I recently had lunch with esteemed political reporter, Charlie Cook, author of The Cook Political Report (http://cookpolitical.com/). I discussed with him my theory of what truly divides Americans, a Republican/rural/liberty vs. Democratic/urban/justice divide. In his most recent newsletter he discusses that theory. I think he is spot on in his commentary, especially the part about me being one of the smartest state legislators around! All jokes aside, he makes good points about needing to better understand each other and work together for the betterment of our country. I hope legislators on both sides of the aisle pay attention.Read more
Delegate Kaye Kory and I are holding a town hall meeting to discuss the conclusion of the 2017 General Assembly Session and our successful Veto Session. We will give a brief update and take questions from the audience. Details below, I hope you will join us.
Virginia’s Troubled History of Voter Disenfranchisement
Virginia has a troubling history of disenfranchising voters based on criminal convictions and failing to restore those rights when disenfranchised citizens have completed their sentences. In the recently completed 2017 session of the General Assembly, Republican Sen. Tommy Norment introduced a constitutional amendment (SJ 223) that would have allowed for the restoration of voting rights for violent felons (which includes burglary and certain drug offenses) after release from prison, a five-year waiting period, and the payment of all fines, fees, and restitution. Democratic opposition argued that these unpaid monies constituted a modern version of the poll tax. Though poll tax laws are no longer on the books, Virginia has one of the nation's most extreme policies restricting the voting rights of criminal offenders and one of the most racially disproportionate, with more than one in five black adults barred from voting due to a criminal conviction.Read more
The 2017 General Assembly Session has officially adjourned Sine Die, concluding our legislative session. Over the next few weeks Governor McAuliffe and his staff will review the legislation passed and approve, veto, or amend the bills. Included this year are eight bills that I passed.
The most significant bill I had passed this year was SB1027, legislation to allow for the growing, processing, and dispensing of Medical Marijuana Oils. Three years ago, I met with Fairfax County residents who had members of their family who suffered from intractable epilepsy. Intractable epilepsy is a neurological disorder that produces serious, debilitating, and many times life threatening seizures. Many people, especially children, can suffer from hundreds of seizures a day. The severity of this ailment can’t be downplayed. These families have spent countless hours in emergency rooms trying to stabilize their loved ones and many hours seeking better treatment. The FDA approved drugs come with some of the worst imaginable side effects.Read more