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...And That Was Just Tuesday!

Dear Friend,

...AND THAT WAS JUST TUESDAY! 

Let me explain the meaning of the subject line and put this 2020 Session in perspective.

Over and over, people in Richmond who are veterans to policy making, some I know well and others I don’t, vent their frustration at the overwhelming volume of destructive legislation that is being rammed through the legislative process. Input from experienced stakeholders is routinely ignored, exorbitant costs to public and private entities disregarded, collateral damage and long-term consequences scoffed at; this is hard to witness. 

Back to explaining the subject …AND THAT WAS JUST TUESDAY. This past Tuesday, the Democrat majority passed many bills. In past years, stopping just one or two really bad bills might have been a primary focus of Republicans. This year, it’s different. 

This last Tuesday, the Virginia General Assembly passed bills to raise the minimum wage, let local governments remove any statues, transform the energy landscape…grant legal driving privileges to illegal immigrants, and much much more, …AND THAT WAS JUST TUESDAY! This article provides a partial summary of the first five

I never want to miss an opportunity to deliver some good news and the best I can do there is to let folks know that all bills seeking to repeal Virginia’s Right-to Work status have failed, so unless that push is revived through budget language, we’re safe for 2020. 

With the fifth full week of Session behind us, we’re now past the halfway point of the 2020 General Assembly. Known as Crossover, this is the point at which the House and Senate exchange legislation and begin to work on the other chamber’s bills. Tuesday was our deadline to pass House legislation, excluding budget bills. On Monday and Tuesday alone we voted on nearly 300 (276) House bills. 

You can read up on The Family Foundation’s summary of 'things to keep an eye on' at the half-way point. You can also Click here to track the full list of legislation in the General Assembly. You will find a list of my proposed amendments to Virginia’s budget here

Here are just some of the bills addressed this week, including a few that I introduced.

 

GUNS, GUNS, GUNS - HB961 DEFEATED!!!!!

In a deliberate insult to the hundreds of Second Amendment supporters who took time out of their busy schedules to get to Richmond before 8 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 7, Bloomberg’s bought and paid for House Public Safety Committee granted them a total of just five minutes to speak out against House Bill 961, the crown jewel of the Northam-Bloomberg gun ban agenda. They quickly rubber stamped this comprehensive gun ban with a vote of 12-9 after limited committee debate, before clearing the public out of the room, so they could continue rubber stamping other gun control bills.

The Committee Substitute for House Bill 961 is a comprehensive ban on many commonly-owned semi-automatic firearms, suppressors, and standard capacity magazines. The ban also extends to any part that could be used to change a firearm into a banned configuration. Though the committee amended the bill to allow citizens to keep affected firearms and suppressors they lawfully owned prior to the ban, confiscation is undoubtedly still the end goal. There is no option for citizens to keep their lawfully acquired magazines with capacities greater than twelve rounds, forcing millions of Virginians to dispose of their property, become a felon, or surrender it to the government. If signed into law, a Suffolk gun store owner said 85 percent of his gun stock will have to go.

All in all the House Democrats passed 8 bills endorsed by Governor Northam, including HB421, which would allow any locality to pass its own criminal ordinances covering possession of firearms, and HB961, which forbids purchase or sale of certain firearms. Click here to view the list of all gun-related bills introduced this session.

This morning, House Bill 961 was defeated in a Senate Committee. Your phone calls, emails, and attendance at the Second Amendment Sanctuary and General Assembly committee hearings, and Lobby Day have paid off -many other anti-2nd-Amendment bills are still active though, so keep up the activism!

 

MONUMENTS

One of the final moves by the House before the Crossover deadline on Tuesday, was to pass a bill that would allow localities to dismantle monuments for war veterans located in public space. I voted No. 

Two amendments were offered in committee. Both would have improved the bill. One would require decisions to be made by referendum; the other would have extended the 30-day time period for finding an alternative location. Both were rejected in a rushed hearing. While debate usually centers on Civil War era monuments, the bill applies to any monument, so we could see other memorials of more recent conflicts dismantled if just a few elected people take exception to some aspect of the memorial.

Instead of removing history, my preference is that local governments add new memorials, not remove those already erected. In a floor speech, Del. Poindexter quoted the well-known words of George Santayana: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.” Even the painful parts of our past are worthy of remembrance - they are the parts that if recollected and taken as lessons can make us wiser and stronger.

 

PETTY PARTISAN POLITICS... FORCING VIRGINIANS TO TAKE THE ROAD LESS TRAVELABLE

As we wrapped up our consideration of House bills on Monday and Tuesday, the last of my transportation-related bills still alive came up on the House Floor to be read and passed on to a final vote. This legislation would increase the amount the state can match for transportation projects in localities. The bill would have been a big win for communities

around the Commonwealth, increasing the amount of state matching funding available for local transportation projects. Even though Loudoun, Fairfax, and Prince William made this bill a legislative priority, all Democrat Delegates, including the ones from Northern Virginia, chose to make a Petty Partisan Political Power Play to the detriment of their own constituents by killing the bill. Sad to say that was only one of many examples.

 

TWILIGHT FOR THE ZONING BILL

On Monday another blow came when the Senate Committee on Local Government considered a bill I introduced at the Request of Leesburg, which would clarify transition of certain development approvals when property changes jurisdiction. After moving effortlessly through the House and passing by a vote of 100-0, the bill came to a hard stop and died in the Senate committee. Sen. John Bell, who represents parts of Loudoun and Leesburg, made the motion to prevent it from moving to the Senate Floor. Just days before, Sen. Bell had voted yes on an identical bill which passed the senate unanimously. By doing that, Sen. John Bell demonstrated his affinity for Petty Partisan Political Power Plays over his constituent interests.

 

SENATE GIVES THUMBS-DOWN TO SCHOOL INNOVATION

Another bill I introduced took a hit on Thursday when my School Division of Innovation bill found itself in the Senate Committee on Education and Health. The bill earlier passed the House with a strong majority (65-33) but the committee voted to continue the bill until 2021 postponing the opportunity for students to demonstrate achievement in Virginia studies, civics, and economics by alternative assessment focused on performance and application rather standardized testing.

 

NOT GREEN ENOUGH

I had to grin when one of the most staunch promoters of the extreme efforts to reshape things related to energy consumption, Del. Sam Rasoul, opposed the Virginia Clean Economy Act, HB1526 because, in his thinking, it didn't go far enough. Del. Rasoul rightly acknowledges that this proposed law will devastate lower income people in Virginia. I’ll offer this more realistic perspective for those who are anything but “science deniers.” A good read: Racial Preferences in Energy Bill are Unconstitutional

MINIMUM WAGE INCREASE - CRIPPLE SMALL BUSINESSES

HB 395 would increase Virginia's minimum wage from the current federally mandated level of $7.25 per hour to: July 1, 2020, $10.00; July 1, 2021, $11.25; July 1, 2022, $12.00; July 1, 2023, $13.00; July 1, 2024, $14.00; July 1, 2025, $15.00. These wage increases would lead to countless low-income entry-level workers losing their jobs. The Asian-American Business Owners Association is advocating for a less

radical change. Expect to hear more on this effort in the weeks ahead as House and Senate bills compete.

 

LIBERTY ALERT!

Virginia House Passes Speed Camera Bill You’ll be on camera: government likes tracking your speed & location. In spite of efforts to kill this bill, speed cameras could be a common sight in Virginia if the state Senate approves legislation that cleared the House of Delegates last week. By a 53 to 44 vote, lower chamber lawmakers advanced a proposal allowing private, for-profit companies to issue automated $125 speeding tickets on freeways and in school zones.

 

 

REV. DR. ROBERT GRANT JR. PRAYER

Each day we begin Session by invoking God. Tuesday was unique: seven minutes of what was probably routine in the church pastored by the Rev. Dr. Robert Grant Jr. but not your average invocation by a long shot. If you want to hear truth spoken to power, that's what went down. I’m guessing that the Speaker bringing down the gavel to end an invocation is a first in the 400-year history of this

great body. On Wednesday evening Tony Perkins invited Rev. Dr. Grant, senior pastor of The Father’s Way Church in Warrenton, to join his radio show, Washington Watch. Listen to the full prayer and watch the Speaker gavel down Rev. Dr. Grant here. And an article published on LifeNews.com can be read here. Rev. Dr. Grant came to give the invocation at the invitation of Delegate Michael Webert.

Our General Assembly is indeed in need of prayer. The past five weeks have seen a 180-degree change in many areas of Virginia policy. Senator Stanley has called it a “smash and grab” as quoted in the Virginia Mercury article titled, “In Five Weeks, Virginia Democrats Reshape Decades of State Policy.” Although the future of our Commonwealth may look bleak at the moment, please know that you have an advocate in the General Assembly, and that I will do everything in my power to protect your God-given and Constitutional rights.

Wednesday morning, I joined House Republican Leadership at a Press Conference to summarize where things stand at the halfway point, after completing action on House bills (except the budget). Currently, Virginia's economy is strong, but that is definitely under severe threat.

“The legacy that we have left to Virginia and to the Democrats who now control its government is very clear. But I fear that a new and different legacy has begun” remarks made on the House floor by Del. C. Todd Gilbert (R, District 15)

 

BUDGET WEEK

The House is continuing to consider Senate legislation. I still have one bill alive in the Senate. Yesterday afternoon, the House Appropriations Committee released their recommended amendments to the Governors' budget, and we will complete floor action on budget amendments over the next few days. You can find a complete list of my amendments to Virginia’s budget HERE.

You can also track other legislation in the General Assembly here.

As the delegate representing the 33rd District, I hold your concerns as my highest priority. If ever I may be of assistance to you and your family, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at DelDLaRock@house.virginia.gov. You can also follow me on twitter @LaRock4Delegate or like my Facebook page to keep up to date with what I’m doing in Richmond

Thank you for the honor and privilege you have entrusted me with. Please keep me and all our elected officials in your prayers, especially these next several weeks.

Sincerely,

EVENTS AND VISITORS THIS WEEK

Monday- America Pray Now and the Family Foundation hosted a "Pray for Virginia" event at the Capitol on Monday. I was honored to join them in the Jefferson Room and at the Capitol Bell Tower

 

Bryon Johnson, a constituent from Frederick County, visited to discuss legislation of interest to him related to Mental Health.

 

 

 

Wednesday was the Virginia League of Women Voters' day to visit the General Assembly. Loudoun County constituents met with me to give an update on their efforts and legislative priorities. I appreciate their efforts on behalf of civic engagement, and their support of redistricting reform.

 

Back in December, my wife took a beautiful photo at Dulles Airport. I shared it with the folks at the airport, and they liked it so much that they had their shop frame a print of it. This week, MWAA representative Michael Cooper presented it to me, and it now hangs in our Richmond office.

Staff from Northern Virginia Community College visited me this week to share more about the work they're doing there, and the Governor's G3: Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back Program. The affordable two-year college initiative will create new pathways for low and middle-income families to enter high-demand sectors such as healthcare, technology, skilled trades, public safety, and early childhood education.

Thursday was the Virginia March for Life and, despite the rainy weather, thousands of Virginians traveled to the capitol to stand and pray against abortion in the Commonwealth. Unfortunately, the House and Senate are working to pass horrible legislation which will make abortions more common, much more dangerous for women, and more profitable for clinics. Below are some more pictures of the event, as well as some of the great citizens from Loudoun and Frederick Counties, and "Students for Life" from Regent University who participated and stopped by the office to say hello.

 

Thursday afternoon, Randy Mathis, Virginia director of the Prayer Caucus movement, joined my staff and me for a time of prayer in our office. I am grateful for Randy's ministry here at the Capitol, and for all the pray warriors who were around this week!

Friday morning, I welcomed members of the Loudoun Hunt from the House Floor. Then at Noon, in celebration of their 125th Anniversary, the Loudoun Hunt held a presentation of the hounds at the Capitol Square Bell Tower. I joined them for a brief ceremony, including reading a resolution commending the group which was adopted earlier in the week. The Loudoun Hunt has a long history of bringing people together for social and sporting events in Loudoun County. More photos of the event are online here.

 
 
 
 

Get in touch and stay connected:

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DelDLaRock@house.virginia.gov

District Office: P.O. Box 6, Hamilton, Virginia 20159 (540) 751-8364

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