Wednesday, January 14. Today marks the conclusion of our second full week in session. And believe it or not, since we are on day 17, our session is technically more than half over. You may recall the Republicans for the first time since our Constitution was approved in 1971 forced our regular session to conclude after only 30 days instead of the typical 46.

I am pleased to say that we had a busy, successful, first full week of Virginia's 2021 legislative session, with six of the ten measures I've proposed this year moving forward. (Why only ten? Because we were limited to seven bills this year. I also included a constitutional amendment, a study, and a budget amendment, which were not included in the bill limit.

The Virginia General Assembly's 2021 legislative session gaveled in on Wednesday, January 13. Usually, my staff and I would be down in Richmond, working for you. This year, the House of Delegates will be holding its session virtually, to protect Delegates, Commonwealth employees, and the public from the spread of COVID-19. Now that session has begun, you can expect my newsletters every Sunday morning until we adjourn sine die.  If you have any questions, don't hesitate to email our office or attend Mark's Monthly Meetup which will happen virtually Sunday afternoon, January 31

The 2021 legislative session has begun. As I focus on passing my progressive legislative agenda (detailed newsletter coming on Sunday!), I know most of you are focused on getting vaccinated.

With that in mind, I wanted to invite you to a Town Hall this Saturday at 1pm with two leading experts on Virginia's vaccination distribution plan:

  • Dr. Danny Avula, Vaccine Coordinator for the Virginia Department of Health, and
  • Dr. Stephen Haering, Director of the Alexandria City Health Department.