Another month, another meetup! A lot has happened since the February meetup, both here in Virginia and across the country. In Virginia, we abolished the death penalty and are on track to legalizing marijuana. Across the country, we have seen a terrible rise in gun violence and anti-Asian hate, as well as disturbing new Jim Crow laws.
The Democratic Majority promised to pass substantial gun violence prevention legislation, and we have kept our promise! Virginia has passed landmark legislation on everything from closing the gun show loophole for background checks to extreme risk protective orders (so-called "red flag" laws).
On Saturday, at 11:12 PM, the House of Delegates concluded its last more-than-12-hour marathon floor session. On Monday, we adjourned sine die. (Sine die is latin for an adjournment "without a date" set to reconvene.) It was another historic session, the first entirely virtual session for the Virginia House of Delegates in its 402 years of history -- historic also for the scope of progressive legislation passed by Democrats in our second year of control in more than a quarter-century.
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.