The pace of change in the Virginia General Assembly since Democrats took control of both the House and the Senate in 2020 has been nothing short of breathtaking. In two short years, we have seen action to
- Ratify the ERA, the 38th state to do so.
- Eliminate the requirement of producing a photo ID to vote.
- Remove restrictions on abortion that had previously been enacted by Republicans.
- Pass a LGBTQ nondiscrimination bill.
- Enact major energy and climate change measures to reduce carbon emissions.
- Increase the minimum wage.
- Enact gun safety legislation.
- Allow collective bargaining rights for some public employees.
- Repeal the Death Penalty, the first southern state to do so.
- Legalize small amounts of recreational marijuana.
- Increase accountability for improper police activity.
- Increase support for our teachers and schools.
These are big changes, but there have been other new laws that will also have a positive impact on the lives of Virginians. I recently wrote about one such measure (HB 2147), in the Washington Post. Offered by House Appropriations Chair Luke Torian and called “Virginia Saves,” the bill will create state-facilitated IRAs for workers in companies where they are not presently offered. Read more.
I am pleased to announce that the University of Virginia Press has set a September 7 publication date for my book, Fighting Gridlock: How States Shape the Nation and Our Lives. From voting rights to education, state policies not only greatly impact our lives, but dictate, through election law, much of what occurs in Washington. This book tells the story of so many initiatives occurring at the state level. Senator Mark Warner was very gracious to pen the preface. For more information and to pre-order books, please click here.
I am also completing another project detailing my experiences over the last 14 years in Richmond. It is tentatively called Bellwether: Virginia’s Political Transformation for Red to Blue, 2006-2020. More on that soon.
Endorsements: I am pleased to support Terry McAuliffe for Governor, Hala Ayala for Lieutenant Governor, and Mark Herring for Attorney General in the upcoming primary. My reasons are listed here.
As always, I appreciate your reading this material, and hope to see you as we emerge from the pandemic.