March 9, 2020 News

AP: Virginia reshaped as Democrats put historic stamp on laws


by Democratic Party of Virginia

KEY POINTS:

Democratic legislators in Virginia have dramatically reshaped the state in two months, sweeping aside many of the state’s old business-friendly and socially conservative laws and replacing them with a broad, progressive policy agenda.

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An astonishingly large list of topics were covered, with high-profile legislation advancing to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk almost daily. Marijuana was decriminalized, insulin prices capped, and voter ID requirements repealed.

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Long disproportionately made up of white men, the legislature was led by Filler-Corn, the first female House speaker, and had the highest number of African Americans in leadership positions in Virginia’s 400-year history. Black lawmakers sponsored measures that raise the minimum wage, make it easier to vote, repeal decades-old racist language in state code, cap the interest rates on payday loans and make it easier for struggling tenants to avoid evictions.

See below from the Associated Press: 

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AP: Virginia reshaped as Democrats put historic stamp on laws

By Alan Suderman and Sarah Rankin

March 8, 2020 

Democratic legislators in Virginia have dramatically reshaped the state in two months, sweeping aside many of the state’s old business-friendly and socially conservative laws and replacing them with a broad, progressive policy agenda.

Lawmakers wrapped up this year’s session Sunday — apart from passing the state budget — after advancing the South’s strictest gun laws, broadest LGBTQ protections and some of its loosest abortion restrictions. Democrats had not had full control of the legislature for more than two decades, and their years of pent-up frustrations yielded one of the most consequential sessions in Virginia’s history.

“In November, voters called for swift, impactful action to make their communities safer and more prosperous. We have delivered,” House Speaker Eileen Filler-Corn said.

But many Republicans said Democrats had advanced a liberal agenda beyond what the average voter supports while trampling on Virginia’s pro-business reputation.

“I think it’s been a fairly devastating year for people that are in rural Virginia,” said Sen. Steve Newman, a Republican who has served in the legislature since the early 1990′s. “It’s not just the high-profile items, but it’s just how deep the far left has reached into the code of Virginia.”

An astonishingly large list of topics were covered, with high-profile legislation advancing to Democratic Gov. Ralph Northam’s desk almost daily. Marijuana was decriminalized, insulin prices capped, and voter ID requirements repealed.

One immediate priority of Democrats, making Virginia the critical 38th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, was quickly dispatched in January to the delight of women’s rights advocates, some of whom had worked on the issue for decades.

Virginia briefly became the epicenter of the nation’s gun debate, as tens of thousands of gun owners from around the country took over Capitol Square in January to protest Democrats’ aggressive gun-control push.

Long disproportionately made up of white men, the legislature was led by Filler-Corn, the first female House speaker, and had the highest number of African Americans in leadership positions in Virginia’s 400-year history.

Black lawmakers sponsored measures that raise the minimum wage, make it easier to vote, repeal decades-old racist language in state code, cap the interest rates on payday loans and make it easier for struggling tenants to avoid evictions.

“We’ve never had this kind of success,” said Del. Lamont Bagby, chairman of the Virginia Legislative Black Caucus. “We haven’t had as many bills. And we haven’t had this many significantly important bills.”Read the full article here

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